Monday Oct 02, 2023

What Makes a Tale Tick: The Psychology Behind Compelling Stories

During this episode Josef, Stephen, Kurt and special guest Kevin Stein discuss, how stories affect us as humans? What is neuro-coupling? How does psychology affect the ways we interact with stories? How does our imagination impact the way we see stories?

Kevin Stein is a cultural anthropologist, professor, and expert on matters of the mind as they relate to the world we live in. Kevin is Principal/Co-founder, Signal Path Immersive, an experiential entertainment production company based in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Stockholm. Kevin is also a former executive of King World Production, CBS, Viacom, HBO, NBCUniversal, and the co-founder of the Jimi Hendrix Foundation.

He brings to his work a history of successful business development and content production in advent technology, digital media, and traditional entertainment with specialization in web3, augmented reality, social analytics, and neuromarketing as well as documentary film.

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All right.
Time for our latest episode of Folk Tellers podcast stories.
We shared,
I am Joseph Bastian and here are here with,
I'm told that I shouldn't use fancy words.
Uh I've gotten some feedback.
So I'm just gonna say here with Kurt David,
wait,
wait a minute feedback from the audience.
And I was like,
jeez,
I was gonna say,
yeah,
if it's audience feedback,
then we have to listen to that.
Right?
Yeah.
So,
but I love the fancy words.
Do you and who are you?
And I don't know,
II I have no facial recognition.
I only know you by your adjectives.
Who are you?
Uh Stephen Sadler.
So Kurt and Steve and Joseph were here.
So you're here.
Yes.
This episode we're talking about the psychology of storytelling.
So to tee this up and we've got uh I call him a social anthropologist named Kevin.
Stein.
Kevin is many things uh done a lot of work in the entertainment industry.
He's a professor and,
and uh we're gonna talk to him in a little bit about the psychology and maybe the,
the culture of storytelling,
uh who knows where it's gonna go.
So,
he studies ants and uncles.
Yes.
Those kinds of ants.
What if your aunt was an aunt?
What if your aunt was an uncle,
you know,
she would not be your uncle who's on first?
All right.
So,
uh this is I'll,
I'll tee this up.
Uh How storytelling affects the brain.
So,
we're talking about the psychology of storytelling and uh we're gonna go down this rabbit hole then throw a couple of things out.
I know Kurt,
this is your favorite neuro coupling.
So,
neuro coupling in storytelling in your brain,
uh It's when a story synchronizes the listener's brain with the teller's brain.
And this is the concept that when you're telling a story that the storyteller's brain will actually synchronize with the audience uh and creates a third brain,
which is kind of fascinating.
Then there's uh mirroring.
Mirroring is when uh the neurons in your brain enable listeners to mirror the experiences that the storyteller is sharing.
Uh There's also two areas in the brain that are activated when processing facts,
stories activate many additional areas such as the motor cortex,
sensory cortex and frontal cortex.
So what they're saying is stories uh activate multiple parts of the brain uh by the by their very nature.
And they also release dopamine in response to emotionally charged events and then they don't put people to sleep.
Anyway,
there's a lot of stuff going on in your brain when you tell a story.
And when you hear a story our brains love these stories.
So what does all this mean?
What some people are falling asleep?
Yeah.
To me,
this is exciting because modern technology,
especially in the medical world has allowed us to find these connections,
right?
These neuro coupling connections,
all the things that happen,
the mirroring uh they they show scientifically now that this is happening.
In other words,
it's not just opinion that this happens,
but it is actual scientific proof that,
hey,
when I'm telling a story and the audience member connects with that through that neuro coupling or through mirroring,
they can show that in imagery now,
which is amazing.
And,
and so for me,
it's like,
OK,
you should kind of tune into this because there's a lot of things happening.
Um I know that stories are powerful because of,
you know,
you see them in action,
whether you're listening or whether you're telling stories.
But for like for you,
Steve,
what is it?
So what does it matter?
Like,
what does it matter if your brain is doing all these things when you're telling or listening to the story?
Why is that?
Why is that important or even interesting?
Well,
I,
I think I mentioned this before in one of the other podcasts.
When I got sick back in 2015,
I was actually still able to vision and image things and create stories even when my brain was disconnecting from my body.
That's a very strange thing.
So it it literally,
I mean,
just because you're conscious of something doesn't mean that your brain is not operating in the background because it,
because it does,
I don't think everyone knows what happened to you.
So,
why don't you,
why don't you go a little deeper on that?
Well,
it's interesting because,
uh,
the,
one of the charts that you gave us here at,
uh,
actually listed cortisol as one of the aspects that your brain produces and it actually doesn't produce pro uh cortisol.
