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Stories help us understand the world—but our human impulse towards narrative has a dark side

Human beings are storytellers but that sometimes does us more harm than good

By Julian Baggini  

At the football World Cup in Russia last summer, members of the England squad started parroting a kind of mantra. “As a team and a squad you want to write your own story and history,” said manager Gareth Southgate. “We said we wanted to write our own history,” captain Harry Kane dutifully repeated, while his team-mate Dele Alli duly told reporters “we want to write our own history now.”

For some time, academics and psychologists have been talking about the importance of narrative for making sense of the world and ourselves.…

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