Inhabiting Multiple World Stories

January 28, 2021

Can society form consensus around multiple conflicting narratives?

On the individual level, this seems to be possible. When you cheer for your favorite sports team, you want them to have the best players, but you also do your part by wearing your lucky jersey. You can balance a logical approach to team building and strategizing with superstitions and luck.

Subconsciously, we understand that some beliefs and behaviors like science give us power over reality and others like stories give us meaning.

These conflicting identity stories don't need to simply combine superstition and reason. If you speak a second language or live in a foreign country, you learn to inhabit multiple cultural identities.

Multiple identities aren't a luxury. Exclusive belief in a singular narrative is dangerous.

Too much investment in science leads to meaninglessness and cultural erasure. Nothing is special, we're all just atoms. Too much investment in stories leads to conspiracy theories and a loss of touch with reality. Flat Earthers.

Assuming multiple, conflicting personal mythologies expands your perspective. But can we extend this paradox of belief to society at large?


© 2020 Connor Daly