The Story Factor 3rd ed. OCT2019 (new material)

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.”                          Zora Neale Hurston
From a distance, storytelling also seems to have every man’s wish on board. There is an initial euphoria when you consider that once you learn how to tell stories that alter perceptions, conclusions, and actions you might become captain of all the ships and invent “Get out of jail free” cards for anyone who wants a story of absolution, whether they deserve it or not. Over time, like King Midas, you will discover that getting everything you want inevitably produces unintended consequences. When technology alters moral stories, it changes the meaning and the morals of those stories. King Midas did not anticipate that his golden touch would kill his daughter. In the story, his personal experience of watching the light in her eyes go out carries a sensory impact; we get the message. But when calculated on a spreadsheet, the promise of an infinite return on investment (ROI) after sacrificing just one person can seem like a viable investment strategy. What’s more, people who value utilitarian reasoning now use data distance to create enough emotional distance that they can characterize one person as a “small sacrifice” and therefore a reasonable price to pay. The question is, are we at risk of allowing utilitarian reasoning to guide our storytelling practices? (Excerpt from The Story Factor 3rd ed. Chapter 11 out October 2019 )

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