“If I were a betting man or woman, I would say that certain types of stories might be addictive and, neurobiologically speaking, not that different from taking a tiny hit of cocaine,”
– William Casebeer of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Virginia

Despite the fact that it’s readily apparent Mr. Casebeer has never tried cocaine, DARPA’s current interest in narratives is an interesting development at an agency known for unique scientific inquiries. On April 25 and 26th DARPA held a conference called Narrative Networks (N2): The Neurobiology of Narratives. The purpose of this conference was to follow up a Feburary 26th event which sought to outline a quantitative methodology for measuring the effect of storytelling on human action.

[…]

So what’s new here? What secrets of the narrative art will be unveiled in this quantitative analysis?

Nothing much, other than what was once an art-form will suffer yet another reduction into a somewhat less effective means for moving markets, and manipulating populations. And that, in the end, is really the goal. For all the money they spent on remote viewing tests, Russel Targ, one of the lead scientists during the SRI tests, admits that it’s fairly easy to do, and that the most telling instruction manual they still have on the subject is a centuries old yogic training manual from India.

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