In this Tyler Cowen keynote, the speaker addresses people’s tendency to represent themselves and relate with others through stories. A professor of economics at George Mason University, Tyler Cowen demonstrates how when asked how one would sum up their life in a metaphor, rather than responding with “my life is a mess,” many individuals responded with “my life is like a novel.”
Humans are biologically programmed to respond to stories, they affect people in ways that encourage connection, understanding and empathy. It is when certain subject matters—politics—are relaid in a narrative-based format that people should become suspicious.
Relating important social or political matters through the “good vs. bad” narrative or the conspiracy theory story demonstrates mental laziness as a result of clear conviction and coherent intention. Rather than admitting that something is a mess, people tend to romanticize the issue by framing it within a story.