Monday, April 4, 2011

Self-Experimentation with Story Systems

I am not you, and you are not me, but together we can self-experiment with shared stories in synergy.

And we can even self-experiment with non-shared stories and still stumble upon peace.

Self-experimentation with Story Systems is, I suspect, foundational to the process of deducing a m=1 personal my-thology. If we define a Story System (thx2DL) as the conjectures, thoughts, values, beliefs, et al. that guide our actions (of course, our actions feedback and also guide our reflections)--and a value is not a value unless it translates into real-world behaviors on the ground--then, at any given time, each person holds a portfolio of ideas about the human condition.

From this perspective emerges the following question: How should we invest our intellectual and spiritual energy and capacity?

To start, we don't have to believe in everything; we needn't spread ourselves too thin while thinkering.

We don't even need to study everything--that's impractical; it's simply not feasible.

Instead, perhaps we need to find peace with a finite number of conjectures (at any given point in time; this quantity will surely evolve across time) that we've tested in our lives; those threads of cognition and emotion that are yet-to-be-falsified. For instance, if I were a Christian--which I am--then I would evaluate the values presented in and the tenets communicated through Jesus' teachings--which I try my best to do. Christianity is part of me; it's part of my Ancestry; it's part of my family; it's foundational to my m=1 personal my-thology.

And that brings me peace.

Hopefully, the developing Ancestry mythology will be an ever-evolving Story System composed of a diversified portfolio of stories told by the voices of numerous folks. However, while participating in this community, each person, personally, does not need to subscribe to all other people's stories--our individualized Story Systems can work well with respect for limits and constraints; as long as those Systems are not dishonest, are not unjust.

Thus, self-experimentation with Story Systems might operate best under Nassim Taleb's asymmetric, non-linear Barbell model for portfolios: Hold tight to your yet-to-be-falsified my-thologies (which includes the principles of Christianity in my specific Patient of One case) with 80-90% of your spiritual and intellectual energy, and then diversify the remainder of your wisdom investment options into the tales that span space and time throughout human history.

Perhaps, even compose some new ones too.

That's the spirit of what I try to do.

Essays are the fruit.

To good health,



  1. Story systems...very similar to the "songlines" form Aboriginal heritage in Australia. As always, your posts make me think.

  2. Thanks, Chad!

    I did not know about "songlines"--thanks for sharing.

    I enjoyed reading this:

    "...the labyrinth of invisible pathways which meander all over Australia and are known to Europeans as 'Dreaming-tracks' or 'Songlines'; to the Aboriginals as the 'Footprints of the Ancestors' or the 'Way of the Law'."

    I like that. Kindred; a very similar notion.

    Cheers to heritage,


  3. Thanks, Chad!

    Glad to e-meet you too!

    Thanks for sharing about "songlines"--I like this description:

    In his 1987 book The Songlines, British novelist and travel writer, Bruce Chatwin describes the songlines as:

    "...the labyrinth of invisible pathways which meander all over Australia and are known to Europeans as 'Dreaming-tracks' or 'Songlines'; to the Aboriginals as the 'Footprints of the Ancestors' or the 'Way of the Law'.
    Aboriginal Creation myths tell of the legendary totemic being who wandered over the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path - birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholes - and so singing the world into existence."''


    This description correlates with my thinkering about music and singing:

    I suspect communication methods like songlines were important throughout our Ancestry.