To what degree do the stories we tell shape our lives?…ting-the-self/…the-big-story/

The field is called narrative psychology and it is about how we as humans use stories to make sense of the bits and bobs of information that circulate about our lives. In the first link the last paragraph mentions how the stories that we tell ourselves can shape our lives and our own experiences. Those who told stories emphasizing a partners negatives are more inclined to remember them as bad, and vice versa. It concludes that stories shape our thoughts and memories, or change how we live life. To that degree I can understand.

The other two start from that point but might make a few leaps and bounds that sound a lot crazy. Referencing how nominalization is one way that we arrest our experience of dynamic events. Though I know the term is in linguistics and refers to taking a verb or adjective and applying a nominalizing suffix to it or leaving it alone to make it a noun. She seems try to extent this to psychology by saying the term also refers to making dynamic processes static, which is doubtful. It goes on to say that suffering is crystalized through labeling them as symptoms, that the narrative of health, psychology, etc takes dynamic emotions and renders them as static things happening to a passive recipient. Even saying that medicine pulls us from the “hidden knowledge” that activates self healing mechanisms (crazy). The last two seem to boarder on defying reality, which I have heavy questions about.

Personally I think there is something to it, especially since we see things like this with constructing otherness. BUt to me it seems more like affecting our perception of things, I don’t think stories or narratives can do more like overwrite physics or such which seems to be what she is getting at. There is a difference between feeling unlimited and being unlimited.

I just want to know since this has kind of bothered me lately.

Interesting question - though it immediately begs the counter question, to what degree do our lives shape the stores we tell.

Then again there’s the spirit in the person thing,

some simply look at life with an optimist hopeful bent the comes (or struggles) through no matter how bad circumstances become, while others can turn any little thing in another existential crisis.

I hope someone tackles it.

But what about what is listed in the links?

Possibly this would be a good question for tRUMP.

I was mostly looking for an evaluation as to the value of the links that I posted. One says that the stories we make up or the “self” is something that we make my rejecting infinite other potentials and possibilities. But I don’t think this is the case, something about that seems off.

At least a couple of the links could be construed as clickbait because they lead to items for sale about the topic rather than actual articles. I haven’t listened to any of the volumes they have listed for sale on that site, but the conversations sound interesting. Maybe just as interesting a conversation could be had here for free?

We are a story-telling species. When something astonishing happens to you, don’t you immediately start thinking how you’re going to tell your friends about it, what words you will use to describe the experience? And as soon as you do, the actual memory of the experience in your brain gets altered to conform to the story you just told. (This accounts for a lot of “paranormal” experiences.) The extent to which your “self” changes to accommodate this is debatable. The “science and nonduality” links look like mysticism. I personally wouldn’t put a lot of stock in what they say. By all means read it and ponder it, because expanding your horizons is always a good thing, but take it with a grain of salt.

Good post Advocatus, but at the same time the story you just told could be itself responsible for why some people offhandedly dismiss paranormal experiences. What’s left out by those who are a little too skeptically biased is that the situation is a double edged sword. While there’s no question that our memories can be distorted, the same processes serve as error correction. A person can just as easily see something that at first seems strange until their mind recognizes it as something mundane, and in my experience, it is also far more common to correctly recognize things as mundane in the first place. Rarely do we recognize things as mundane and then morph them over time into something strange unless we have a lot of help.

For example, all the experiments I’ve read about that show how false memories are created are very specific and seldom reflect real-life situations. One of the other things that tends to get overlooked is what other sorts of memory are we making a comparison to that are more reliable. Human memory has evolved over millions of years and has served the species very well. Some people have amazingly accurate memories.

Probably the most durable memories have literally been carved in stone. Some of them have lasted thousands of years, but ultimately every form of memory can fail. I work on PCs and have thrown away a lot of bad memory. So machines aren’t necessarily any more reliable. I’m 60 years old now and can still remember the address and location of the home I had when I was born, and can still find my way there no problem. I would imagine you have memories of your own that can confirm to you personally, the long term accuracy of your own memory.

Skeptics are all too often willing to point out human frailty when it suits their their bias as well as extol the magnificence of humans when it suits them. I propose that the reality is more often somewhere between, and that some paranormal experiences represent a true mystery.

I probably shouldn’t have made the gratuitous comment about the paranormal. I didn’t mean to imply that people unintentionally create false memories, or that ALL paranormal accounts are the result of false perceptions. But once you decide upon a narrative for an extraordinary event – for example that you saw a ghost – you tend to stick with the narrative even in the face of a skeptic suggesting a perfectly plausible alternative. We hear it all the time: “I know what I saw!” even in cases where we can literally document what the witness really did see.

It just so happens I’m 60 years old too, and yes I remember my first address, my employee number from my first job, and so on. I don’t question the accuracy of people’s memories for details. But visual memory is notoriously fallible. The texture (for want of a better word) of some memories can be subtly altered by the narrative that people chose for it.