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The Greatest Story Ever Told... but why?

  • Apr 19, 2014 · 6:00 PM

It's that time of the year when many religious people celebrate Easter or Passover - perhaps two of the most important times in those faiths. They are anchored in stories that tell of events that provide proof, or at least a basis, for their underlying beliefs. But how can a story do that? And why are we, as a species, so influenced by stories? That is the topic for this Meetup!

From stories handed down by your ancestors and relatives, to movies on the screen and pages in a book, the capacity of stories to shape our beliefs and compel us to action is quite remarkable. Is it simply a matter of adding context and plausibility to things we don't know? Is it filling in the gaps that our brains cannot comprehend? Or is it entertainment that affects us in such a way that we cannot help but wish it to be true, and eventually it becomes so?

Think for a moment about what makes a great trial lawyer. He or she will tell a story to the jury that acknowledges the facts of the case, but in such a way that both is comprehensible and paints the outcome to his or her preference.

Or think about how some people are convinced that JFK died just like Oliver Stone showed us. Or that the Prime Directive from Star Trek is the way to live a good life. A great story can move people to extraordinary lengths, and their effects can last a very long time.

We will get together on the weekend of these religious celebrations to talk about why stories are so powerful, which stories are meaningful to us, individually, how we can be manipulated and deceived by a good story, and how stories help explain things we can't understand.

I am very excited about this topic, and if you are, too, then please join us at the IHOP near LAX (our regular haunt) for an evening of intense conversation and deep thinking. I can't wait! As always, feel free to invite friends - the more, the merrier!

I hope to see many of you there, and please use both our Facebook page, as well as the comments section here, to bring up issues, link to appropriate stories, and get a jump on the topic.

Please RSVP!

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  • wanderlens

    Always great conversation!

    May 7, 2014

  • Doug N.

    Interesting, Lively, and Contentious....we agree to disagree as always ;)

    1 · April 21, 2014

  • Susan

    As always-excellent discussion. I enjoyed hearing everyone's point of view.

    April 20, 2014

  • gayle k.

    This was my first meeting; I loved it! It was so nice to have discussions with people I didn't feel like I would have to knock anyone down and sit on just to be "heard." It was nice to hear others thoughts on the subject matter without feeling they were going to knock me down and sit on me if I didn't agree. I am so glad this is a "think" group and not an "action" group! Wish more people did more thinking and less re-acting!

    3 · April 20, 2014

  • Todd K.

    Three hours plus, and almost everyone was still there. This was fantastic!

    1 · April 20, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am Eastern Orthodox and unfortunately this year both Western and Eastern Easter fall on the same day. I will be attending the Easter Vigil at 11pm Saturday night. The service goes from Saturday night to Sunday morning. I usually take a nap Saturday afternoon in order to stay awake during the Easter Vigil. Maybe next year.

    April 19, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Unfortunately, I need to bow out due to another obligation. Sorry to miss this exciting discussion and hope to finally make it to a group meeting in the future. Thought I'd mention that the topic partly put me in mind of Michael Shermer's book, "Why People Believe Weird Things."

    April 14, 2014

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