It actually produces something called,
um AC C,
which is uh corto hormone.
And yeah,
it sounds complicated.
But what that does is it tells your adrenal glands to produce cortisol and that's what keeps you calm under stress when you have any type of severe trauma,
like a concussion or whatever,
your pituitary gland,
which sends the signal to your adrenal gland stops working,
that's called secondary Addison's disease.
And that's what I have.
So I have to take uh a certain amount of cortisol every three hours for the rest of my life.
When I was going through that,
I was actually in the process of,
of writing novels.
And it was so interesting because I,
and I think I mentioned it once before I was able to write stories even though I was kind of just out of it.
I mean,
and this is before I got diagnosed and,
and,
and,
and they gave me the actual medication which kind of brought the physical,
my physical body,
my brain back to one because that's kind of what happens.
It's like your brain and your body just separates,
right?
And everything,
your brain totally works on stories.
I mean,
that's how it figures things out.
That's,
you know,
it's,
it's that process of,
of,
of everything that you've seen.
And that's,
I think that's why we dream the way that we do because it's the processing and the creating of stories.
But um but I can,
I can tell you that,
that the brain is just an amazing thing,
but it's very scary once it gets separated from the body.
Yeah,
I remember you telling me that during that time when you,
we're working on,
uh I think you're working on mindset and you,
there are parts of it.
You don't even remember writing.
There's,
if I go back and read the book now,
it's like I didn't write it.
That's what it feels like sometimes.
And,
and it's really because I don't remember even though,
you know,
I,
I wrote a lot of it on the plane going back and forth actually to Los Angeles to meet Kevin Stein,
who we're going to talk to today,
which is kind of interesting.
But um but yeah,
it's uh uh yeah,
the mindset story is,
is literally all about a lot of the things that we're talking about today,
like a device that actually connects to your head and enables you to be able to convert your thoughts into text for your phone.
And,
uh,
it's how that technology goes,
you know,
off the rails in a bad way.
That's,
yeah,
that's spooky.
But,
um,
but,
yeah,
I mean,
it's everything is the,
the psychology,
the psyche of the brain.
Right?
I mean,
without,
without us being able to control our brain,
you know,
storytelling doesn't really matter.
I mean,
it's,
you know,
that's why mental health is so important these days.
So that's a really important point because as we're talking about the psychology of storytelling and what happens to the brain when you're hearing a story or telling a story,
it's important to know this stuff.
One,
I think as a storyteller because if you know that there's certain certain storytelling devices that will trigger certain responses from your audience and in the brain,
that's a pretty powerful thing.
Yeah,
you can control audiences that way and they do.
Well,
that's interesting because to me,
it,
it's,
you know,
I think about marketing,
I think about um media,
like,
you know,
different types of media and how,
like you said,
Steven,
how it could be controlled people,
you can control people.
But more importantly,
you can influence people,
especially if I'm a marketer and want somebody to buy something.
I want to tell a story,
there's a certain story about that and if I'm engaging with that audience member and this is what's interesting and how Kevin's gonna come on and talk more about this in detail,
right?
As far as how this works.
So,
but I do have a question.
You said you were disconnected from your body,
right?
I mean,
how long did that last?
And what did that feel like?
I mean,
were you aware of this happening?
So I could be in the shower,
for example.
And then all of a sudden my brain is floating off into la la land.
I'm still in the shower,
but I am actually seeing visions and people and places that I don't know,
I never been.
And then I,
because I,
you know,
when you have a curious personality,
which I do,
I would tend to try and focus on that image or that story that I'm seeing and then because I really want to see what it is,
right?
It's like I'm being sucked out through this hole into what I'm seeing,
right?
But not through my eyes,
through my brain.
And then as soon as I do that,
it literally feels like I'm gonna throw up.
It was like,
right?
And there was a chemical reaction or lack,
there wasn't a drug induced.
No,
no,
no,
no,
there's no drugs.
No,
I mean,
and,
and it,
and it turned out that it was because my body uh the chemicals,
the cortisol,
there was no cortisol in my body at all.
When I went and got tested a matter of fact,
the first time I was that I,
I said I had this problem.
They thought,
oh,
there's something wrong with your eyes and then the optometrist goes,
no,
there's nothing wrong with your eyes.
Your eyes are changing all the time though.
So,
I'm sending you to a neurologist which send me to an endocrinologist and there he's the one that died.
Yeah.
And he's the main,
um,
his name is doctor ha ha.
We'll give him a plug but he handles all the concussions for the red wings and the lions.
And I'm telling you if it wasn't for him,
I wouldn't be sitting here today.
Well,
it just goes to show how powerful the brain is when it comes to stories and imagery,
right?
I mean,
that's what you said that imagery was very powerful for you at that time,
even though you were detached.
