Why we read/write/watch stories — fiction and evolution

Why do we read/write/watch stories? Why do we need thousands of them and always new ones?

It’s not just escape and fun. It’s also survival of the species.

Each of us has the potential for thousands of different personalities/lives. Some are stronger than others, but all are capable of growing and becoming dominant.

When a group of people faces a crisis together, the individuals by nature (like water finding its own level) take on roles (like “leader”) that are necessary for survival — with previously hidden potential coming to the fore.

In reading and writing storise, we exercise these potential lives within us, and vicariously acquire experience, which could, under unexpected crisis situations, prove important for the survival of the group or the species.

That’s also why it’s important to preserve and read thousands of old previously out-of-print and forgotten books.

Richard Seltzer seltzer@samizdat.com

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