Why is it that fiction sits so fundamentally at the core of our society? We invite fiction into our lives in many forms and as a species we always have – from cave painting, oral storytelling traditions, through music and song, visual art, books, radio, cinema, television to digital media. We accept storytelling as a means of both sharing ideas but also as pure entertainment and while clearly defining content into two categories of fiction and non-fiction a fundamental commonality remains. Fiction or non-fiction, our brain likes stories. We respond emotionally to what we call reality in the same way as we respond to what we call fiction. We laugh, we cry, we learn.
Is it such a stretch then to propose that fiction holds its place of importance because our lives are fictions too? That does not mean we can’t call our lives real, or take them seriously, but our lives are essentially the same as that of a character in a book, an extremely elaborate and detailed construction. When you realise your brain’s powerful ability to create and accept fiction, I think you can start to see how to control it, how to shape it into what you desire rather than going along with it as a passive passenger.