Stories form the foundation of all human connection. They create the sensation of one shared life experience.
It's strange, but true, that we can even find ourselves rooting for thieves and criminals so long as we see their story unfold. Movies like Ocean's Eleven and The Italian Job illustrate this well.
In the movie, Ocean's Eleven, actors George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon make for a cast of likeable thieves. But beyond their good looks, we get pulled into the story.
We discover what's driving Danny Ocean's motivation to rob a casino. A casino that just happens to be owned by his ex-wife's new lover.
We can empathize with Danny Ocean's pain. And by the end of the movie we are actually rooting for him to get away with it.
To steal the money and disappear into the sunset with his ex-wife, Tess, by his side.
Perhaps stranger still is the way we respond to fiction in the first place.
A skilled novelist can have me on the edge of my seat, rooting for a person who doesn't even exist in real life.
Literary critics may scoff, but I actually liked the twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. I think my hand was actually trembling from adrenaline as the Volturi began to march across the field, intent on destroying Isabella's daughter.
But wait, that's all make-believe. So how could it cause a physical reaction in my body?
The answer, of course, is the power of story.