One effect of our digital media environment, then, is to immerse us in searchable databases of information rather than present us with comprehensive, integrated, and broadly compelling narratives.
Great post, Michael. I'm new here, too, Bryan, and your comment reminds me of a seminar with Charles Taylor in the early 1990s where he spoke briefly on marriage as an institution he values because there one really does share a Narrative with someone else.
Relatively new reader here. Thank you for this post! Do you think this Narrative/Database distinction, and the decline of Narrative and the rise of the Database, helps explain what Charles Taylor calls the "nova effect"–the explosion of different options for belief and meaning in today's age? If I remember right, Taylor attributes this more to cross-pressures and immanentization, etc, which all precede the internet. But the effect sounds familiar: "we all assume responsibility for improvising our own, often tentative and fragile, narratives about both the world and ourselves."
This whole post also makes me wonder how to escape the Database; I'd like to know what it's like to share a Narrative with people, to REALLY share a Narrative with someone else.
But you were wrong about masking. That’s a failed narrative.
Why is the late 19thC the origin of modern inattention crises? Postman seemed to think that. But just read Luther and his contemporaries on cheap print, error, and fake news. Illich suggests scholastic reading was an organization and focusing of attention that ended a former gustatory and meditative literacy who’s form of attention is very different.
And hadn’t the techno-social environment generally been very inhospitable to the embodied female person wherever patriarchy got a good lock on it. The Roman Empire and its religious successors were as harsh as they could be with their own techno-social disciplinary mechanisms.
I am also new here. Just discovered your writing and work. I devoured every morsel with my head nodding profusely. I create narratives for corporations (my definition of how I do that is part Bain, part chiropractor, part futurist). I have been devoted to learning this craft over the course of my career in advertising/traditional/digital media, with a twist of Singularity University thrown in. My partner and I are in the beta stages of launching something we are calling “The Narrative Playbook”, aimed at individuals. Much of what you so eloquently framed in the two pieces on Narrative struck deep chords and tensions that we are attempting to coalesce into actionable outputs. We speak to the above and below the waterline phenomenon (iceberg metaphor) and how there is a what you can see and shape and what you can’t and how those underwater currents (algorithms) are whipsawing your identity around like riptides. This is being addressed by our establishment of the Narrative Quotient (NQ). Net-net, I am so excited to learn about you and your work. I have been a big Marshall McLuhan fan years. I have so many questions...