We have our fictions – we think of these interpretations of our world as facts – and then we have our narratives. And our narratives are another level of fictions; derived fictions based on how we connect what we ‘know’.
Narratives are presented to us every day in media. Alternative narratives show up as conspiracy theories when they aren’t presented by the media, when people start questioning things. There was a time when people believed that the Earth was flat because we didn’t know enough about our universe, and there is a time now where people don’t know enough to know that and believe that the world is flat. It’s all very derivative. Some people think that vaccinations cause autism. Some people don’t.
These are narratives, woven together from what we believe we know as individuals. A person who doesn’t understand that we are limited in how we perceive the world, in our perceptions, is limited to that which is tangible to them even when others recognize these limitations. That’s the crux of most problems we have as a society. It’s a matter of how we string the information we have together; it’s a matter of what information we have. It’s a matter of what we question and what we accept.
Have you ever seen an atom? The odds are good that you haven’t. I choose to believe that atoms exist because it fits my narrative; it fits what I know about the world we live in, right down to those pesky electrons flowing all over. It fits what I’ve seen. It fits what I understand.
This is not the narrative of everyone else, though. Some are happy with their narratives.
Some are not. They sit happily building their narratives with what they believe they know, defending it against any new information.
And then some are always looking for more information because they want to improve their narratives. They’re open to new information. They seek it out.
This ideological war has been happening throughout recorded history. Battles are won, they are lost.
Slowly, improved narratives win. History shows that.