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Fiction Won, Reality Nill (Quote of the Day)

In a complex environment people listen to whomever makes the most sense -- whomever tells the best story. If you still depend on linear analysis and facts to persuade others, then you can't make sense. It is impossible.
     —Annette Simmons, The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling

The author intends this as a positive reason to deploy the efficient and effective use of storytelling as a vital strategy for success in leadership and modern-day business. Storytelling is a vital tool of salesmanship, of marketing strategy, of bringing people to your side; it's a way to use "truth" to sell something. In a word, propaganda.

But it also explains the ontological use of storytelling behind history. I think it more effectively sums up the tragic paradox of human history, the kind that gets people to burn witches, go to church, and vote for Bush. People like stories & entertainment. They don't want to know the truth.

And this is especially dangerous "in a social order dedicated to the end of discourse and the rule of entertainment" such as America has become.

Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do.
     —Bertrand Russell

The bewildered herd are a problem. We've got to prevent their rage and trampling. We've got to distract them. They should be watching the Superbowl or sitcoms or violent movies or something. Every once in a while you call on them to chant meaningless slogans like 'Support Our Troops,' and you've got to keep them pretty scared because unless they're scared properly and frightened of all kinds of devils that are going to destroy them from outside or inside or somewhere, they may start to think, which is very dangerous because they're not competent to think, and therefore it's important to distract and to marginalize them.
     —Noam Chomsky

It is common to assume that human progress affects everyone -- that even the dullest man, in these bright days, knows more than any man of, say, the Eighteenth Century, and is far more civilized. This assumption is quite erroneous...The great masses of men, even in this inspired republic, are precisely where the mob was at the dawn of history. They are ignorant, they are dishonest, they are cowardly, they are ignoble. They know little if anything that is worth knowing, and there is not the slightest sign of a natural desire among them to increase their knowledge.
     —H. L. Mencken