My Son, The Narratologist

by Clyde on 8, November 2010

I never knew there was such a person as a ‘narratologist’ until recently, and, judging by the red underscore in my Live Writer composition window telling me ‘Narratologist is not a word,’ I’m a step ahead of Microsoft in that understanding.

Apparently, a narratologist is a person who studies the logic of narrative, its structures and devices, and the requirements necessary for its success in conveying a story. They use words like ‘focalize’ and ‘solipsize.’

Walking around and listening to the narratives I tell myself, I am mostly struck by the repetitive nature of the material.  Sometimes, when I get sick of telling myself the same old stories, I step in and put a halt to the monologue.

It all seems very mysterious and that’s why I picked up Narrative and Consciousness.  It’s aimed at providing a cross-disciplinary overview of what people are saying about this little story teller in your mind’s ear. The book itself fits into a certain genre of items on my reading list that I realize don’t have widespread appeal, and I don’t expect I will thrill anyone into clicking the banner link and buying a copy. (I would, however, earn a commission as an Amazon associate if you did.)

But still, there are some fascinating question one can pose regarding this phenomenon:

Is this voice the agent that leads us to believe we are continuous beings, living a stream of uninterrupted events?

How is it that we come to believe in the veracity of this narrator? There are many documented clinical instances where people create preposterous lies to explain away some deficit in the control they have over their physical being. This is anosognosia.

When we look for narrative in the brain, we can find it. We can observe it as it emerges in the developing child and we can see it on functional MRI images.

The surprising part of this story is that the scope of control of your inner chatterbox is a lot smaller than you would wish. Most decisions are still made in a part of the brain that downstage talk to the chatterbox all that much

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In the privacy of our own mind, how many levels of secrecy are kept? What inner voice tells the story to which we do not turn our attention? Are there things about ourselves that we never speak to ourselves about?

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