I almost graduated with a degree in psychology as I considered a profession as a therapist.  I couldn’t quite withdraw from that ambition as I took workshops and courses after graduating.  Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Ericksonian Hypnotherapy and neuropsychology were subjects that I paid to continue to explore.  Nevertheless, I’ve spent over 30 years of my life with three therapists, mostly in a group therapy format, plumbing my psyche and my soul.  This therapy has contributed to a process perspective when I am observing the words and behaviors of myself, my friends, my family and my colleagues.  Observing the patterns that emerge in myself over time and recognizing the nature of the internal sources that lead to those behaviors, I form hypotheses on what drives the behaviors of those around me.

The stories we tell ourselves have an enormous amount to do with how we experience our lives.  In the old half-full/half-empty aphorism, our attention is called to the effects of our stories upon our perception.  We live in a world of stories layered at several different scales, sometimes nesting comfortably, sometimes dissonant in their conclusions.  There are our personal stories, our family-of-origin tales, societal stories and stories that are grounded in the perceptual apparatus that we experience the world through as a species.  When you start unraveling the yarn, the knitting leads down from the personal to the societal to the biological.  In this blog/story of how stories are made, the witch in Hansel and Gretel (where the crumbs were laid) or the Minotaur of Knossos (where Theseus followed the golden thread) are monsters that can represent the power we have to inform our own perception by the ways we frame the world.

At these different scales (personal, familial, societal, biological), the different stories have different valences or effects.  Some stories are like the operating system of a computer, informing how all the installed software relates.  Other stories behave like specific instructions, engaged at a particular time or circumstance, ignored during other situations.

Stories are often accompanied by nonverbal features that influence the outcome of the description.  For example, the voice tone, speed or intonation patterns of the internal voice narrating a particular dialog can jar or console, depending on the particulars.  The way that a story is told can have as powerful an effect as the story’s words.

Stories operate at different scales, with different valences, at both verbal and nonverbal levels.  To understand how we as individuals travel through our lives or how our society transforms, we can choose to understand the stories that we tell at these three levels of personal, societal and biological perception.  Understanding this process is integral to intuiting who we are and where we are.


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