One Story or Several

Sometimes things won’t gel into one story. Or even a tidy complementary pack of them. Conflicting information is good and not only because it can hamstrings heady ego. (Although that is nice.) I get suspicious of a coherent story of self. It’s fine if I get to follow someone long term and watch the story mutate. One should have many selves. If each is refined to caricature, it is more amusing perhaps. It takes patience to sort it all, but I’ve got time.

Quote: “All of these stories make me who I am. But to insist on only these negative stories is to flatten my experience, and to overlook the many other stories that formed me. The single story creates stereotypes. And the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story, become the only story.” – Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story (of video above). Here’s the whole transcript of one of the more articulate reasonings I’ve heard recently.

[btw, another recentlye posted TED talk is by Golan Levin including footage he made with Jaap Blonk of computer making real-time subtitles of the Ursonate.]

If one only has one story, one tends to take it overly earnestly, and as infallible. When one has a universe of knowledge one can have perspective and a dynamic concept of how the world works. It’s a less sure place, a more unstable and disappointing place with perhaps less riotous pleasures on the smaller emotional range tempered by more choppy change. With one story scenario one can uniformly be jubilant and in constant holy airless grief but then when change can no longer be denied, the upheaval trauma is far greater. There’s betrayal and disorientation. Greater fling and cling. More excitement and more resting. One doesn’t have to think critically continually. You can outsource it to taking on faith of what someone else says.

In a way it’s information as procreation. I tend towards many eggs frequently rather than longer term few mammalian births. Both reproductive strategies work. Both are dealing with constraint of finite lifetime. In having many parallel stories, some will die out or never become fully developed. In having one story, it becomes central, vivid but risky.

Having multiple ways of looking at things is handy. Like,

“Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?”
“Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.


News Link: December is National Awareness Month

According to AFPAT, planned events for National Awareness Month include a 10K charity walk, during which participants will be forced to actually interact and engage with the outside world for a change, as well as several advertising campaigns, which will help get the word out about things other than what currently happens to be playing on television.

Awareness-month organizers will also hand out large reflective ribbons, in hopes that, by wearing a 9-inch yellow reminder on their chests, citizens across the country might actually remember that something is going on.

“Obliviousness doesn’t discriminate,” said volunteer Robert Fargo.

And on a similar tone of note, want to pitch a comment on which poem should be banned next from the syllabus to avoid social catastrophe? One response wins a subscription to Magma.

Lit Link: Poetry worth reading/hearing

Quote: “There’s a saying – ‘we are all very sick people – it’s just lucky that we’re sick on different days’. It felt somehow glorious that we were all bumbling along, NO idea most of the time what we are doing. There’s a Buddhist term – bombu nature – we are all bombu, we are all foolish beings.” — Fiona Robyn

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