We live in the time of narratives.
Some people are quite adept at these. Some people are so good at narratives that they actually begin to believe the reality of the narrative.
What exactly is a narrative?
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, here are the first two definitions:
1) something that is narrated : STORY, ACCOUNT
He is writing a detailed narrative of his life on the island.
2) a way of presenting or understanding a situation or series of events that reflects and promotes a particular point of view or set of values
The rise of the Tea Party and the weakness of the Obama economy have fueled a Republican narrative about Big Government as a threat to liberty …
— Michael Grunwald
The media narrative around Kelly’s appointment had two central ideas … : He would calm and professionalize the White House, and he would provide a more measured leadership style than his boss.
— Perry Bacon Jr.
Growing up, back in what seems to have been the middle ages, I always thought of the first definition, that of a narration of some story or account.
Now, I am firmly entrenched in thinking of the second definition, the one where something is told with the idea of forwarding certain values, ideas, and thoughts. The trouble is that this definition seems to continue to gather speed as it evolves and has gone from just espousing to even altering the facts.
Everyone seems to be doing it from the top down. The White House occupant has championed the narrative to the point of making it into a total falsehood and also to the point that every ‘Tom, Dick, and Harry’ (damn, I am old and I am even thinking that might well be politically incorrect) is doing it. The scary part of all of this is that the people creating and using these narratives actually get to the point of believing them. This is why, for example, we cannot have a proper discussion with many a Republican. The narrative espoused is such that it totally clouds their brains and they cannot deal whatsoever with anything that varies from the party line that they espouse.
How does this play out in our present society?
Well, take malbor, for instance. He is allowed to get away with bullying his neighbors because he has self-created a narrative that makes him totally right in what he believes to the point that he can walk all over anyone and everything. If he thinks that the neighbor’s dog is making too much noise, even if it is only one bark, then he calls the police. If he has standing water, it is okay to drain it under the fence into the neighbor’s yard. If he feels paranoid, he puts up cameras and focuses partially on the neighbors. The neighbors have no recourse because there are no laws governing that. If the neighbors put them up, he will retaliate by putting up more and being more difficult, always flying ‘under the radar’ of harassment.
This is one crazy world we live in.
Get out and vote.