What's your Narrative?

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by pointwithinacircle2, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    Recently I have been thinking about the importance of stories in our lives. It seems to me that each of us have stored in our minds two types of things. We have our remembered experiences and we have the stories that we tell ourselves about those experiences. For the purposes of explaining myself I have chosen the word narrative (there may be a better word, I just haven't thought of it) as a designation for the stories that we tell ourselves about our experiences.

    I seems to me that the stories that we tell ourselves become our version of reality, they are what we believe is true. So how true are those stories? I can think of many times when my beliefs changed in the space of a few moments or a few hours. The day I got married, my Masonic initiation, and a certain religious experience are all examples of times when my beliefs about"reality" were changed in a very short period of time. These events changed my narrative about the nature of my "self".

    The events that I mentioned above have a large external component. However, some narrative altering events happen largely internally. One example might be forgiving an old grudge in a way that actually heals that relationship; actually replacing the anger and hatred with forgiveness and love. OK, I admit that one is easier said than done. But I think it starts with admitting that our narrative is not reality. Once we know that we can begin to create a new reality that is more rewarding.

    What I would like to ask is: How much do you control your narrative and how much does it control you?
     
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  2. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    I think we 100% control our own narrative because it's we that form and tell the story. Some of that control might be conscious, some unconscious. The narrative is what we want it to be.

    Me, I've got a diverse background, but part is marketing and community. I'm very conscious of narrative because it forms the story we use to influence people. I was using it the other night talking about our lodge building to a fc. Stories are tools to deliver information and values. We use them in our masonic ceremonies, most religious and political leaders use them, the latter often as a story of what the future can be... stories are so important. Part of being a leader or success is taking control your story. The trick is make it truthful, realistic and not BS....
     
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  3. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    In my case I was shocked on a daily basis when I discovered what stupid beliefs I had inherited from parents/religion/school/suburb. It took 9 months to finish the first round of discards.

    Then a few years later there was another round of discards.

    I could say: the parts of the Bible that I used to believe to be literal accounts now seem to me to be a allegorical and the parts I thought were allegorical now look literal.

    Am I at the end of my process? It does not look like it.

    So what narrative should I have next year? Will it be my own personal take on reality? Or am I actually experiencing a deeper layer of the onion of Existence?
     
  4. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Excellent point Bloke!
     
  5. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Our stories should evolve just as our lives do evolve.

    Some of my stories would be from resolved parts of my past like growing up before leaving for college, or spending my 20s studying a major world religion per year until I decided I could allow myself to convert to a religion. Some would be parts of my life still evolving.
     
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  6. Norski_406

    Norski_406 Registered User

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    @pointwithinacircle2 This is a great question. I agree with @Bloke that we 100% control our own narrative. I sincerely enjoy your point that in order to heal bruised relationships, we often need to cast aside our self-formed narratives, and understand that others involved have their own narratives.

    I think our own narratives control us more than anyone would like to admit. However, I believe being aware of the fact that everyone has self narratives is one of the first steps to becoming a better person. Simply being aware that everyone you interact with experiences thoughts, emotions, and feelings similar but not exactly like your own goes a long way in being a more compassionate, understanding, and forgiving person. Maybe that is a silly, perhaps obvious, revelation to some - but this realization has been a huge step for me towards becoming the person I want to be.

    Admittedly, I am only 20 years old and only an Entered Apprentice. But despite the naivete associated with youth, I think this is an important revelation. One that has the potential to change the trajectory of an individual's life. And one that, as I said before, serves to make an individual a better person.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using My Freemasonry mobile app
     
  7. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Is there a contradiction?

    It is rather difficult to comprehend situations for which we do not have suitable concepts. For example, young children observing an argument between their parents may not even understand the topic let alone the motivations.

    Thus our narratives are largely limited to an arrangement of our existing concepts and beliefs. Orthodox histories are full of examples.

    There is however a deeper problem. Few humans claim to control their thoughts. Can they then claim to control "their" narratives?

    Politics seems to be based on controlling the narratives of the voters.
     
  8. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Contradiction? Often when I start thinking on things that's all I see !

    And it's funny, when I've been in the news media it's been to build a narrative, but I think people being chased up the road with a rolling camera by 60 mins might have a sense of loosing control of their own narrative. I think if it ever happens to me I will try to take control and not run... but that might be completely dillusional and I'll be sprinting lol...

