Famous Quotes & Sayings

Jonathan Gottschall Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 63 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Jonathan Gottschall.

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Famous Quotes By Jonathan Gottschall

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The average daydream is about fourteen seconds long and we have about two thousand of them per day. In other words, we spend about half of our waking hours - one-third of our lives on earth - spinning fantasies. — Jonathan Gottschall

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People like head trauma. They love knockouts. The crowd is silent, silent, silent ... and then a knockout happens, and everyone goes native. There would be far fewer knockouts without the gloves. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Humans simply aren't moved to action by 'data dumps,' dense PowerPoint slides, or spreadsheets packed with figures. People are moved by emotion. The best way to emotionally connect other people to our agenda begins with Once upon a time — Jonathan Gottschall

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Human minds yield helplessly to the suction of story. No matter how hard we concentrate, no matter how deep we dig in our heels, we just can't resist the gravity of alternate worlds. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Story = Character + Predicament + Attempted Extrication — Jonathan Gottschall

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For example, the ancient Japanese had onna-zumo (women's wrestling), but as the sports historian Allen Guttmann writes, "The debased motivation for this activity is suggested by the names of the wrestlers: 'Big Boobs,' 'Deep Crevice,' and 'Holder of the Balls. — Jonathan Gottschall

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It's an empirical question whether training makes one more or less likely to get in a fight outside the gym. In some ways, I'm probably more likely to get into a fight, because I feel more competent, and I know what it's cost me in the past to back down from fights, and I don't want to feel that way. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Story is where people go to practice the key skills of human social life. — Jonathan Gottschall

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I think the proper attitude toward fighting sports is one of ambivalence. You can be drawn to them, but you should also be repelled by them. — Jonathan Gottschall

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The brain stays up all night telling stories while we sleep. We just call them dreams. — Jonathan Gottschall

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If someone breaks into your home when you're there - that is, they don't wait to be sure that the house is empty - it's a bad situation. Honor doesn't come into it at all. Anything you need to do to survive at that point becomes A-OK. — Jonathan Gottschall

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There is a paradox in fiction that was first noticed by Aristotle in the Poetics. We are drawn to fiction because fiction gives us pleasure. But most of what is actually in fiction is deeply unpleasant: threat, death, despair, anxiety, Sturm und Drang. — Jonathan Gottschall

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The storytelling mind is allergic to uncertainty, randomness, and coincidence. It is addicted to meaning. If the storytelling mind cannot find meaningful patterns in the world, it will try to impose them. In short, the storytelling mind is a factory that churns out true stories when it can, but will manufacture lies when it can't. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Fiction is usually seen as escapist entertainment ... But it's hard to reconcile the escapist theory of fiction with the deep patterns we find in the art of storytelling ... Our various fictional worlds are
on the whole
horrorscapes. Fiction may temporarily free us from our troubles, but it does so by ensnaring us in new sets of troubles
in imaginary worlds of struggle and stress and mortal woe. — Jonathan Gottschall

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In boxing, where most of the guys are from lower-class backgrounds and have darker skin than most of the fans, one might fear that the athletes are being exploited. But that narrative doesn't hold up very well in the world of MMA, where 99 percent of fighters are amateurs who will never earn a dime. They aren't seeking fame and fortune. For the most part, these guys are fighting because they want to and because it gives them an opportunity to strive for something big in their lives. It gives them a chance to become their best selves. — Jonathan Gottschall

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If I do get a handgun, I can take it to the sheriff's department, and in about as much time as it would take me to order a value meal at Wendy's, they will give me a concealed-carry license. There will be no screening at all to see whether I'm qualified to carry a gun in public - which I absolutely am not. That's one of the reasons I haven't gotten a gun in the first place: I don't know how to use one. — Jonathan Gottschall

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I watch fights and I often feel morally compromised by it. I feel like I'm morally culpable for what's occurring because I'm the spectator and ultimately footing the bill for the spectacle. — Jonathan Gottschall

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We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Commentators frequently blame MMORPGs for an increasing sense of isolation in modern life. But virtual worlds are less a cause of that isolation than a response to it. Virtual worlds give back what has been scooped out of modern life. The virtual world is in important ways more authentically human than the real world. It gives us back community, a feeling of competence, and a sense of being an important person whom people depend on. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Studies show that when ordinary people do something wrong - break a promise, commit a murder - they usually fold it into a narrative that denies or at least diminishes their guilt. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Fiction is an ancient virtual reality technology that specializes in simulating human problems. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Most people think of fiction as a wildly creative art form. But this just shows how much creativity is possible inside a prison. — Jonathan Gottschall