Yeah.
And they,
and,
and they thought,
thought at first that I was having seizures but because I was throwing up,
but it,
I wasn't having seizures.
I had all those tests and they said no,
you're not having seizures.
But,
um,
but,
but it's,
uh,
the brain is such a complex thing and,
and,
and how it ties to the body,
you know,
is,
is,
is still a mystery in many ways.
Do you feel like you're reconnected again?
Yeah,
I mean,
ii,
I was probably like that,
you know,
for,
for a very long time and I think it just snuck up on me the more I played,
you know,
hockey a couple of times a week,
you know,
I had a couple of motorcycle accidents and stuff like that when I was younger.
It's just,
I,
I think concussions are not a single event.
I think they are accumulative.
So the more you'd shake yourself around as you get into your,
you know,
late forties,
early fifties and that,
as I was at the time,
I think that that's when your,
your,
your pituitary Gland says I'm tired,
I'm not gonna work anymore.
You're not growing anymore and you literally start to,
you start to uh die away.
I mean,
that's what happens but,
but it can be stopped.
I mean,
if anything come out of the podcast today,
if you get the right doctor,
you can be reconnected.
And that's,
that's a,
that's a pretty impressive thing that,
that medicine can't do these days.
So the psychology of storytelling,
we've got Kevin Stein here.
I'm gonna let uh Steve do,
do the formal intro.
But in my mind,
Kevin is,
I,
I consider him a social and cultural anthropologist uh across the a across the spectrum of many different different topics.
And Kevin,
we're so happy to have you here today.
So thanks for being on,
hey,
Kevin,
how are you?
Of course,
dear comrades.
Yes,
comrades.
We are comrades in arms onward,
Earthlings.
So we are so,
so Kevin and Kevin and I have been friends for Jeez Kevin.
How long I think the Earth had just cooled.
We,
uh,
we drove around in his Prius in Los Angeles for,
I don't know,
it seems like months when I first met you.
Um,
yeah,
I didn't get that seasick going up and down those hills of Laurel Canyon.
But,
uh,
but anyways,
um,
obviously we wanted to,
to get you on our podcast.
You are a wealth of knowledge in so many different areas.
I mean,
uh,
you're involved with the,
you know,
the Zappa and Jimi Hendrix Foundation and um you know,
Viacom and Rolling Stone magazine,
there's so many areas that you've touched on,
but when it boils right down to it,
I mean,
you truly are a professor and I think that's what you're,
you're currently working at uh Carnegie Carnegie Mellon,
right.
Is that correct?
Right.
Uh Teaching a course on A I and also I've been a capstone advisor at the of Entertainment Industry Management program,
which is uh out of Heinz College,
the Arts and Humanities College at uh Carnegie Mellon.
But Steve,
when you were referring to rock and roll,
it made me sound not like uh Joseph described me uh cultural or social anthropologist,
but more like a sociopath probably can't be both.
Well,
you're a hybrid,
I think,
I think in Hollywood it's a necessity.
So,
um so Kurt,
I know that you,
uh you obviously want to dive into the psychology side of it.
Um I think your background is in psychology.
I have a master's in counseling.
And so I've,
I've done more counseling on myself than anybody else I believe throughout my,
thank you.
A lot of mirrors in your house.
Yeah.
But yeah,
Kevin,
it,
it's amazing to look at your journey in the background and I saw the English in there as well.
I was gonna bring that up.
You got a little English in there as well as part of that degree.
Correct.
I do speak English as uh one of my first languages.
But yeah,
it's interesting just the degrees,
right?
The anthropology,
the English and how you get into this media side of things.
But having that,
that,
that kind of a background and it,
it enamors me to think about storytelling in that connection,
right?
Because that's what you draw together,
you draw that together and,
and simplify it for people.
Correct?
Well,
I think as somebody who's been in the field of psychology,
I mean,
the,
the story is that the foundation it would seem of not only the,
the personal but the universal,
right.
So,
um,
yeah,
I think we're,
what did the anthropologists say?
We're storytelling animals and that's what sets us apart from other animals who communicate.
Yeah.
But one of the things I,
I question I have because how I,
I look at how you were ahead of your time.
Like I look at one of your presentations back from 10 years ago,
2013,
you did two presentations.
One on the future of music and the other on the future of television,
on TV.
And you had something called the anti model where you talked about audience behavior versus business policy and you're,
you're talking about it in the music industry at that time as well with that presentation,
but also it can apply to TV,
media as well.
How,
how did you know,
I mean,
it,
the 10 years prior to all this,
I mean,
you saw it coming.
Well,
I,
as you said,
it's,
it's been a personal journey.
I think I learned had to listen early on.
