Reality is a Story

This is an awesome TED video from Chimamanda Adichie. In this video, Chimamanda explores how the limited spectrum of stories that are told about Africa have had a negative impact on the the global community’s perspective about this continent. What I took away from this video is the importance that stories play in the process of creating reality at an individual and communal level.

On a personal level I realized how the stories govern how I feel about people, objects, and other entities. I also realize how the prevailing narrative regarding any one person or thing is extremely dynamic. Sometimes an emotionally charged story can overshadow a rich web of other stories that make up a relationship. An obvious example is when a person is so angry with a loved one that they are blinded to that person’s endearing attributes.

Thinking further about this topic a few days after watching this video I had another insight. The stories that are repeated most often in my mind become the leading strands in a pool of narratives that govern my relationships to the world around me – my wife, cat, family, school, friends, etc.

This leads to the following question:

  • What is the best way to leverage/control/transform my automatic meaning and story-making faculties to create a fulfilling life?
  • What practices can I put into action to enable me to better guide/control/transform the creation of these unspoken narratives in my mind? How can I insert new stories into the mix? How can reduce the rotation of existing stories? etc.
  • How can we design systems that help people guide/control/transform the unspoken narratives that they create about their own lives?

Of course we could get into a discussion here about meditation and other practices of quieting the mind. This is all very relevant stuff, as a matter of fact I have been incorporating these practices into my own life. That said, this is outside the realm of this current post though I plan to explore more fully in future years once I have more experience with such activities.

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