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As the video game designer and writer James Wallis puts it, Human beings like stories. Our brains have a natural affinity not only for enjoying narratives and learning from them but also for creating them. In the same way that your mind sees an abstract pattern and resolves it into a face, your imagination sees a pattern of events and resolves it into a story. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Like a flight simulator, fiction projects us into intense simulations of problems that run parallel to those we face in reality. And like a flight simulator, the main virtue of fiction is that we have a rich experience and don't die at the end. — Jonathan Gottschall

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We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. — Jonathan Gottschall

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In an effort to civilize combat sports, authorities mandated padded gloves and instantly made the sports far more savage. Granted, putting gloves on the hands seems like a nice thing to do. If you were being punched in the brain by a powerful man, wouldn't you rather he strap a pillow around his fist? But the glove doesn't do anything to diminish your brain damage. — Jonathan Gottschall

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When we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to leave us defenseless. — Jonathan Gottschall

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We are creatures of story, and the process of changing one mind or the whole world must begin with 'Once upon a time.' — Jonathan Gottschall

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I think that a lot of people who like training with guns are probably drawn to it not only for practical reasons, but also in that same restless quest for physical excellence that draws people to a martial arts dojo. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Until recently we've only been able to speculate about story's persuasive effects. But over the last several decades psychology has begun a serious study of how story affects the human mind. Results repeatedly show that our attitudes, fears, hopes, and values are strongly influenced by story. In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than writing that is specifically designed to persuade through argument and evidence. — Jonathan Gottschall

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I'm living in the heart of gun culture, but I'm not a gun guy. I didn't grow up with them; I was never a hunter; my dad was never a hunter. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than nonfiction, which is designed to persuade through argument and evidence. Studies show that when we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to make us rubbery and easy to shape. — Jonathan Gottschall

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I can walk into a gun store in my town and buy military-grade weapons. You'd be shocked by the amount of firepower you can buy - 50 caliber sniper rifles and the same shotguns the Marines carry in Iraq or Afghanistan. It doesn't matter whether I know how to use these things - I can just walk into a store and buy them. — Jonathan Gottschall

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A boxing contest is a brain-damage contest. Who can give out more brain damage and who can absorb more of it? — Jonathan Gottschall

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Part of why I was attracted to the idea of owning a gun was self-defense, and part of it was that I've been fascinated by guns since I was a little kid, and I want to play with them. It seems like a lot of fun. — Jonathan Gottschall

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There is very little difference between one man and another; but what little there is, is very important. — Jonathan Gottschall

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I think what bothers us about fighting sports isn't the damage to the athlete but the fact that you win by doing more harm to your opponent than he does to you. It just seems ugly. — Jonathan Gottschall

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What you do in a fight gym is learn how to be brave. You're learning how to punch and kick in a proper way, of course, but above all else, a fighter is someone who's got courage, who's dead game in a fight. Most guys don't come into the world that way. You learn to be brave through that process of getting your fear and timidity beaten out of you night after night after night. — Jonathan Gottschall

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In my profession more generally, it's not an exaggeration to say that masculinity is viewed as the root of all evil. If you were to take a literary theory course, you might think it would be about literature, but it's really not. It's about all the various forms of oppression on earth and how we can see them playing out in literary works. And behind all these forms of oppression is a guy. — Jonathan Gottschall

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I have this little neighbor next door. He comes over and tells me about playing Call of Duty, and he's talking about, 'Aw yeah, I slit this guy in the throat and then I stuck a grenade up this guy's ass.' He's describing it in all this detail, and that makes me uncomfortable. I don't think that's good for him. — Jonathan Gottschall

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bad things do not happen because of a wildly complex swirl of abstract historical and social variables. They happen because bad men live to stalk our happiness. And you can fight, and possibly even defeat, bad men. If you can read the hidden story — Jonathan Gottschall

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Why do stories cluster around a few big themes, and why do they hew so closely to problem structure? Why are stories this way instead of all the other ways they could be? I think that problem structure reveals a major function of storytelling. It suggests that the human mind was shaped for story, so that it could be shaped by story. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Don't despair for story's future or turn curmudgeonly over the rise of video games or reality TV. The way we experience story will evolve, but as storytelling animals, we will no more give it up than start walking on all fours. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Getting punched in the face with a padded glove doesn't really hurt your face. It doesn't hurt your skull. The only thing it hurts is your brain. You can feel the brain injury happening. It's an instant headache. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Watching this little scene makes my throat ache. It seems an apt metaphor for the role most men play--even in egalitarian modern marriages--as quasi-outsiders in their own families. Of course, men have always contributed importantly to the family, and our wives and children would miss us if we were gone. But there's also a tacit understanding that we are the expendable ones: if something evil comes through the front door, everyone knows whose job it is to die guarding the family's retreat out the back. Men are a little on the periphery of family life, cut off from the biologically precious mother and children as though by an invisible pane of glass. — Jonathan Gottschall

