The most powerful drug ever invented by mankind

Telling each other fictional tales and stories has been humankind’s common medium of reciprocal influence since the dawn of civilization. In the 9th century, Scheherazade went as far as to defeat a macabre serial killer, Sultan Shariar, through storytelling, redeeming him from his rage, and in the process saving herself. In the 20th century, another genius of narrative was Benjamin Murmelstein, the president of the Jewish Council of the Theresienstadt camp, who for years managed to invent stories to persuade Heydrich of the need to preserve a model Jewish colony in the heart of Nazi Germany.

Unfortunately, tales and stories are by far stronger than ideas. Humans believe whatever they are told, as long as the rapporteur does it with sufficient aplomb and impudence, just as a parent relating stories to their young children. Sherezade, the muse in One Thousand and One Nights, saved herself with her stories, being the unfortunate precursor of other muses such as Eva Braun, Clara Petacci and Leni Riefenstahl. On the other hand, Benjamin Murmelstein's narrative virtuosity for the Nazi hierarchs saved his life but condemned him to remain stateless, never getting to know the State of Israel.

Being a parent usually escapes an individual's reasoning and conscience, and is, however, a success of the Homo sapiens species. Almost all parents profusely use Scheherazade's or the Brothers Grimm's rotten stories to train their offspring, in a professional way, in the idea that life is coherent and lacks ambiguity. Unlike the story of sister Roxana Rodríguez and her son Francisco, the vast majority of the biographies of the world's fathers and mothers are lacking of interest, so there is an increasingly globalised market for children’s stories that adults widely use, because it greatly reduces a parent’s narrative exhaustion.

As we advance in the knowledge of the human brain, it seems clearer that it is a team of rivals competing to appropriate the final result for themselves, which is our behaviour. David Eagleman went on to compare the brain with Western democracies because teach are made up of multiple experts that overlap and defend different opinions (for behaviour). The default activity of the human brain, when we have no other occupation, is to tell stories to itself. This storytelling, told to ourselves, is intended to underpin our sense of personal identity and to provide an exaggerated coherence to the succession of superficial and arbitrary manipulated behaviours that make up our daily lives.

We are beings that confined to the world by a membrane, the skin, that envelopes us, and the main mission of our control organ, the brain, is survival. As communal living has enormous advantages, the brains of the species have evolved to make the most of the group without being expelled. Our life is like that of a tightrope walker balancing on a tightrope in the circus. We are governed by a "team of rivals" called brains that, to survive, depends on other brains, which are also trying to survive the unstable equilibrium of the tightrope. The stories we tell ourselves, while trying to maintain our balance, are intended to give coherence to the dissonance, and to camouflage it from "our team of rivals", and use stories to disguise the ambiguous "love hate" relationship we have with all those that are around us in the circus.

According to neurologists, the propaganda department is located in the left hemisphere of the brain, and its way of working to produce stories is often somewhat fascist, not unlike the methodology used by Joseph Goebbels and his minions. This should not surprise us, since after all, Hansel and Gretel’s parents deserved to be brought before The Hague International Criminal Court, and pretentious orphan Cinderella deserved to have had a chauvinist yellow father with slanted eyes like Cecil Chao Sze-Tsung.

In Yuval Noah Harari's view, the homo sapiens’ cognitive revolution, which occurred sometime between 30,000 and 70,000 years ago, led to the emergence of language and fiction, resulting in the capacity of large groups of strangers to cooperate flexibly, enabling cultural evolution. Through the use of words, and of their highest manifestation, fictional stories, we are able to lie, and in this way, survive our fellow human beings, fulfilling the orders from our genes to get the most out of others whilst giving the least. This is what we understand Salman Rushdie to mean when he tells us that words are the most powerful drug ever invented by mankind.