Narrative Fallacy

One of the limits to our ability to evaluate information objectively is called ‘narrative fallacy.’ We let our preference for a good story cloud the facts and our ability to make rational decisions based on those stories.

We also have a limited ability to look at sequences of facts without being able to find an explanation, work out an explanation, or a logical link. But it is our explanations that bring facts together.

To stop stories being subjected to a deep narrative fallacy, we must continue to apply facts and logic to what we’re being told, or what we’re telling others. Where stories are based on our past, narrative fallacy will distort the recollection of the facts. It lures us into believing that we can explain the past away, in a way that supports our version of events.

We believe what we’re told without applying facts or logic. A current example of this is the rhetoric surrounding the Brexit debate going on at the moment in the UK. Divorced from reality and yet accepted by millions who choose to blindly accept what they’re being told. We don’t stop to question others’ motives.

Events in history are also based on narrative fallacy and although it’s too late for us to change how history played out, it’s not too late for us to change what’s happening in the here and now. We still have time.


26 May, 2019

4 thoughts on “Narrative Fallacy

  1. Never in my life have I been more concerned about mass brainwashing and blind obedience that follow. How can reasonably sensible people believe in lies and condemn truth as worthless, it’s absolutely crazy?

    But the real tragedy is that those who are in positions to do something about it have remained silent.

    1. Thanks Tim. I think your last paragraph sums up your response beautifully. It becomes a human failing when people choose to ignore their own values and integrity and instead follow others like sheep.

      In politics when politicians choose to ignore the universal truths to gain a vantage point it will only end in tears. I wouldn’t normally have a problem with that if it was only their tears.

      I stand by my values and integrity and although that doesn’t win me any brownie points because I am too moral, I can live with myself and that matters.

      If more of us did that just think how different the landscape would look.

  2. We do have a tendency to go along with what were told, unchallenging until the blindingly obvious smacks us in the face.

    Your example of the Brexit mess is hugely relevant. Even now, with all the facts to hand, knowing that leaving the EU without a deal will be shooting ourselves in the foot, there is a worrying impetus behind doing just that.

    Sometimes you can take a horse to water but you can’t make them understand the fallacy behind the narrative if they don’t want to.

    1. I agree with you. If people choose to stay in denial just so they get what they want, there isn’t much we can do.

      With Brexit, I still live with positivity and hope that common sense will eventually prevail. It needs to.

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