Well, Joel, there is science about your major point of why the metaverse won't work. I gave a paper on the science in 1993 at a major LA television conference of the time.
Yes, new information gives you a dopamine rush, but there is a divisor which is the amount of information you have to process (in your mind) to get that information. Our brains are just being efficient. Modern media has very low information value. That is why people will not work much to get to it.
The example back then was why people overwhelmingly prefer to press the up-down channel button instead of typing the channel number. The second requires you to remember something -- obtain other information as work to get the new information.
If the metaverse is a place you can make a living (i.e., buy real food, stay alive, meet real people), I predict people will do the additional work to get at it. Yes on stories. Survival reasoning is all about causality (my dissertation in 1976 was memory for this in unfamiliar (Eskimo) folk tales -- which is super excellent memory about the stories, dangers of things, and morals of stories).
I'll try to find the original 1993 paper for the actual science and put it on medium.
Lies work the same way in terms of memory and interest people have in hearing someone lie ... because they might not be lying. Dictators (like Zuck) rise by mastering truths that are lies.
The end of my book on "How to Get Your Privacy Back" has a chapter on such Lies and the original television paper I gave. You can get it on Amazon.