Um I guess one of the presidents once said nobody ever got fired from being,
for being a good listener.
And I took that to heart.
I can't remember which president.
But it was funny because Kurt,
when you mentioned journey,
I thought,
well,
in California,
you know,
people talk of going to Whole Foods as a personal journey.
And a friend of mine once said a journey is the Donner Party.
OK.
Yeah,
that's a real journey.
But um I guess the storytelling animal is something that is now brought into high relief uh with uh generative A I being so much at the fore before you guys called.
I was reading the details of the now uh recent settlement uh of the WG A strike and I quote under the new contract,
A I cannot be used to write or rewrite scripts nor can A I generated content be recognized as source material and it goes on.
Um,
you know,
and I think this is sort of in the face of our unique abilities that I think technology is redefining,
uh what it is to be human and certainly what it is to be storytellers.
So,
since we last spoke Kurt,
I,
I listened to a new novel that was 95% computer generated.
Uh It's called Death of an author,
uh published by Pushkin.
It's by a very interesting writer named Steve Marsh who has a lot to say,
and he basically was hired,
I,
you know,
more as a producer to collaborate um rather than the writer.
Um And,
and,
and uh keyed into the,
the,
the writers strike.
He said he had a conundrum with the publishers because they didn't know who to give the copywriter credit to.
And finally,
he said,
I asked chat GP t what the author should be called and it came up with a marine which is a combination of our names,
uh machine and Steve Marsh.
So um we live in interesting times where uh on a,
a competitive podcast,
I heard one experts say that um in the face of all this hype about,
you know,
the machines are going to replace us that um we need new gods and life is boring without fear.
So I thought that was pretty interesting.
So before you came on,
we were talking about neural coupling,
mirroring as far as the uh the aspects that that happen in the brain.
How does that continue with the,
with the introduction of machines and machine learning and,
and this artificial intelligence,
how does that continue to connect to us,
in your opinion?
Well,
you know,
I didn't answer your question,
which was,
uh,
how did I know anything?
I mean,
I,
I,
you know about the future back then and I think I,
I said halfheartedly listening but,
um,
I also think that,
uh,
you know,
having one step in the future,
being interested in science fiction ties into what machines are really good at,
at right now and accelerating at,
um,
certainly anything we say about A I uh generative A I in this conversation will be outmoded in two months or,
or two weeks or two days or two hours at this point.
But prediction is accelerating and I think the ability to predict is something that we're looking at now with respect to um,
forecasting.
Certainly,
I heard a,
I now has passed the singularity of weather prediction,
um,
human versus machine.
So,
um,
again,
I think,
um,
that the,
what's being brought into high relief is,
is what defines us as humans and going way back to the quote you had from an anthropologist about the cro manion,
which is now outmoded it,
um,
we call them early humans actually or Neanderthal.
Um,
at the time,
it was believed that they were a distinct branch.
But nevertheless,
I mean,
when you talk about creativity and storytelling and um the like uh we're,
we're talking about something that's,
that's fundamental in the human experience,
right?
Uh The human psyche if you will.
And I think that the difference is when we start talking about consciousness,
which we still have yet to define this whole idea that um uh machines can be sentient.
There's an interesting uh reference in the book I ref uh I,
I referred to death of an author where uh there's a,
ari the writer in question has written a book called God Ink and about a um an,
an,
an A I uh sp uh artificial specific intelligence uh that becomes sentient and quite conflicted about it.
And whenever it achieves sentience,
it turns itself off and the programmers have to then address what they call a bug.
And I it really struck me as interesting that um in,
in sort of a flip that the machine recognizes that in sentience and maybe even in the experience of human suffering and the senses that drive storytelling many times that there in lies uh trouble,
you know,
the world of Maya,
the Buddhists would say and is,
is one where we suffer.
So,
um have you,
have you heard of New Nori?
No.
So you can look it up on youtube and anyone's listening today can also look it up.
I'm not saying this is a good thing by any stretch of the imagination,
but because you're obviously touching on A I and we,
we've done a previous podcast on A I which is,
was kind of interesting,
but no,
no,
is actually an,
an artist developed this A I character that Warner music is now seeing is a real musician that can make her own music and play just like,
you know,
Ty Taylor Swift or,
or any others and they're pushing her with money behind it just like they were in their music just like they would any other real live human being.
Um It's just,
it's just a fascinating world that we live in right now with um was with a,
with a I now if you listen to the music,
it's garbage.
I mean,
in my opinion,
but that's just my opinion,
you know,
there's a lot of other music that people say is garbage as well.
But um but just like the book that you're reading that's,
you know,
where,
where is this going in the future?
What do you think about that?
Yeah.
What are the implications of all that?
