Monday, January 24, 2011

The Story: One's Perception of Truth and Reality

Before I start my rant I would like to say that I will be using the term "reality" loosely. I am using it in a sense of one's personal view on life and general reality. In no way am I trying to say that actual reality and general existence are malleable. If the concept seems confusing, please ask questions.

I would also like to point out that the definition of "story" is:

narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale."

The idea that reality is just what an individual perceives and abides by has always piqued my attention and interest. When a person has inherited a set of truths and ideals, they instinctively set those as boundaries or guidelines in their reality. Throughout the individuals life, they will implement these truths and ideals of theirs in anyway possible. Although truths and ideals are dynamic, it is still true that the person will constrict their "reality" with this concept.

For instance, a priest and a scientist. The priest is of course a devout, religious individual who doesn't believe in the theorems and concepts that the scientists have presented throughout history. Whereas the scientist has atheistic principles and pridefully neglects the ideology of religion. The point is that the two have conflicting ideas about reality, and consider their own to be complete fact that is incontrovertible. Yet, if one believes their own idea to be true, that obviously doesn't denounce the other idea of its truthfulness. Yet, even if this were told to the two, they would shun the idea and constrict themselves to their bounded realities and reasons. This weirdly ties into the "story concept" that Tim O'Brien explains on Pg. 36. My idea is that when "one remembers" something and it "leads to a story" it's a perception of what they have experienced. I honestly don't believe in absolute truth, so when one remembers a past memory it is never detailed to the "full actuality", which is also the general reality. Whatever gaps are apparent in the memory are filled with ideas, or assumptions of what may have occurred. When one writes a story of what has happened to them, then that story succumbs to the inaccuracy of the memory. This therefore makes story a perception of one's own reality. Tim O'Brien goes on to say that, "stories are for joining the past to the future." In other words, when one remembers something and writes about it, they create a new truth. Therefore, a past truth or actuality has become a newly formed truth, in which both truths are interconnected by the story. Furthermore, to summarize and interpret what Tim goes on to say, the stories that are written are almost like a road. They are there to show you the beginning and end of a memory, a truth, an idea. They are there to show you why you thought this, or how you completely shifted from one idea to the other. A story is a map of what you have experienced, want to experience, dread to experience, or wonder to experience. Yet, ultimately, a story is there to remind you of a forgotten memory. It is there to make sure that you have not forgotten your inspirations, accomplishments, mistakes, regrets, ideas, and most importantly, your truths. The story inevitably becomes one's reality, when the the past truths that bounded one's reality have been forgotten.

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