Tag Archives: civilization

The Problem With Stories: A Short Story

Person X, after overcoming a big challenge (getting rich, finding love, fighting depression, you name it), feels compelled to tell everyone how the problem was solved.

Person Y, struggling with named challenge, bumps into Person X’s account of how to go about it, and dives into the story.

Problem: X and Y, though having faced similar challenges, have, in most cases, different backgrounds, live in different contexts, and are subject to different random events.

Discussion: We are hardwired to like stories, and that was arguably a good thing when human tribes had at most a few hundred people. But in the world of big urban centers with millions, personal stories are usually mere single samples in a statistical distribution of very high variance.