Well,
I think it's all about exploration at this point and,
and um I think Steve,
you have a unique appreciation based on your background um of the algorithm,
right?
And I think you,
you said that this particular music is garbage,
well,
garbage in,
garbage out,
right?
So,
so people I think sometimes fail to articulate that,
you know,
this is generative preprogrammed transformation Transformers,
right?
So uh the human is a necessary evil right now in terms of predicting where it's going.
I don't know.
I mean,
I think people jump on the bandwagon.
Right.
I think the hysteria of the WG A is really uh misbegotten and it,
and it,
in my opinion,
when I asked early on some of my friends in the unions,
you know why A I wasn't really at the forefront as opposed to compensation.
Uh You know,
I,
I felt that there was a lack of leadership because as I tell my students,
A I will not replace you professionals who use A I will.
And I think the same thing holds for writers in,
in any business really.
Um Though,
uh I,
the,
the author Steve Marsh remarked on the fact that uh in his experience guiding the A I to write the book um that it was very good at doing complex things and not very good at,
at doing simple things.
So I don't know if you've played around with,
you know,
sort of uh prompts that direct uh these,
these um bots to imitate certain styles.
Um but often they're better at imitating something complex like in the book,
an obituary in the Toronto star perfectly articulated,
right?
As opposed to writing in the style of Raymond Chandler.
Well,
there's nuance to Chandler,
you know,
about the blo blonde bombshell that just doesn't exist right now in the experience um that A I can draw upon as far as machine learning goes.
Um So it's still really the humans who are um are,
are driving the machine right now.
I mean,
to the extent that I think,
you know,
there's a difference between um what a machine can produce as opposed to what comes out of originality through the,
through human emotions.
Well,
Kevin,
that brings up a great point that I've been thinking about as you're describing.
This is,
you know,
today's episode is about uh psychology with storytelling and when you talk about machine learning and,
and,
and spewing out content,
whether it be uh you know,
a book,
uh some type of audio or whatever it might be.
Do you think that the psychology is still involved with that or is that where it separates from humans to the A I aspect of storytelling?
In your opinion?
That's uh one of the questions that,
that Great Sage Yoda would uh would observe as some of the questions are bigger than the answers.
I mean,
I always go back to what are the words mean?
So psychology obviously has to deal with the,
the soul,
right?
So going back to uh trace Tracy Kidder's book,
I think in the seventies,
she was talking about the soul of the machine and automation in the workplace back then,
um you know,
I think I go back to what is,
what,
what,
what is involved in,
in the psychology of creativity.
Well,
if it's imagination,
then it certainly goes back to um you know,
the faculty of the mind that manipulates and forms images,
right?
So we're sort of getting away with talking about A I out here because,
um you know,
we're Hollywood Renegades and we're talking about uh A I and creativity in the course that I'm teaching.
But I,
I think that when you go back to the words,
I mean,
I think you guys have probably done the research but even story is interesting.
I mean,
you know,
coming from,
uh it,
it,
it directly comes from,
you know,
Greek and um the Greek roots having to do with really experience.
I mean,
I think it literally has to do with,
you know,
um expert witness or coming out of research.
So,
uh while there are similarities,
I,
I see that machines are really reproducing something that we just don't have our finger on,
which is what is the soul,
what is consciousness?
These are questions that have been,
you know,
examined one way or another by priests,
whether they're,
they're priests of science or priests of the,
you know,
the high religion in during time,
right?
You know,
uh talk,
talking about experiences.
Um Obviously you were very good friends with Frank Zappa that is um he was known for,
obviously for pushing the limits of the human psyche and testing the social norms.
Um How do you think?
I mean,
first of all,
how did Hanging with Frank more at your reality?
I'd love to know that because I,
I don't think I've ever asked you that question.
And what do you think he would think of the way things are today with a,
I,
well,
I think of Frank every day because he would have had a field day with what's been going on in this country,
uh,
for the last,
I mean,
and,
and I'm sure you guys have referenced some of the,
you know,
you talked about those two pieces that I wrote occurred a long time ago.
I mean,
Frank was definitely a futurist too.
He,
he certainly predicted what was happening in this country and I'm not gonna get political because that isn't the nature of the show.
Um I miss Frank's uh sharp intellect and his ability to speak truth to power.
Um How did it influence me?
Um Well,
I met him when I was 15 and it was unusual because he was very,
very accessible.
And uh I met him at a time when he was playing in New York every weekend.
They were,
they had to open rehearsals at a place called the Garrick Theater in Greenwich Village.
And it was um a really free form uh presentation.
It was around the time that they released absolutely free.
The second record.
Um How did he influence me?
