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Narratives and Identity

I hate when sports fans say, “We won!”  You literally sat on your butt and drank beer.  Fans also get pissed when their team loses.  “Because Steph missed a corner three, I’m pissed off.”  Identity and narratives are common in sports, and they’re also present in every facet of human existence.

People create stories to explain what they don’t comprehend.  And I hate it.  Don’t you want to see the truth?  Why color it by identifying with one side or the other?  Why impart meaning to something you don’t understand?

But narratives and identities are intrinsic to human nature.  People create narratives to escape from uncertainty.  Identities also give comfort, a sense of belonging and community.  Narratives and identity are a response to otherwise living in a chaotic, meaningless world.

Narratives and identities reinforce each other.  Having a narrative creates an identity.  “I ate five slices of pizza and didn’t go to the gym, I have no will-power.”  Likewise, identities create narratives.  “I’m lazy, so I didn’t go workout.”

The problem is all narratives are colored by your experience and context.  You’re seeing the world through your own interpretation.  You’re judging based on your identity and the narratives.  This may sound harmless, but it’s hard to solve problems if your understanding is clouded by narrative.

For a long time, I thought rationality was the key to getting closer to reality.  You would see Truth and not be blinded by narratives and identities.  But I slowly realized this doesn’t work.  There are unknown unknowns.  Context matters.  There’s nebulousness.  Most importantly, rationality is also an identity and you’re creating a narrative around that.

Now I think the solution is to live in the moment.  See things curiously and earnestly.  There’s no need to ascribe motivations.  Don’t judge.  Just do.  Or don’t.