Stories Allow Us Safe Exploration Of Dangerous Futures

A. S. Byatt

“Human beings love stories because they safely show us beginnings, middles and ends.” – A. S. Byatt, Born Aug. 24, 1936.

The key part of this quote is the word “safely”.

What we allow people to do with persuasive communication is a bit of virtual reality. A bit of lucid dreaming.

We allow people to explore stories they haven't lived yet, but are POSSIBLE if they agree to do what we ask of them.

We show them the beginning of the story, a sequence of events – the road of trials, travails, and tribulations that led them to their present encounter with the likes of you.

This is their life up to now. Up to this very moment.

We show them that this is only the middle of the story.

Now, they are at a decision point. Do they wish to walk away and proceed with their story as it has been up to now? A slog. A chore. A burden. Or…

Do they instead choose to make one small change? Perhaps a purchase?

And then, instead of that old story, they get a new one.

With a happy ending. Satisfaction. Success. Satiety. SAFETY.

BUT ONLY IF they do what you want them to.

And done correctly, they very likely will.

Because everyone WANTS a different story. But almost no one is an author. Everyone is a character in a story someone else is writing for them. They are NPCs.

Changing their story makes them afraid because it puts them in charge of the plot – and they can't predict the ending.

Uncertainty = fear.

If they have to write it themselves, it may not be safe.

They don't know what they are doing.

They might fail.

Or be embarrassed.

Or die, maybe.

It's scary.

So through a combination of trust, and truth, and subtle coercion, we let them explore a BETTER story, SAFELY, without the risk of a “bad trip”.

We protect them from bad choices by giving them only good ones.

Like a Choose Your Own Adventure book with all the best choices highlighted for you.

To punch the bear in the face, turn to page 215.

1 thought on “Stories Allow Us Safe Exploration Of Dangerous Futures”

  1. Love this. I definitely want to learn more. You actually inspired a whole new direction in my writing a couple years ago when I you introduced flash fiction to me. I have used something like this format for sales, as well.

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