Your key argument on the neuroscience side seems to be that weâ€™re hardwired to have theory of mind â€” basically trying to read and guess other peopleâ€™s emotions â€” and that makes narratives enjoyable even if theyâ€™re wrong or impossible to prove. Can you tell us a little about theory of mind and how it works?
Theory of mind emerges from a much earlier mind-reading instinct thatâ€™s common to most mammals. Itâ€™s highly adaptive. Itâ€™s a quick and dirty solution to the problem we have of predicting the behavior of other Homo sapiens and potential predators and prey. It works well on the African savannah in environments of early adaptation, but only for people and other primates in our immediate vicinity in a very short space of time. It continues to work today in dealing with people face-to-face and hour-to-hour over limited periods.
But when you start to generalize and apply theory of mind across time and the environmental space, it begins to be so crude and so imprecise that it becomes useless as a tool for controlling and collaborating with other people. But weâ€™re still stuck with it as an explanation because it satisfies our curiosity. â€” https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/5/17940650/how-history-gets-things-wrong-alex-rosenberg-interview-neuroscience-stories