Stories and how they 'are' your life

Not only are stories what you live your life they are also the medium by which you engage with the environment around you. Probably - I am of course implying that my outlook on life ("my story") is the way that you should see your life.

Dave Snowden has two unrelated story (narrative)-type postings over at Cognitive Edge that caught my eye, Fractal narratives & identity and Antiquitas saeculi juventus mundi - cracking titles aren't they?

Stick with me/him though.

The first article is best summed up by Mr D Snowden:
Those stories provide the basic patterns through which we filter and perceive the world. You cannot argue logically on the basis of personal self interest in the face of such power. Instead you have to understand, nurture and evolve those stories over time.
As an example he uses what is, I suspect, a scenario we can all empathise with:
Think of family gatherings, Christmas after all is not too far behind us. In the modern age families no longer live cheek by jowl, but are separate for long periods, coming back together for weddings, funerals, special birthdays etc. One of the first things that happens at such an event is the telling of what I call identity stories. In my family those are a mixture of childhood experiential stories or stories relating to likes and dislikes. In effect the family is recreating the identity of an age when it was better connected. For the spouses this is tedious, they have heard the stories many time, they do not see them as significant, but can see them as a form of exclusion which to a degree they are. Until that is, a new generation cycles through and the older stories compost over time to provide a living substrate for the identity of the next generation.
Having recently returned from a world trip I can also see that this is an exercise that my friends and I went/are going through - we reminisce, we regenerate and we reinforce old patterns through our storytelling. It is also something "excluding" for those people that have joined the 'gang' after my leaving and are now having to hear these stories that don't affect them.

I have also found that it can be dangerous path to tread as people are not merely stuck in a story and it's constantly being regenerated. With a gap away and not being a part of the regeneration the assumptions that the old stories are still relevant should be challenged. Regeneration of stories.

The second article argues against "specialisation" for people and it is, I hope, how I am living my life, as someone with fingers in many pies. However in this world of "you do X" this can be quite a challenge. How often are you asked, "So, what do you do?" and the expected answer is one-thing for one-company.
Bacon is arguing that knowledge, for its its own sake represents an opportunity for power, not to control but to make sense of and interpret the world. With the problems we now face across our multiple societies we need generalists but have ceased to educate them. We lack a capability to integrate and synthesis our own, and the knowledge of the ancients with a dynamic and rapidly changing (politically and physically) world.


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