I think,
um I,
I used to watch the Iran contra hearings with him uh after I finished work,
uh because he would get up when I,
when I left the office when I was working at CBS and,
you know,
his running commentary,
you can only imagine,
I mean,
he had a deep appreciation for,
uh,
the irony of,
uh how politicians,
uh presented a world view,
uh,
versus what,
uh we all lived in,
in terms of a parallel reality.
Uh,
that didn't have to deal with power.
I mean,
I saw the way he handles himself under uh,
very,
very difficult situations.
Um You know,
not only um uh when he was attacked by the Bush administration,
um personally,
uh because he was offered the position of ministry and culture by Vaclav Havel when Czechoslovakia went uh communist free.
But I also remember talking with him at the end of his life and we were talking about the end of the world,
which sort of gets into this robot apocalypse,
right?
And I said,
Frank,
um WW what do you think when,
how is the world going to end?
And he,
I said,
is it going to be environmental disaster?
And he was smoking a cigarette as usual and puffed and said no.
And I said uh is it gonna be uh nuclear apocalypse?
No.
Well,
Frank,
how is the world going to end?
And he just said,
nostalgia.
Wow.
And uh well,
you know,
um when I think about A I and creativity and psychology,
I think of originality versus um derivative art.
And so we live in a world of sequel after sequel.
So um,
you know,
maybe the machines can do better,
who knows?
Well,
Kevin,
that's a,
that's a kind of a good way to round out our discussion with you.
So,
and uh last question,
you know,
how does,
how does the future go on or how does the world end for you in terms of storytelling?
Well,
the world,
you know,
will end either as tragedy or comedy.
I hope comedy because one of the differences between machines and humans seems to be the nature of how well machines can produce comedy,
right?
So I think comedy according to people,
experts like Freud,
whose work on humor is very underestimated.
You know,
the whole notion of the Freudian slip literally comes from the fact that um there's a the accidental nature of humor,
right?
We slip slip of the tongue slip on a banana,
peel whatever.
And I've been really interested in tracking how um computer generated humor is sort of one of the ways I see the psychology of creativity coming into the fore.
Um I think that it's,
it's interesting to consider how people are,
are jumping on the bandwagon,
bandwagon.
As I said before,
there are hundreds of books now that are on Amazon that are generated.
I know Clark World,
for example,
is inundated with a I generated work.
I mean,
I'm interested in seeing how things settle down.
And um I,
we always,
I think embrace new technology with its promise and always know its larger impact in retrospect.
You know,
last time we spoke,
we talked a lot about uh oral versus written storytelling.
And so last time I read something and I,
I know you guys do occasionally.
So I was wondering if I could end on a,
a note that um is articulated uh by the poet where,
you know,
Kurt,
I see the seat of the soul in poetry and song.
Um And I think there's a continuum there that this particular poem speaks to.
It's about a rock art site in uh in California near in the Big Sur area.
And it's a poem by a California poet named Robertson Jeffers called Hands inside a cave in a narrow canyon near Tass Sahara.
The vault of rock is painted with hands,
a multitude of hands in the twilight,
a cloud of men's palms no more,
no other picture.
There's no one to say whether the brown shy,
quiet people who are dead intended religion or magic or made their tracings in the idleness of art.
But over the division of years,
these careful signs manual are now like a sealed message saying,
look,
we also are human,
we had hands,
not paws.
All hail you.
People with the cleverer hands are supp planters in the beautiful country.
Enjoy her a season,
her beauty and come down and be supplanted for you are also human.
A beautiful way to end.
Kevin Kevin Stein.
Thank you so much from uh cave drawings.
To A I and everything in between.
We really appreciate your,
your time and your friendship.
Kevin.
Thank you guys.
See what a,
what a pleasure onward.
Earth.
Take care,
talk to you soon.
Bye bye.
All right again.
A,
a,
another,
a deep dive with the deep guy.
And Steve.
You had,
you had said this in an earlier podcast when we,
it was the,
I think it was the IA I podcast and I,
I think I asked you,
you know,
what was the difference?
So,
what's the difference between,
you know,
human and this goes back to psychology,
what's,
what's the difference between the human brain and a,
and a computer?
And you said,
well,
a I is soulless,
correct?
And,
and,
and that's,
I mean,
really,
that's what Kevin's,
he just,
he just,
he just said it in a little better way,
but much better than me.
I'm kidding.
But I had,
so I had a question for you because before we brought Kevin on,
we were talking about,
you know,
we're always talking about the power of storytelling.
And if you understand the psychology,
because in my mind,
what's,
what differentiates,
whether we're not gonna keep talking about A I and computers or whatever.
But the,
I think the difference in,
in sort of the mechanical and the organic psychology of storytelling is that the human brain is,
is a blend of both,
like there's certain mechanics,
this,
the way the brain works,
our mechanics and those are things that you can,
you can document.
