CHAPTER 10 Full.docx - LIFE SCRIPTS LIFE STORIES Though...

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LIFE SCRIPTS, LIFE STORIES Though life stories are grounded in reality, they are nonetheless imaginative and creative productions that each of us constructs and reconstructs as we move through our adult years . We make a life by making a story, and the stories we make become parts of who we are. A person’s internalized and evolving life story – what we call a person’s narrative identity – is just as much a part of his/her personality as are his/her dispositional traits and characteristic adaptations Put simply, traits (Level 1) provide a dispositional outline concerning cross-situational trends in behavior; characteristic adaptations (Level 2) fill in the details by specifying motivational, social-cognitive, and developmental issues and concerns Life stories (Level 3) tell us how a person sees his or her life in the overall and over time and what the overall meaning and purpose of that life might be. All 3 levels of personality are important. MEANING OF STORIES THE NARRATING MIND Human beings are storytellers by nature. The form of expression we call “the story” appears in every human culture. The story is a natural package for organizing many different kinds of information storytelling is a fundamental way of expressing ourselves and our worlds to others. Much of what passes for everyday conversation between people is storytelling of one form or another. Storytelling is what makes us so different from both the beasts and the computers. For our ancient ancestors, the stories told at day’s end created a shared history of people, linking them in time and event, as actors, tellers, and audience in an unfolding drama of life that was made more in the telling than in the actual events to be told. Stories aren’t reports of exactly what transpired at the meeting and at what time. Stories don’t work to replay a videotaped past that can be objectively known and reviewed. Stories are less about facts and more about meanings. In the subjective and embellished telling of the past, the past is constructed – history is made. The history is judged to be true or false not solely with respect to its adherence to empirical fact; Rather, history is judged with respect to such narrative criteria as “believability” and “coherence”. There’s a narrative truth in life that seems quite removed from logic, science, and empirical demonstration.
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Contemporary research in cognitive neuroscience suggests that the human brain is designed to construe experience in narrative terms. Damasio states that human consciousness is a matter of mentally taking on the position of the narrator . Consciousness involves continuous narration or telling of lived experience, a kind of stream of online narration that flows through the minds of most sentient human beings.
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