Relationship, narrative, and neurology

I tend to see things more clearly in my mind than I can articulate them. One thing I see but cannot articulate well is that the narrative character of human experience and knowledge points to the same reality as the social/emotional structure of the human brain. To say that we are narrative creatures may very well stem from the fact that we are wired for emotion and relationship such that logic and reason are only possible after the shaping of who we have become. Who we have become/the neural pathways that have been formed by our lives are the concrete manifestation of the storied existence that gives shape and meaning to our view of self, life, and world.

 I say these two ideas point to reality rather than are the same thing because the assumption within each is that the shaping of any individual is unique enough that the language and concepts of any given mode of analysis are contingent enough to make the notion of “same thing” meaningless. Perhaps the point is that everyone necessarily sees things more clearly than can be articulated because there is simply not a ‘thing’ to articulate; rather, any attempt to get out what is seen inside is an artistic endeavor. Those who offer a moment of clarity into a deep subject merely lean into the tension between what is seen and what is possible to convey well enough that a subject becomes accessible enough for a heuristic transfer of meaning to take place. That process is likely the ultimate goal of knowledge development and transfer rather than a limited subset of theoretically objective processes.

I see that the analogy of relationships as the lens through which we understand the nature of reality may be the most productive means by which to articulate the connection between narrative and emotion. By the way we experience the ambiguities and beauties of relationship, we get a sense that intimacy is possible despite the fact that there can be no finite formula for love. By analogy, we get a sense that truth is possible despite the fact that there can be no way to speak that is not shaped by the particularities of a life.

Finally, it may also be that narrative and social/emotional shaping also point to the same reality as Wittgenstein’s notion of language games, MacIntyre’s insistence that rationality is necessarily shaped by tradition, Hauerwas’ emphasis upon habits of life over discrete bits of knowledge, conscious realism by Donald Hoffman, the predictable irrationality of human behavior as described by Dan Ariely, and the human need for concepts and categories to make sense of the world.

10 thoughts on “Relationship, narrative, and neurology

  1. After reading this article this article a few times I am not sure that I understand; but it has me thinking
    and I will return to it later read again. Thanks for your thoughtful insights


    1. Thanks. Not positive how deeply I understand it at this point either 🙂 But I am trying to clarify with some sense of conversation rather than just keeping thoughts in my own head.


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