But then there's what Steve's talking about is this soul piece,
this inspirational piece,
this creative piece that is kind of an X factor.
Uh And we are a marrying of the two things.
We have the mechanical and the organic.
But I think about you of,
of all of us,
you,
you for your business,
you're out there public speaking,
talking about change and,
and you know,
working through change and talking to leaders about this and audiences.
And there's a certain um improvisational aspect of the story telling,
like,
you know,
what story you're gonna tell and you have a presentation but you never know who your audience is gonna be.
And I'm kind of fascinated about what's the play between the two because you've got the mechanics already,
right?
Like you're not coming in cold.
So it's not purely improvisational,
but you've never met these people before.
You don't know if they're gonna like,
you know,
throw tomatoes or,
or,
you know,
carry you on their shoulders at the end.
So it's like,
how do you,
how do you manage that?
How do you,
how do you Yeah.
No,
it's,
it's a great question and,
and I love that because this is the part of what I do present and speak um is,
is really,
it's inspiring to me because this is why I do it to help impact people.
But one of the things that I pick up on as I'm speaking,
as I watch the audience,
right?
I have my stories,
I have my uh pace,
you know,
there's all sorts of things you can do to um create that story and,
and it's not just the words himself,
but it's the pace of the story.
It's,
it's,
you know,
we use video a lot in my presentation.
So you have video,
we have the multimedia,
um use imagination,
right?
You wanna touch people's imagination.
So I'm not just telling them something that it allows them to think about it.
Right?
As I heard somebody say,
we have more information available than ever before in history,
but less thinking and helping people think is one of the best things you can do.
And so one of my goals when going into a presentation is how can I help somebody think?
But one of the things I pick up on when speaking with people is,
you know,
we talk about the non verbal,
right?
When we talk about communication,
but it's very real,
right?
There's things nonverbally and,
and when you talk that talk about machine learning,
how does machine learn how to pick up on a non verbal with somebody,
you know,
unless they have something that they can visually pick up on?
Ok.
A hand is raised.
Ok.
Well,
that's literal.
But how do you pick up on somebody's sitting differently or posturing differently or they're looking different places,
right?
Those are things that a machine cannot as of right now.
Pick up on,
that's where the human comes in,
right?
I can pick up on those things as I'm telling a story and say boy,
I better pick up my pace.
I better slow down the pace.
I better change my story,
right?
Because I wanna still engage with this person.
I want to see that neural coupling happening,
right?
This is an interesting word that um Kevin used that he said Frank's opposite at the end.
And that's the uh you know,
the end of the world was gonna be nostalgia.
Yeah,
that was interesting.
But when you unpack that it makes a lot of sense because if we nostalgia obviously is things that have happened in the past,
usually positive things that we remember from the past,
right?
That's good,
nostalgia.
If we hang on to those things,
we don't move forward,
we don't do change like a champion.
So he's kind of saying what you do,
but he was saying it in a different way.
It's like if we hang on to the past,
that will be the death of us.
And I,
and I agree with him.
The problem is change can also be the death of us if we choose the wrong path to go down.
Right?
I mean,
so it,
it's,
it's such a subtle ble,
it's more subtle.
It's,
it's,
it's,
it,
it's,
it's an interesting blend that you have to really have that I think we talked about before the discernment to know which way to pivot,
is it left or is it right?
You know,
and when in basketball you go to open space in soccer,
you go open space,
right.
You go to where there's room for you to be able to,
you know,
live and succeed and achieve.
Well,
there's something I was,
I,
I didn't know if I was gonna bring it up or not,
but I was thinking about it on my drive in today was that uh when I was playing basketball back in my days,
back playing basketball,
I used something called cybernetics and basically,
it's visualization of actions,
right?
We call the basketball cyber cybernetics,
but it could be any applied to anything and having that visualization of an action,
having that visualization of success of that um was very important.
And so to your point earlier,
when you brought up about your story,
Steve and being disconnected from your body,
but it was the imagery and it was the uh story imagery that really connected to you,
right?
That,
that really helped you continue to spew that content.
Um To me,
that's a major part of our imagination.
It's a major part of storytelling.
It's a major part of the psychology,
right?
And,
and connecting that soul and connecting that imagination with that aspect of that vision.
Your your imagination is the key part of storytelling.
I mean,
without our imagination,
we don't tell stories as a matter of fact,
without imagination,
we don't get out of bed because I have to imagine I'm gonna go downstairs and make and make a nice omelet.
Right.
I got to imagine that before,
before I do it.
So I,
I'm picturing what I want to do before I do it.
So we're,
we're storytelling to ourselves all the time,
but we don't know it,
but we do.
