Our stories whisper

Skeptical Fry: 4 lights or 5Listening to the always excellent Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe this week, I was delighted to hear an interview with the lovely, talented, Sara Mayhew (whose blog name I (not so?) cleverly reference here in meme form).

The blog has been in my skeptic list for some time, but I previously knew precious little of the author: manga artist and even a TED fellow!? After hearing her story of ascension to critical thinking I now have a massive, hopeless skepti-crush on her.

“But,” as Peter Griffin would say, “I digest…” The kernel of insight that motivated me to come here and post was the discussion Sara and the hosts had about the rationalist/skeptic underpinnings of her manga work. I never stopped to reflect on how most stories told in our civilization are deeply integrated with magical thinking (Star Wars) vs. rationalism (Star Trek.. at least they tried!). The din of background-woo is so constant that I barely noticed it. As if magic and heroes chosen of divine right were the very substrate of good storytelling.

I am still of the opinion that our irrationalities are founded in the cheap wiring of our brains. But I wonder how much our stories help keep us wrapped up in that warm, comfortable fog of belief. Can we tell great, entertaining tales where the heroes’ power isn’t supernatural or superhuman; but comes from reason, skepticism, collaboration?

Well I can’t even describe it very well, so obviously *I’m* not going to be authoring an enthralling skeptic-epic. But I hope that Sara’s onto something here. Follow her, and be enchanted by beautiful reason.

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