    But I remind myself, Pointwithinacircle was thinking on "for the stories that we tell ourselves about our experiences"
     
  9. BullDozer Harrell

    BullDozer Harrell Registered User

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    In the news, we've recently heard from the White House press about a phenom called, "alternative facts".

    There's a certain objective experience that's truth and then there's an flipside that's mostly in our minds.

    Many times in my life, I've had to choose. Which do I prefer?

    A fact of my life is that i grew up without my dad. Recently i was talking to my 28 yrs old son about it. I told him that it doesn't bother me anymore. Every issue is worked out internally. So much that if i saw him today, i would give him the biggest hug i could. Of course, this is too much for my son to understand. He had the blankest look.

    My point is that the narrative I've learned to tell myself about this event runs counter to what society and even my own son thinks should govern me.

    Society says that we all must come from a 2 parent home to be happy.

    Most of the time though our peace boils down to what we tell ourselves.








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    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
  10. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Very true. Couldn't agree more.
     
  11. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Let me be very clear on this:

    We are controlled by our narratives. We are also the ones who write and direct the narratives we are eventually controlled by.

    What is not being stated succinctly and directly is that there is conscious and unconscious narrative control going on 24/7. The conscious control is what you know about your narratives and what you have both written and rewritten in your life to get more from it by writing and rewriting them.

    {cue Obewan Kanobe voice} Unfortunately, these are not the scripts you are looking for.{/cue}

    It's those unconscious beasts <cough> narratives that are the bastards that'll bite you, cut you and kill you if you don't discover them before they direct you down a gauntlet of activities to which there is no return. We all have them too. They were written for us by our physical construction, our families, our friends, our cultures,, our societies, our governments and our world. And you internalized them without question, believing they ARE your narrative and you live by them not knowing that you took them on as you did.

    Part of maturing is 1) discovering/uncovering, 2) examining and 3) modifying/adapting/adjusting/scraping these provided scripts as required by what you want and need, rather than what those scripts tell you that you want and need.

    Yes, I call them scripts, not narratives. A narrative is a story. A script is how you participate in that story. I see a major difference in this. Every story that surrounds you may or may not change because of the specific conditions that surround you. That being said, in my narrative on narratives, I get to write/rewrite how I participate in these stories. This requires me to write/rewrite the script as I see fit. It also changes my story!

    Of course, if you have been following my "story", you might have already realized my narratives have gone from externally imposed third person view to internally driven first person expression.

    At least, that's the narrative that I have written so far! :p
     
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  12. Benjamin Baxter

    Benjamin Baxter Moderator Staff Member

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    This topic make me think someone's been watching Westworld......lol

    Just kidding good discussion....


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  13. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    We are humans. There are always contradictions.

    Those that we teach to d that we call Brother. Whether they actually do it or not is beyond each of us.

    I say that parlor magic is the field of science that finds and exploits flaws both in human perception and in human cognition. The most obvious use is for entertainment. My favorite example is the famous dress that looked white and gold to some, blue and black to others. But I include human cognition as well. Human cognition is flawed in ways each of us never find and in ways none of us ever find. I suggest that sophistry and politics exploit flaws in cognition. Sophistry exploits flaws in human reason. Politics exploits flaws in human emotion.
     
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  14. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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    Script is probably a good word to use.... "how we will frame this story" is a phrase I've often heard, and yep, a script is what is used.....
     
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  15. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Very good!
     
  16. Bro MBGellner RAM; 32nd

    Bro MBGellner RAM; 32nd Registered User

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    Substance, attributes, and modesEdit
    Main article: Philosophy of Baruch Spinoza
    These are the fundamental concepts with which Spinoza sets forth a vision of Being, illuminated by his awareness of God. They may seem strange at first sight. To the question "What is?" he replies: "Substance, its attributes, and modes".

