Friday, September 16, 2016

Narrative Society

"Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?"
--Morpheus (The Matrix)

Increasingly, we live in a narrative society. People act not according to what is known to be true. Rather, they act according to a narrative script--a script that has usually been shaped by others. Narratives are stories. In a narrative society, these stories are shared between people. They can be fact or fiction.

People do not seem to care if they ground their actions in factual or fictional narratives. This leaves a significant fraction of the population living in fantasy land as they cling to fictional narratives. Fictional narratives lend to cognitive dissonance--excursions in thought and behavior from what the mind knows to be true.

Any attempt by external actors to pop the narrative bubble steering people's minds is met with resistance and often finds those ruled by narratives scurrying from 'trigger warnings' and running for the cover of 'safe spaces.,'

Coping with reality and seeking truth is not the primary goal of a narrative society. Institutionalizing the narrative is.

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