To get at why stories seem to me fundamental building blocks of reality I have to backpedal and talk about pictures for a bit.
Pictures of things, pictures of words. We consume and conceptualize them now as pixel collections, sometimes printed, mostly on screen. Let’s talk about them.
Imagine a fictional device that’s just a screen.
We turn it on and the screen is dark, then the pixel in the upper left corner starts to brighten up until it’s 100%. Then the one next to it does the same, and the next, and so on. Our imaginary device just runs through all of the possible combinations of pixels and colors, it seems, displaying each one for a moment or two. Thin bands of grey, ever lightening and darkening. After a minute it remains excruciatingly boring.
We put it down for a while and when we pick it back up the image looks like a fuzzy tv screen in Poltergeist.
Hmmm. What’s the point? Waiting for something interesting might take a while…
Eventually the device displays an image like this.
You’ve got ahold of an evidence generation gadget, congrats!