/* Zapp: prepare to continue the epic struggle between good and neutral */
Let’s say you are a member of the proud Red tribe, enjoying a ritual communal feast. There is mirth and joy in the air. There is eating, dancing, and various other sorts of revelry in progress. Everybody is enjoying the priceless feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves.
Suddenly, a young buck of your tribe runs into the camp ground, exhausted, wounded and bleeding. He delivers news of a grievous insult to your tribe dealt by the chief of the hated Grey tribe, and dies.
Now a different sort of priceless feeling of being part of something bigger descends on your tribe. This feeling is not derived from festive joy, but from infinitely outraged honor. Joy races against rage in every head. Hot heads and cool heads, young bucks and grey eminences, all start talking at once, to process the emotional calculus.
Eventually, a consensus narrative emerges and a course of action develops. The narrative has done its job: helped you decide how to feel, allowing action to cohere and precipitate.
How should we understand the unfolding of this course of events? The answer lies in a principle it’s taken me quite a while to formulate to my satisfaction: narrative abhors a vacuum.
What sort of vacuum?