    — Karl Jaspers[83]
    Spinoza argued that God exists and is abstract and impersonal.[5] Spinoza's view of God is what Charles Hartshornedescribes as Classical Pantheism.[84]Spinoza has also been described as an "Epicurean materialist,"[77] specifically in reference to his opposition to Cartesian mind-body dualism. This view was held by Epicureans before him, as they believed that atoms with their probabilistic paths were the only substance that existed fundamentally.[85][86] Spinoza, however, deviated significantly from Epicureans by adhering to strict determinism, much like the Stoics before him, in contrast to the Epicurean belief in the probabilistic path of atoms, which is more in line with contemporary thought on quantum mechanics.[87][88] Spinoza's system imparted order and unity to the tradition of radical thought, offering powerful weapons for prevailing against "received authority." He contended that everything that exists in Nature (i.e., everything in the Universe) is one Reality (substance) and there is only one set of rules governing the whole of the reality which surrounds us and of which we are part. Spinoza viewed God and Nature as two names for the same reality,[77] namely a single, fundamental substance (meaning "that which stands beneath" rather than "matter") that is the basis of the universe and of which all lesser "entities" are actually modes or modifications, that all things are determined by Nature to exist and cause effects, and that the complex chain of cause and effect is understood only in part. His identification of God with nature was more fully explained in his posthumously published Ethics.[5]Spinoza's main contention with Cartesian mind–body dualism was that, if mind and body were truly distinct, then it is not clear how they can coordinate in any manner. Humans presume themselves to have free will, he argues, which is a result of their awareness of appetites that affect their minds, while being unable to understand the reasons why they want and act as they do.

    Spinoza contends that "Deus sive Natura" is a being of infinitely many attributes, of which thought and extension are two. His account of the nature of reality, then, seems to treat the physical and mental worlds as intertwined, causally related, and deriving from the same substance. It is important to note here that, in Parts 3 through 4 of the Ethics, Spinoza describes how the human mind is affected by both mental and physical factors. He directly contests dualism. The universal substance emanates both body and mind; while they are different attributes, there is no fundamental difference between these aspects. This formulation is a historically significant solution to the mind–body problemknown as neutral monism. Spinoza's system also envisages a God that does not rule over the universe by Providence in which God can make changes, but a God which itself is the deterministic system of which everything in nature is a part. Spinoza argues that "things could not have been produced by God in any other way or in any other order than is the case,";[89] he directly challenges a transcendental God which actively responds to events in the universe. Everything that has and will happen is a part of a long chain of cause and effect which, at a metaphysical level, humans are unable to change. No amount of prayer or ritual will sway God. Only knowledge of God, or the existence which humans inhabit, allows them to best respond to the world around them. Not only is it impossible for two infinite substances to exist (two infinities being absurd),[90]God—being the ultimate substance—cannot be affected by anything else, or else it would be affected by something else, and not be the fundamental substance.

    Spinoza was a thoroughgoing determinist who held that absolutely everything that happens occurs through the operation of necessity. For him, even human behaviour is fully determined, with freedom being our capacity to know we are determined and to understand why we act as we do. By forming more "adequate" ideas about what we do and our emotions or affections, we become the adequate cause of our effects (internal or external), which entails an increase in activity (versus passivity). This means that we become both more free and more like God, as Spinoza argues in the Scholium to Prop. 49, Part II. However, Spinoza also held that everything must necessarily happen the way that it does. Therefore, humans have no free will. They believe, however, that their will is free. This illusionary perception of freedom stems from our human consciousness, experience, and indifference to prior natural causes. Humans think they are free but they ″dream with their eyes open″. For Spinoza, our actions are guided entirely by natural impulses. In his letter to G. H. Schuller (Letter 58), he wrote: "men are conscious of their desire and unaware of the causes by which [their desires] are determined."[91]

    This picture of Spinoza's determinism is ever more illuminated through reading this famous quote in Ethics: ″the infant believes that it is by free will that it seeks the breast; the angry boy believes that by free will he wishes vengeance; the timid man thinks it is with free will he seeks flight; the drunkard believes that by a free command of his mind he speaks the things which when sober he wishes he had left unsaid. … All believe that they speak by a free command of the mind, whilst, in truth, they have no power to restrain the impulse which they have to speak.″[92] Thus for Spinoza morality and ethical judgement like choice is predicated on an illusion. For Spinoza, ″Blame″ and ″Praise″ are non existent human ideals only fathomable in the mind because we are so acclimatized to human consciousness interlinking with our experience that we have a false ideal of choice predicated upon this.

