Why is the Bible written in Parables?

[This came out of a discussion I was having with someone online... it's a little out of left-field, so please bear with me].

The reason the Bible is written in Parables is fundamental human psychology, and keys into our unique ability to craft a long-term history for our species.

It's basic human psychology; you want to teach someone something? Wrap it in a narrative - it sticks much more than dishing out the facts ever will. In fact, if you make it a story about someone else, it gets an automatic authority that a story about you never will.

Humans like story. It's the way we passed on information from generation to generation for... well... generations. It's the only thing we had that would stick before we had the written word. So it's not surprising that the Bible is metaphorical; it has to be, otherwise it would have been washed away by the passage of time.

It's also why we like entertainment. From a socio-evolutionary perspective, humans who enjoyed telling stories, and listening to them learned how the seasons changed. They learned how to work with one another. They learned how to avoid childbirth when it was too dangerous. They learned how to work together. Any humans that didn't enjoy storytelling died out quite quickly because they had no method for long-term data storage.

The Bible in the form it was written, and Hollywood Blockbuster movies ultimately exist because of the same psychological trait. Metaphor is one of the most defining human traits we have.

Unfortunately, marketers now know how that machine works, and are fine tuning it. They can seed ideas, and they can seed desires with amazing effectiveness and efficiency. And we're soaking in it all the time.

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#story, #psychology, #religion
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What's Wrong with the Web

  • IE6? PNG transparency doesn't work right.
  • CSS is a complete mess of a system, which doesn't specify how to handle a whole variety of different issues correctly. That'd be things like:
    • Scrollbars in overflow blocks
    • Centering of elements without resorting to margin tricks.
    • Z-Order handling (I mean, come on, a z-index? That's a little retarded).
  • Things which should be easy currently require at least a day of trial and error to get right (I mainly blame CSS for this)
  • Fonts can't be downloaded. Still. After 14 years. (Without browser-specific extensions).
  • CSS doesn't separate layout from the document any better than HTML did.

How do we fix it?

I want to see a new way of building web pages that completely ditches the old crap. Here's what I want to see:

A Tic-Tac-Toe style Layout Model

Every block should consume space from its parent using a tic-tac-toe grid type of arrangement. You should be able to specify which elements in that grid can stretch, and which ones are corner pieces which don't. And the center should fit the content.

Of course, we'd need ways to break out of this system and absolutely position elements - but this will handle the 99% case of the layouts people put together.

We'd also want a "flow-around" algorithm that lets you flow text around these elements, regardless of the layer they're on.

Element Grouping

Once you've built an element out of component pieces (like, for example, a nice button which stretches to fit the text on it, and has a drop shadow, etc), that element should be groupable. You can then modify the location of the entire group. In terms of rendering and mouse-handling, the group would render as a single unit.

You could also group groups together. Think of the way that most vector illustration programs work.

Element Templating

Once you've built an element out of pieces, you use a template to refer to it on your page. For example, if we have a Panel with a title, and a content block, and an associated sidebar, it'd look something like this: