This short essay presents the hypothesis that, around the world, the most widespread and culturally important narratives typically tell of a loving couple who are separated, and/or a hero or heroine separated from his or her family and community. The protagonists face and overcome great obstacles, enabling them to finally be reunited; or, in tragedy, they die, but in a way that asserts that their love transcends all else. This narrative theme evokes kama muta, which is probably precisely why such stories are loved, remembered, and retold around the world.
Fiske, A. P., Schubert, T. W., & Seibt, B. (2017). The best loved story of all time: Overcoming all obstacles to be reunited, evoking kama muta. Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, 1 (1), 67 – 70. [manuscript pdf]