Stories have been the psychosocial crutch that’ve kept our species sane – individually – in an awful unpredictable fear-filled world. The price has been high but here we were in the 21st century, 7 billion plus human brains parsing the universe through prisms of vast collective narratives that affect every moment and define – for most – every reaction, every thought, every decision.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is a psychological state, observed when a brain holds onto a belief (about reality) in the face of persistent contradictory evidence; by somehow ignoring it. COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is stressful but not as disturbing as having to explode a belief. The brain’s natural non-stress state, however, is COGNITIVE CONSONANCE, where belief is evidentially and consistently in alignment with reality.
The less easily observed but nonetheless essential enabler of COGNITIVE DISSONANCE is known as COGNITIVE ASSONANCE. ASSONANCE recasts DISSONANCE with most of its stress removed so it feels almost as natural as CONSONANCE.

Reality is parsed through the prism of storytelling. This can be beautiful, distilled intensity that’s emotional and compelling. It can be horrifying, focused on fears and misery. In all cases it’s occupying; it passes the day. Trouble is, the storytelling may have outlived its usefulness and what no doubt has driven homo sapiens to date may now be the recipe for our extinction.