Amerika

Artificial Narratives

When people tell you things, if they have to also tell you how to think about them, it is an artificial narrative.

Consider the badly-told joke. It must be explained to be funny. Even worse, sometimes it requires you to assume that certain things are good and bad for it to be funny, so you have to accept some control data in order to process the joke.

Or when someone hands in an assignment with some excuses. The dog ate the first draft, so surely you will not mind the scratchy handwriting. Your birthday gift is only slightly used, and there is this amusing backstory behind it. In the context of the narrative, something ordinarily not good becomes good because it completes the story.

Stories like these function as excuses, rationalizations, justifications, and validations for the bad. The point is to make you take less than you need so that others can pocket the difference, whether that be in time, money, energy, or social status points.

In other words, narratives generate entitlement, which means that other people have a right to something that is inherent to you (genetics, spirit) or a product of your time, money, energy, social status, or mental focus. Narratives empower parasitism.

When something requires no narrative to show that it is good, we do not take much notice of it because no explaining needs to be done. A fixed door, a better gadget, a bumper crop, or a great symphony speak for themselves. Narratives aim to crowd these out and replace them with inferior substitutes.

We think of this in terms of politics, but in democracy, politics is a form of advertising, salesmanship, acting, and image. Consider the clever advertisement:

In this case, the narrative explains why this product benefits you, even though the actual questions of the product such as quality, utility, and fulfilling an obvious need are glossed over. In fact, the point of the narrative is to distract you from reality and point you toward the need of another.

They need to sell you dresses, gadgets, entitlements programs, or their own condition of deserving more social status.

As humanity moves into the twenty-first century, we are going to have to address our own cleverness. That is, unless sanity takes over, clever monkeys manipulate each other and end up making what we share — civilization, nature, culture, knowledge — less useful for everyone.

Tags: , ,

|
Share on FacebookShare on RedditTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn