Wednesday, September 09, 2015

HT Ethan Richardson at MBird, Aeon piece on "The Dangerous Idea that Life is a Story"

But when the English dramatist Sir Henry Taylor observed in 1836 that ‘an imaginative man is apt to see, in his life, the story of his life; and is thereby led to conduct himself in such a manner as to make a good story of it rather than a good life’, he’s identifying a fault, a moral danger. This is a recipe for inauthenticity. And if the narrativists are right and such self-storying impulses are in fact universal, we should worry.

Of course Aeon being what it is there's a LOT more where that came from. There's a bit that could be unpacked from just the idea that a person can live in such a manner as to make his or her life a good story rather than a good life, living for the narrative drama rather than the ethics of relationship.

If nearly everybody is supposed to be living narratively as Narrativists might have it, then perhaps we can play with an idea here, Jesus' confrontations with the Pharisees and the teachers of the law could be read as a process in which Jesus revealed that a bunch of people who thought to themselves and told each other they were living one narrative were really living another one or several different ones that didn't match up to their collective self-image. Not everyone who was confronted by Jesus and told "the story of who you are is a sham" was open to hearing that

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