Fiction and survival of the species

It is clear that humans have a powerful instinct to tell stories and to listen to stories. In particular, most people are highly drawn to fictional stories.

What is it about fiction, a sequence of events that never happened, involving people who have never existed, that we find so compelling? If we were not so powerfully drawn to fiction, we would think it the silliest thing in the world.

Which means that our love of fiction must be deeply instinctive. And that suggests that fiction, like all powerful instincts, possesses (or once possessed) some very important survival value.

In other words, over the course of our evolution, the instinct to tell and listen to fictional stories has helped us to survive as a species. But how exactly?

I don’t know the answer, but I’ll bet it would make a great story.

Leave a Reply