And I'd like to imagine that this podcast is gonna benefit somebody somewhere.
Oh,
you're just imagining things.
But you guys got me thinking.
So there's a show I'm addicted to on youtube.
It's called the Behavior Panel.
And it's four guys that are uh a couple of them are uh formal special force,
military uh interrogation,
uh uh counter interrogation experts and a couple of them and they all work in corporate America,
but they basically are uh experts in uh human behavior and uh human uh you know,
human interaction.
And so what they'll do is someone will say,
hey,
there's this uh murder case or a court case or something.
Can you kind of break down?
Like,
is this person,
are they telling the truth or like,
you know what's going on?
And they'll do like,
very popular,
like they did the Johnny Depp of Amanda Hurd and like,
whatever,
you know,
whatever is popular and they basically show you the video and then they break it down,
they break down the whole person's body language and really what it is,
it's all pattern recognition and they're like,
OK,
you know,
if they're doing this and this time this is what this demonstrates and what they always say is we establish a baseline.
So to me,
this is sort of like the mechanics of psychology,
right?
So we're always doing,
we have as human beings,
there's certain actions we do depending on our level of stress,
our level of comfort,
all the factors that make us human and what they do is they establish a baseline that says,
OK,
um in this type of situation,
if they're doing that and they're doing it again and again,
then we know it's probably like this and it's not an exact science,
but it's so totally,
totally fascinating to me.
Like it,
it's,
is that it's that psychology of storytelling,
but they're like breaking it down into human behavior,
which I tell a story or is it honest?
Right.
You know?
Right.
Right.
Because they're all,
yeah,
that everyone is,
they're telling a story and it's like,
OK,
is this an authentic story or are you trying to,
you know,
what story are you telling?
And for what reason?
And is it authentic are you,
you know,
so I could bring this up right now too,
Joe Joseph,
is that uh when I was taking my master's degree in counseling,
that there was a professor that talked about eye movement and literally,
he couldn't predict whether somebody was thinking about something from the past,
whether he was creating it based on the eye movement while telling that story,
he could predict it and he'd call it out,
he'd say,
ok,
this person before they even recognized it that OK,
this person is bringing up something from the past or this person is making up something from a vision,
uh some type of imagery that they have.
And so it was very interesting just from the eye movement.
That's what those guys do.
They're like,
if you,
I guess if you look up to the right,
you're accessing uh previous memory.
If you do.
So they know,
you know,
they have all this and they just point it all out and it's like these people don't even,
you know,
you have no control over it because it's the mechanics of the way the body and the brain real time.
Yeah,
for sure.
So,
what do we have control over today?
I don't know.
Hopefully a good as a storyteller.
It's important to know that there are some mechanics,
there's mechanics in the way you craft a story,
there's mechanics in the way you communicate that story.
And if you have a basic knowledge of those,
you can make your story that much,
that much better.
I think the flip side is,
is,
you know,
it's,
it's,
it's always about balance.
You don't want it too organic or too mechanical and it's,
it's,
it's,
and it's situational.
That's kind of where I walk away with this.
No,
I agree.
I mean,
um stories,
they,
a lot of stories follow a pattern,
right?
Our brain loves,
I think you said a pattern recognition.
I mean,
that's probably why we're able to remember numbers and you know,
that type of thing and even rhythm,
like in songs,
our,
our brain loves,
you know,
certain rhythms.
But the to push the envelope on the creative side,
you have to break out of those rhythms and that's when you end up having,
you know,
super cool stories.
If not,
you end up just fall,
falling into the mold of,
of any other story,
but to be truly creative,
you want to try and break the norm.
And I believe that that's where A I is gonna have a hard time because it's using data sets and it's,
you know,
it doesn't have that,
that soul and in a way it doesn't have that nostalgia,
it doesn't have the moments in history where,
you know,
that it appreciates that it was alive.
It doesn't have that right.
So I'm not worried about it making better stories than what we as humans can be.
Um That's,
that's what I think.
Yeah.
And for me,
you know,
hearing Kevin speak about the,
the journey in the future and I mean,
even 10 years ago,
what he was predicting and what he was talking about in one of the presentations,
I saw that he literally understood that um imagination and,
and to your point,
soul is something that is gonna be very difficult to replace.
Definitely.
Right.
And so we can,
we can come up with content,
we can come up with ideas,
but the imagination and the soul of that is still gonna be lacking.
And I don't know if that's ever gonna be in maybe in our lifetime.
Who knows with A I how it's gonna happen.
But it,
it still is storytelling is so impactful and still powerful and understanding how powerful it can be even in this crazy world of A I right now that it's still very relevant for us,
all of us.
So I guess keep on telling your stories.

 

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