Stories and the sense of meaning
My new research project: How the stories we tell ouserlves influence who we are.
My Bachelor thesis is about using narrative tehniques to influence buyers perception. (Just so you know I graduated in marketing).
They say that when you choose your research subject it should be something that you are passioned about. If last year I was unsure about my zeal, in the past months I became obsesed by it. I see archetypes, symbols, and story patterns everywhere.
In my paper my accent was on stories as a fundamental medium of passing on information and the persuasive power they hold due to the emotions evoked through different elements.
My mind shifted lately, to something that I consider more insightfull. I belive humans percive reality throug stories. Our societies work becuse we share the same mithologies that are no longer about gods and heros but about money, nations, institutions etc. However, the change of external myths implies an inner one.
As within so without.
without so within.
This is just a hypothesis now. Religion and tradition helped shaped an individual’s percepion about himself and his role in the comunity and place in Universe. However, when we start the sceintifcic revolution that broght us modernity with it’s pros and cons 2 major things happened: 1. we start to question everyting, to dissamble and understand logically (us beeing emotional creatures), 2. nothing is pinned down, the reason that science advened so much is our ability to admit that we know nothing, and if someting we belived in today proves to be false through the scientific method tommorow, well fu*k that, we move on boys. That makes wonders when it comes to tehnology but regarding morality, ethics, identity etc, total disaster (I wrote a while back about nihilism and moral relativism, you can read it here)
For example, you are Tom, young, caucasian, male. You are christian. You are the son of God, your life purpose is to obey God’s law (the 10 commendments let’s say), your universe is pretty egocentric because God created it for you and everyting obeys you, and let’s not forget you are part of a community of fellows who share your view.
1965. Vlad, another intetsting guy. Communist. He is a warrior angainst the capitalist masters that want to ensalve him. He is part of something greater than himself, the proletariat.
You get my point. Every long-lasting religion or ideology (anything similar) thought a consistent corpus of stories gives you a clear sens of the world and who you are.
Modern man is thirsty for meaning, because he has none. He lost his sens of being, his values, his purpose, and is no disgrace to recognize you can’t create a core belife system . Hardly someone can do it by himself, nevertheless to mention it takes hard work, energy and tremendous internal resources.
In my thesis, I popose that this can be seen as an opportunity for a company to concure a market. Some told me that it is unethical, to take advantage of one’s weaknesses. Well, I don’t see the need for significance and belonging as a vulnerability but more as a basic need like food, water, touch. Ancient cults no longer fulfil these necessities, and it seems most individuals can’t do it thiught their own work. Then why not fullfill the true needs of your customers? Some brands already do it succesfull, Apple, Nike, Rolling Stones just to name a few.
The talk is not about this, I get fired up sometimes and I derive. Pardon me.
I deviced a way though witch one can build his meaning, because if you do that you become the architect of your destiny (sounds very poetic). I do think is crucial that you do that too because it answers 3 queations that the french painter Gaugain Raised (I don’t know if he was the first one): Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?. One of the stages that I do consider fundamental is telling your story. Construct who you are based on what you did (first and second interrogation) and then become an “oracle” and predict who you will become (last query).
This is my new project, to determine ways in which people can construct their meaning, and not only through stories. I’ll keep you updated.