Why We Love Nasty Stories

We are often likes moths round a flame when it comes to stories of conflict and adversity. It is like we are hard wired to be attracted to disaster. I know I want to hear about tragedies, and as much as I get annoyed with a news media focus on conflict, I still tune in. And the other thing is, no matter how reasonable I try to be, I take sides. There will be a good guy and a bad guy.
I believe we have been hard wired to desire conflict in the stories we tell and listen to as part of our survival mechanism. Unconsciously almost, we use a bit of fear to raise our children, if you do this or that, something bad will happen. In ancient times, we learnt to survive through fear. That rustle in the bush might be a predator or it might be the wind. Our myths and legends all have a fear factor. Many children’s stories can be downright scary.
I think we extend this fear factor in stories to decide who we like and dislike in the world. We write people off. So and so is hopeless. Can’t stand them. That guy I talked to at a call centre was just a complete a******.
I believe it is time to play a bigger game with the stories we tell about people. Sure the best stories are a journey through good and bad times, good and bad behaviours. But to have the world be a better place, these stories we tell about each other have to be underpinned with love. Who are we for one another in the stories we tell ? How often do we write people off? I know I do it and I see it as my job on this planet to raise the ante, and catch myself as often as I can and take a closer look when I tell a story, even to myself about how bad someone is.

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