Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Telling Stories to Others (Let's Not Overlook The Ones We Tell Ourselves).

Here's a shining example of what we think about stories:

We typically see a story as something 'made up', an abstraction from the truth either completely fictitious or embellished with imagination which then removes it from the reality of the events on which it's based.

We also commonly think of stories as something we tell other people. Arguably the most important and potent stories are those we tell ourselves. Each of us has created stories about who we are. Quite literally, we had no choice: it was needed as a way of giving order to the psyche and structure to our identity. Overtime, these stories have been crafted into a coherent narrative about ourselves and our place in the world.

The intriguing part in it all is that many people are not aware that this process goes on, existing as it does usually in the subconscious. (Stephen Johnson's excellent book Mind Wide Open illuminates many ways these silent operators influence our actions.)

But if you have ever talked to a woman who colors her hair, especially one that has become and stayed a 'bottle blond', she will tell you quite calmly that this is who she is. That it fits how she sees herself and not just in the mirror; it is how she feels on the inside.

Such women do not have amnesia. They are well aware of the duplicity at their own hand and they are reminded of it at no time greater than with a showing of roots - evidence of an act of past intervention and a pressing reminder for the need to repeat it. But it does not matter and it does not violate the integrity of the idea.

Stories to ourselves are a secret pact. We know we're fibbing and there's nothing wrong with that because - after all - it is the truth in the midst of the fabrication. Psychopaths aside, we can rarely lie to ourselves and get away with it . Deep down we remember, even when we forget.

1 comment:

Grant27 said...

Guy, very nicely done indeed, thank you. Best, Grant