    Spinoza's philosophy has much in common with Stoicism inasmuch as both philosophies sought to fulfil a therapeutic role by instructing people how to attain happiness. However, Spinoza differed sharply from the Stoics in one important respect: he utterly rejected their contention that reasoncould defeat emotion. On the contrary, he contended, an emotion can only be displaced or overcome by a stronger emotion. For him, the crucial distinction was between active and passive emotions, the former being those that are rationally understood and the latter those that are not. He also held that knowledge of true causes of passive emotion can transform it to an active emotion, thus anticipating one of the key ideas of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis.[93]

    Ethical philosophyEdit
    Spinoza shared ethical beliefs with ancient Epicureans, in renouncing ethics beyond the material world, although Epicureans focused more on physical pleasure and Spinoza more on emotional wellbeing.[94] Encapsulated at the start in his Treatise on the Improvement of the Understanding(Tractatus de intellectus emendatione) is the core of Spinoza's ethical philosophy, what he held to be the true and final good. Spinoza held good and evil to be relative concepts, claiming that nothing is intrinsically good or bad except relative to a particularity. Things that had classically been seen as good or evil, Spinoza argued, were simply good or bad for humans. Spinoza believes in a deterministic universe in which "All things in nature proceed from certain [definite] necessity and with the utmost perfection." Nothing happens by chance in Spinoza's world, and nothing is contingent.

    Spinoza's EthicsEdit
    Main article: Ethics (Spinoza)
    In the universe anything that happens comes from the essential nature of objects, or of God or Nature. According to Spinoza, reality is perfection. If circumstances are seen as unfortunate it is only because of our inadequate conception of reality. While components of the chain of cause and effect are not beyond the understanding of human reason, human grasp of the infinitely complex whole is limited because of the limits of science to empirically take account of the whole sequence. Spinoza also asserted that sense perception, though practical and useful, is inadequate for discovering truth. His concept of "conatus" states that human beings' natural inclination is to strive toward preserving an essential being, and asserts that virtue/human power is defined by success in this preservation of being by the guidance of reason as one's central ethical doctrine. According to Spinoza, the highest virtue is the intellectual love or knowledge of God/Nature/Universe.

    Also in the "Ethics",[95] Spinoza discusses his beliefs about what he considers to be the three kinds of knowledge that come with perceptions. The first kind of knowledge he writes about is the knowledge of experiences. More precisely, this first type of knowledge can be known as the knowledge of things that could be “mutilated, confused, and without order.” Spinoza, Benedict (1677). "Books 1–5". The Ethics. Another explanation of what the first knowledge can be is that it is the knowledge of dangerous reasoning. Dangerous reason lacks any type of rationality, and causes the mind to be in a “passive” state. This type of “passive mind” that Spinoza writes about in the earlier books of The Ethics is a state of the mind in which adequate causes become passions. Spinoza’s second knowledge involves reasoning plus emotions. He explains that this knowledge is had by the rationality of any adequate causes that have to do with anything common to the human mind. An example of this could be anything that is classified as being of imperfect virtue. Imperfect virtues are seen as those which are incomplete. Many philosophers, such as Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle, would compare imperfect virtue to pagan virtue. Spinoza defines the third and final knowledge as the knowledge of God, which requires rationality and reason of the mind. In more detail, Spinoza uses this type of knowledge to join together the essence of God with the individual essence. This knowledge is also formed from any adequate causes that include perfect virtue. Spinoza, Benedict (1677). "Books 1–5". The Ethics.

    In the final part of the "Ethics", his concern with the meaning of "true blessedness", and his explanation of how emotions must be detached from external causes in order to master them, foreshadow psychological techniques developed in the 1900s. His concept of three types of knowledge—opinion, reason, intuition—and his assertion that intuitive knowledge provides the greatest satisfaction of mind, lead to his proposition that the more we are conscious of ourselves and Nature/Universe, the more perfect and blessed we are (in reality) and that only intuitive knowledge is eternal.

    Given Spinoza's insistence on a completely ordered world where "necessity" reigns, Good and Evil have no absolute meaning. The world as it exists looks imperfect only because of our limited perception.

    Thoughts???

    The Bible teaches God can harden anyone, lift up anyone, make a stumbling block out of anyone.

    Does the clay have a real say or is it just chosen and molded.

    Is our narrative real or determined?

    You will say you have free will but you are Gods. Doesn't the servant only follow commands? And if you can be hardened what free will do you have? And we only see what is chosen for us. We did not choose our birth or location. We do not have gifts of reading minds or have the power to change time.

    We generally receive what we ask, find what we seek and doors open if we have the courage to knock. To all of which is only our daily bread.
     
  17. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    I think the term script is appropriate. I read a lot so I am exposed to many alternative scripts. Currently I am reading "The Time Paradox" by Phillip Zimbardo. It is a worthwhile read for anyone who is prepared to look at where their scripts come from.
     
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  18. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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  19. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

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  20. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Happiness is a choice.
     

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