“We only have so many hours a day to consume stories, so if we spend another hour on a particular story, that leaves fewer hours for other stories. So if individual stories are substitutes, it seems plausible that so are categories of stories.”

By this definition, literally everything is a substitute for everything else. Eating is a substitute for drinking because you only have so many hours in a day, and all the time you spend drinking, you can't spend eating. In reality, both kinds of stories can and do complement each other. Black panther, for instance, is clearly a fictional story, but it serves to reinforce a progressive ideology and worldview. Walter Scott’s novels, by contrast, served to reinforce a romantic, nationalistic view of the real world.

When we consume fiction, we don’t decouple completely, throwing everything that happens into a mental dustbin labelled “fiction,” which doesn’t interact with anything else. “Fake” stories shape our view of the real world. This has been happening since we were hunter-gatherers. Michelle Sugiyama has done great work on how hunter-gatherers use fictional storytelling to shape what people believe about the real world and how they act in it.

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Do you count sport as 'real stories'?

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Other theories:1A. Assume they (RL stories and fiction stories) are about the same, i.e. are consumed to satisfy the same desire.2A. Notice that fictional stories may be more flexible and more easily satisfy. The opportunity cost affect means people will go for the stronger stuff, which happens to be fictional.3A. A desire for novelty/diversity means they are naturally substitutes.4A. But real life saturates the novelty, or competes with it. I.E. when we look at RL storytelling we might be missing:-stuff people have going on in their lives-Gossip! And celebrity gossip!**Though that might start getting into reality TV, and fictional/fiction related gossip. (Who will be in the next Star Wars TV Show? Is so-and-so getting kicked out of the show? Who is writing the script for (movie)? Is it someone we know and think will do a good job**?)**Compare how people talk about favorite celebrities/actors/writers with how they talk about sports teams.

1B. They're complementary, but in a different way - story creation. Real life story: The Manhattan Project. Fictional stories: This weapon/monster can destroy the world! It must be stopped!

1C. Grand historical and cosmological narratives are not perceived as "inspiring & engaging stories about (A) our actual lives and worlds".2C. They're not inspiring and engaging for some reason, but fiction is, possibly due to...diversity and novelty. 3C. If people want more different things today, rather than similar things, that may mean 'unifying stuff' is necessarily weaker - to catch a larger audience, but at the cost of not fitting so well.4C. People feel less connected to politics/communities? Global trade networks are less inspiring? People want simple stories and the world keeps getting more complicated? People want excitement and don't feel that about stuff that's going on now - in places/groups they are connect/identify with?**It might be easier to sell an economist a fictional book with more economics in it because you know/are interested in it/work with or know people who are interested it so you find it interesting as a result. In a similar fashion, politics that involves people more is more interesting to people. Fiction isn't real, but you can feel like you're doing something. (This predicts high video game popularity - unless people like more flexibility to tell their own story or do their own thing (open worlds/D&D more side quests or routes to choose from that matter).5C. More is going on in fiction than the world6C. perhaps of something that people care about and feel they aren't getting...in life or RL storytelling.

1D. Or it's all about storyteller quality. Less RL storytellers, if you will, more homogeneity, less daring, or lower quality storytellers, could all drive this phenomenon, while you surveyors are being honest:*about demand*, which does not reflect behavior based on supply. The demand which is not being met, is not seen by you.

1E. Our ability to tell engaging RL stories has decreased. This could be for all sorts of reasons.2E. Maybe stories like age of em (sorry, haven't read it yet), are about descendants very different from us, and a world very different from ours, both of which we care about less?3E. Or maybe that's not it, but the world keeps changing?4E. We like CONFLICT! in our stories, and all this time without World Wars makes the world boring. Where's the fighting? The Good Versus Evil?Basis: (This might be a gross mischaracterization of war, but maybe this is about stories.) The observation that movies like the Martian seem rare, as compared with...everything else. Harry Potter, Avengers, heists, mysteries, horror - stories based on conflict between people (It's vague I know). (Possible exception of romance and comedy - but do people find their jobs funny?)

1F. Fictional stories drive real world stories. We're growing through a surge in fiction*, which can later drive real world action. New ideologies must be forged in the fire of mythical battles!*stories or community building, I don't know.2F. Stories are something people bond over. If fiction is where people are, then fiction is where people will go!-If that means Game of Thrones is popular, then people will watch it and talk about it.-If that means celebrity gossip, or news if you prefer, is popular, then everyone has to know.3F. More centralized government means less (ideas? theorizing?) to go around. In fiction however - you, or I or anyone else can guess what will happen next on (insert popular work of fiction here).