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If you want to burrow a message into a human mind. Work it into a story — Jonathan Gottschall

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Memories are often pruned and shaped by an ego-enhancing bias that blurs the edges of past events, softens culpability, and distorts what really happened. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Literature offers feelings for which we don't have to pay. It allows us to love, condemn, condone, hope, dread, and hate without any of the risks those feelings ordinarily involve. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Whenever I was confronted in the schoolyard, I found some way to avoid the fight. I ran for it. I backed down. Psychologically and emotionally, that isn't a low-cost course of action for most boys. You avoid a physical beating, but you pay a real social and psychological cost for it. Those moments of walking away from fights, even though I knew it was the rational and civilized thing to do, cost me tremendously. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Fiction writers are fully ten times more likely to be bipolar than the general population, and poets are an amazing forty times more likely to struggle with the disorder. Based on statistics like these, psychologist Daniel Nettle writes, "It is hard to avoid the conclusion that most of the canon of Western culture was produced by people with a touch of madness." Essayist Brooke Allen does Nettle one better: "The Western literary tradition, it seems, has been dominated by a sorry collection of alcoholics, compulsive gamblers, manic-depressives, sexual predators, and various unfortunate combinations of two, three, or even all of the above. — Jonathan Gottschall

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I don't think people are reacting primarily to the danger of the sport. There are many other activities that are truly dangerous that we have no inclination to ban. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Putting gloves on the fighters was a symbolic change that suggested that we were now making it a civilized sport, and it was no longer this crazy gladiatorial throwback to ancient Rome. It's even in our language: If you want to get serious and violent, what do you do? You "take the gloves off." Bare-fisted is supposedly a much more dangerous way to hit someone. But we've got it completely backward. The glove is a weapon. It massively accentuates the ability of the fist to do harm. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Conspiracy theories - feverishly creative, lovingly plotted - are in fact fictional stories that some people believe. Conspiracy theorists connect real data points and imagined data points into a coherent, emotionally satisfying version of reality. Conspiracy theories exert a powerful hold on the human imagination - yes, perhaps even your imagination - not despite structural parallels with fiction, but in large part because of them. They fascinate us because they are ripping good yarns, showcasing classic problem structure and sharply defined good guys and villains. They offer vivid, lurid plots that translate with telling ease into wildly popular entertainment. — Jonathan Gottschall

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We are a species addicted to a stories. — Jonathan Gottschall

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My reason for arguing against abolishing these types of sports isn't some kind of lofty, philosophical rationale. It's just that I did it and I liked it. It comes down to a libertarian issue for me. I feel that if I know the risks and I want to take them, I should be allowed to do so. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Story is more akin to the lines on your palm. No matter what your fortuneteller claims, the lines are not maps of your future. They are side effects of the flexion of the hand. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Sherlock Holmes is a literary figment. He lives in Neverland, so he always gets to be right. But if he tried to ply his trade as a "consulting detective" in the real world, he would be a dangerously incompetent boob - more like The Pink Panther's Inspector Clouseau than the genius who lives with his friend Watson at 221b Baker Street. — Jonathan Gottschall

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The idea that stories slavishly obey deep structural patterns seems at first vaguely depressing. But it shouldn't be. Think of the human face. The fact that all faces are very much alike doesn't make the face boring or mean that particular faces can't startle us with their beauty or distinctiveness. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Bull riding is probably the most dangerous sport in the world in terms of head injuries. — Jonathan Gottschall

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When you spar in boxing, the only thing that gets hurt is your brain. Everything else feels pretty good. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Fighting is really, really rewarding. I truly enjoyed it. I got feelings from fighting that were bigger than those I had experienced in almost any other realm of my life. It made me feel awake in a way that I had never been awake. Those kinds of big emotions and big experiences may come with a heavy price tag. — Jonathan Gottschall

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The top fighters spar hard. They're really sparring for two reasons: One is to improve their technique, but the other, which is just as important, is to build endurance, toughness, and courage. They want to practice as realistically as possible so that when they go into a real fight, the transition isn't as jarring. — Jonathan Gottschall

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Story, in other words, continues to fulfill its ancient function of binding society by reinforcing a set of common values and strengthening the ties of common culture. Story enculturates the youth. It defines the people. It tells us what is laudable and what is contemptible. It subtly and constantly encourages us to be decent instead of decadent. Story is the grease and glue of society: by encouraging us to behave well, story reduces social friction while uniting people around common values. Story homogenizes us; it makes us one. This is part of what Marshall McLuhan had in mind with his idea of the global village. Technology has saturated widely dispersed people with the same media and made them into citizens of a village that spans the world. — Jonathan Gottschall