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The Stories We Tell Ourselves - Elf M. Sternberg
The Stories We Tell Ourselves
Recently, I had an interesting conversation with Omaha. In a recent blog post I wrote "I ... believe that consciousness is the story we tell ourselves about ourselves, a way of maintaining a continuity of self in a world of endless stimuli and the epiphenomenal means by which we turn our actions into grist for the decisions we make in the future..."

Omaha challenged me on that. "You're not a normal person. You know that as well as I do! You have ADHD and that not-Aspy thing I can never remember the name of. Normal people don't tell stories about themselves, to themselves, like that. They don't have to."

Really? I'm genuinely surprised. We all have stories, about who we are, where we came from. "Normal" people don't review that story from time to time to ensure that what they hope they'll accomplish in their coming day, their coming week, their coming year, is consistent with the story they've told so far? I find that disappointing.

Lots of things are stories. Software is a story; a well-written program tells you a story about what it does, how it does it, and how the developer thought about it. I write stories. My life is a kind of story.

Seneca once said, "If you don't know to what port you're sailing, no wind is favorable." There's a story in your past about how you got into the boat. There's a story in your head about what you'll do when you'll land. Even a voyage of discovery has a destination in mind, if only in hope.

People re-watch movies. The re-play video games. They re-read books. They go for the story, again and again. That "normal" people get through life without reviewing and retelling their own story, too see where they've been and plan where they're going, just seems impossible.

Persistent Interictal Syndrome

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: Cage The Elephant, Ain't No Rest for the Wicked

4 comments or Leave a comment
sirfox From: sirfox Date: February 17th, 2017 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Because i've over-read it compulsively, Terry Pratchett's Discworld is my first go-to in many cases.

The Witches are able to sense Narrative Causality in action. Good ones can even grab hold of the story and steer it to a better outcome than the one it's marching towards.

Everything for us is a story, but most people let their story be told to and for them, they don't have a sense of "change this HERE and that outcome of my story years later will be measurably better"

These people suffer, stagnate, and don't accomplish much that isn't handed to them.

Be a Witch. Steer your own goddamned story.
elfs From: elfs Date: February 17th, 2017 10:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really should get into the Discworld series. So many people have loved it, but I bounced off the couple of books I read of it.

I've noticed that people who don't have their own stories, when they do tell stories it's primarily to belittle or humiliate someone with whom there's a power dynamic.
gipsieee From: gipsieee Date: February 19th, 2017 03:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I continue to appreciate the words you share with the world. Thank you.
elfs From: elfs Date: March 12th, 2017 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
4 comments or Leave a comment