Convincing everyone that money, a simple piece of paper with a number on it, has value is quite extraordinary if you think about it. That we all agree if you have enough of this finite resource, this made-up invention brings status, power, convenience, security, etc. Currency was only invented 5,000 years ago. A new invention when you compare it to the age of the Earth. Yet, old enough, ubiquitous enough, that we all accept it.
Further, how do you convince millions upon millions of people to obey traffic laws? How do you persuade people every morning to get up and go to work? That people must pay their debts, get a job, contribute, pay taxes, worship? How do you reassure people everything will be okay in a crisis or to be compliant?
Telling stories indeed is not easy but telling stories is how we change people’s minds. Tell the right story (at the right time), or hear the same stories long enough, you can begin to believe in things that may not be true. As Orwell would put it, doublethink. We forget it is all invented. That many things in our culture are silent agreements so that we can make the culture function better.
This is why we have traffic stops. It’s a practical solution to transport the masses. Even if it’s unlikely I will get pulled over if I run this red but the thought that I might get pulled over keeps me in check. Since we don’t want to live in a culture where people run reds for convenience, we decide to be compliant for our safety and others. We don’t want to risk running through lights just because we are late for a meeting. If everyone did this, everyone would always be late.
The culture, the people work better together with cooperation. And while it feels like the divide is so vast between groups, we agree upon way more than we even realize.