Recent research involving the Kalahari Bushmen strongly suggest that night is the time for storytelling, be those stories about one's own past, the ancestors, mythical heroes, or religious stories.While during the day about a third of the time involves talk the purpose of which is to act as social regulations, and about a third of the time is on economic issues, with the other third spread out among a variety of other topics, at night about 80% of all talk is stories. It is suggested that this pattern is not unique to the Bushmen, but is typical of all humans living in tribal bands -- which is how all humans lived the vast majority of our existence.
At night, around the fires, people tell stories. And when they are not telling stories, they are dancing and playing music and engaging in religious rituals.
If we look at what plays on network T.V. throughout the day, we see similar patterns. During the day we see judge shows (social regulation), news (gossip/social regulation), and talk shows that involve a combination of gossip (social regulation) and practical household advice (economics). And what do we see at night? Mostly stories and dance and music shows. The late night talk shows involve famous people telling stories followed by a musical guest more often than not. We see the same pattern on the 24 hour news channels. If you want to watch traditional news, you have to watch during the day, because in the evenings, you are mostly going to get various kinds of storytelling.
It is also notable that we go watch movies, plays, operas, and other artistic performances in the evening. Daytime shows are always cheaper than evening shows -- and anyone who knows anything about supply and demand knows that there is a good reason a certain time will be cheaper than another. Nobody wants to go during the day, even with the cheaper prices. Even on the weekends. No, people much prefer evening performances, and are obviously willing to pay for them.
Also consider the fact that we read our children bedtime stories. And that most of our fiction reading takes place in the late evening. I am sure many will rationalize that evenings, after the house gets quiet, is the only time there is to read; however, when people go elsewhere (the cafe, etc.) to get some reading done during the day, what they read tends to be informative nonfiction. I would be willing to bet that readers of biographies also do such reading in the evening more often than not.
No matter the format, it seems people mostly prefer to hear/see their stories in the evening. But another thing to consider along these lines involves the habits of writers.I have typically done most of my fiction writing -- whether plays, poems, short stories, or novel attempts -- at night. And I often preferred low light. And it seems I'm not the only one. Probably most writers did their writing at night. That is, not only do we prefer to hear our stories in the evening, the storytellers themselves prefer to tell their stories in the evening. Even when the two are disconnected, as is often the case now, the preference is for evening hearings/viewings and tellings.
Evenings are also times when we get together with our friends and/or families and tell stories. We reminisce and tell stories about each other. An evening out drinking with friends will result in a round of storytelling. Perhaps not coincidentally, many an artist has created their works in the evenings while drinking. Mind-altering substances have been and continue to be a part of evening activities. They have historically been connected to religious activities, but more recently have been relegated to "recreation." Recreational drugs and recreational storytelling. But historically neither has been truly recreational. And it's in many ways a loss to our culture that they have been relegated to such marginal, frivolous status. It makes people less responsible -- with the drugs and alcohol, with storytelling and artistic production.
Indeed, our evenings have become converted into frivolity, into unseriousness. But these are the times when strong social bonds are made. The day is for social regulation and economic activities, for the creation of weak social bonds. It is an important part of our lives, but it's not the only part. When the day comes to dominate even the night, our families and friendships are weakened. And given the role of fiction in creating empathy and, thus, expanding our moral spheres, a weaker evening, an evening with less fiction reading, negatively affects our day social orders as well. When the day comes to dominate the night, the extended order comes to crush the intimate orders. Of course, we don't want the night to dominate the day, either, as when the intimate orders come to dominate the extended order, the extended order will be destroyed. More, different spontaneous orders dominate at different times -- day or night -- meaning it is important that we learn how to take good care of this delicate ecosystem.