What is “the narrative.”…or should that be “The Narrative?”
I hear this phrase used a lot, this concept talked about a lot, as if it is an agreed upon notion, an agreed way to look at the world and understand it. Now, me and this phrase were never formally introduced. I never use it. It struck me in a recent conversation with a friend, where he referenced it, that it sounded a lot like a part of a religion. Apparently, the narrative is the way things are or ought to be, the correct moral agenda for the time, the approved human social developmental moment. It is articulated by experts who we should just accept, honor, and follow. This I would add is in contrast with that other term you may have heard of, the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times. The Zeitgeist is not the agenda of experts and social engineers, and reflects better the notion of the human spirit and it’s potential manifesting in a certain way in a certain time..it’s more open to interaction and commentary by common folk, it’s less contrived, more accessible, more democratic even.
“The Narrative” sounds a lot like it is trying to copy something like moral laws or codes articulated by priests and ministers, experts in a field, people of a certain status, that I would say is not questioned enough, about how we should live our lives. I propose that thinking about current events from the perspective of “the narrative” is a step backwards. Last time I checked, at least in traditional Protestant and Catholic churches in the USA, the tendency of conversation was more towards questioning dogma, of speaking in the vernacular, and trying to understand different perspectives, and to be more independent minded, etc. I could be wrong, and please correct me if so. It’s been some time since I’ve been an active member of a church, so it may have changed.
Anyways, there is something disturbingly dogmatic, authoritarian, un-American, about this idea of “the narrative.” It’s like some great decree everyone must abide by or be socially ostracized (may I remind you that the worst traditional punishment for people was not death, but exile.). Big brother is watching!! The golden rule has been replaced by strict adherence to the current Narrative and use of approved language, which is always changing just to keep you on your toes and taking your anti-depressants. What a strange time we live in. Is it just me? What do you see and here out there?