Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I can't remember every word I might have said.

Today in the NYT, there's an article about the stories we tell ourselves. Or more specifically, it's an article about how the human brain is hardwired to form narratives of life (hence, storytelling goes back as far as man), and the way that people view their own lives (tell their own stories) affects everything from self esteem, to future actions. This inner plotline, pscyhological researchers are saying, should come to play a major factor in the development and theories of personalities and how they develop.

Every American may be working on a screenplay, but we are also continually updating a treatment of our own life — and the way in which we visualize each scene not only shapes how we think about ourselves, but how we behave, new studies find. By better understanding how life stories are built, this work suggests, people may be able to alter their own narrative, in small ways and perhaps large ones.

The study also went on to say that people, even people who have never met each other, but that have similar backgrounds, and have gone through similar events, tell their stories in remarkably similar ways.

It reminded me of the book I'm reading right now, Care of the Soul, by Thomas Moore. I guess it's sort of philosophy, but also psychology, about how our lives are continually evolving stories that we have to learn how to read and interpret, much the same way we read films, or novels. I'm not horribly far into the book yet, but so far he's talked a little about how people subconsciously act out archetypes from mythology, and how the stories in mythology (notably family relationships towards the gods, and having to travel through underworlds for redemption) are active metaphors for our own spiritual journeys through life. He relates it to Jung's theories of archetypes and the collective unconscious of all people. I don't know how much stock I actually put into that stuff, but I really like Jung's way of thinking and I have to give it credit for creativity. Though admittedly, I've tried several times to read some lectures by Jung and can't really make heads or tails of them. But I've studied him not in his own writing, and I'm a big fan of his ideas.

1 comment:

Stacy said...

This is also covered in the book, "Abducted" about people who believe they are abducted by aliens. She studies why they tell themselves that story...by a Ph.D psychologist whose name I forget...