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Indeed, one of the criteria for Great Literature is that it tells us something about ourselves, or the Human Condition.

I was taught history for long enough to be in no doubt that the version taught to younger children is mythologised, especially in what it leaves out.

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I suspect the poll results don't contain much info, since many will have falsely thought that they understood well enough what the words meant.

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I'm not at all convinced assumption (2) is true:"people eagerly and repeatedly went to war over such things. "Elites certainly ordered the lower-class into "limited" wars, and once began there was a lot of fighting then done for "God & country".

I'm not sure this really shows "a great decline in passions regarding grand historical and cosmological narratives."

As we learn more complete history, we find out "our side", in fighting, was just about as bad about killing other people as "their side". We want the good side to win, but also the good people.

In particular, Woke ideology is quite strongly alive. Tho it can also arguably put into the (1) Fiction side, since its magic thinking is not fully logical.

The 2000-2010 Harry Potter craze shows there is a huge demand for "good stories". And fiction often provides them at a faster, more exciting and dopamine inducing pace.

TV & movies, especially, are vehicles better suited for fiction story telling, tho Nat. Geo TV and History Channel are also available. Whatever was true up thru 2005, before wide smartphone adoption, is in the process of changing now. In those Boomer decades (70s - 2000), big readers of biographies, "real stories" often read little fiction, "substitutes", altho big readers of fiction often read real stories as well "complements".

Today a lot of attention span is on memes, often combining both fantasy and grand history. "Unicorns are infrastructure".

tiny typo? "We even instituted “freedom of speech” to someone cut back" >> somewhat cut back?

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I should note that ostensible fiction usually contains a substantial historical or sociological component.

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Allegedly true stories (mostly history/biography, a little futurism) serve an objective that is somewhat different from that served by acknowledged fictions. The former aim more directly at enabling us to understand the world; the latter merely tickle our fancies. Because understanding and fantasizing are different, I think there is substantial complementarity between true and fictional stories, along with the obvious substitutability.

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Do you know the difference between compliment and complement? Or are you tryign to be confusing?

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Don't most people spend most reading time reading news sites and blogs. On the train that's about all I see people reading. 20 years ago it was fiction books and newspapers. I would have guessed that the reading trend is towards things based on or derived from reality.

Watching TV and movies has always been majority fiction. Theatre is fiction too. I've never heard of "documentary" theatre, although I guess there must be some type of reality based theatre. Perhaps it's called a lecture.

Maybe it's more about the media. Some media just suits certain types of topics.

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Clearly all else equal an inspiring story of greater presumed authenticity is more meaningful; however, fake inspiration material can include all kinds of superstimulus far utopian wank you can imagine your are helping bend the arc of justice toward. Sometimes these stories (Mein Kampf? Das Kapital? just dropping names) do lead to large scale coordination.

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People are inclined to say they are complements because they confuse the concept with the notion of being complimentary. Steak and potatoes are complimentary even though they are partial substitutes because in everyday English A complements B just if combining A and B produces a particularly better result than one would naively expect from their individual goodness.

Even if you define the terms lots of people don't parse definitions very carefully especially if they think they understand the words. And it can be confusing (since I interact with people who use economic terms I know what the intended answer is but many people will find a bite of steak increases their immediate desire for a bite of potato and vice versa…and at the other end of the time scale fake/non-fake books really are compliments insofar as you forms a reading habit and get hungry for more books as a result of reading on long time scales…I don't mean to nitpick but to point out if your unfamiliar with the terms it's not obvious)

Here, people aren't saying something like: it's better if you balance your fake and non-fake books than if not. Hence they are compliments like steak and potatoes not in the economic sense.

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It's easier for us to both create and consume fake stories. The truth is hard. Today's stories are even easier than the "real" stories we told ourselves in the past.

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"based on a true story" used to suggest the story was more important, today it's upfront advertising that either someone used real names in theusual "vehicle to deliver a (literary) moral point," or its a story of events and characters without such a goal.

Stories about real events are easier for the audience to interpret incorrectly. news stories so rarely resemble the events witnesses saw.

I don't feel I'm expressing this well yet.

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Hearing and understanding the story, and acting on it.

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Can you help me understand what consumption of a grand historical/cosmological narrative would look like? Would attending church or Bible study be an example (assuming one believes this is "real")?

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