Narrative vs. Facts

 

After being a member of the online community for some time now, as well as after having read many a book, article, blog, etc., I have noticed that some may not do their due diligence to learn enough about a topic before given their opinion.  While opinions are important, in fact I am giving my own within this blog, I do believe that informed opinions matter far more than uninformed ones.

What we read within articles, blogs, tweets, etc. are in fact opinions of others who we either feel or know are important.  At least to us, those that are following them.  Nothing wrong with this.  That doesn’t matter whether the opinions that we regard are from educated people within the fields from which they opine, or it is a person who is well read.  Sometimes it is a person that others feel are important because they are popular and have a large following.  Regardless, people online are no doubt giving their opinions.  And then you have the actual experts on a topic who do know what they are talking about.  In my estimation of things, an informed opinion can be, and at times is, on par with the experts of topics.  If one does do their due diligence to learn the relevant facts within a subject, then they are just as “qualified” to discuss the topic and opine concerning it.

 

 

There are of course the instances where those who are less informed concerning topics, whether through lack of the historical backdrop or lack of the fundamental knowledge of the subject matter.  Some seem to relay their feelings concerning a matter.  Feelings are important indeed.  But the question is, when we are trying to get the “bottom” of things, are feelings important in such a context?  Especially when the feelings are inconsistent with the actual event(s) that took place?  When one is clearly unaware of the historical development(s) on a topic and are only seeing things for what they are currently, (if they are in fact seeing things currently is the more accurate way of seeing things is correct), how is what they see to be regarded?  While facts and truth are not always necessarily the same thing, due to the presentation of truth and facts, I do believe that separating actual events from how they might have been seen outside of knowing what took place is paramount in approaching accurate understanding.

For the sake of the topic of this particular blog segment, let us define narrative.

Narrative – 1 A spoken or written account of connected events; a story.

1.3 – A representation of a particular situation or process in such a way as to reflect or conform to an overarching set of aims or values.[1]

A narrative seems to be more appropriately utilized when it comes to telling stories.  Those stories could have historical significance, or they can just be stories for the purposes of lifting one’s spirit, or they can be bedtime stories.  We often look back over our own lives while developing stories or narratives to relay how we see our past or even how we may want our past seen, whether by ourselves or by others.  There is nothing inherently wrong with this.  The problem, I think, comes in when that narrative distorts actual events.  Distorting actual events, leaving key details out, or not properly understanding what took place due to the lack of due diligence to collect the relevant data, or just outright lying, is not the approach that I care to take.  Again, stories serve a purpose.  They can uplift, inspire, and arouse.  They can also destroy.  In my estimation of things, there are many who desire to distort reality, i.e., actual events.

The importance of actual events, which leads us to the definition of facts.

 

Facts – 1 A thing that is known or proved to be true.

1.1 (facts) Information used as evidence or as part of a report or news article.[2]

 

 

I will be clear; facts are not truth in of themselves.  I speak of actual events that took place at a particular point in history.  They, too, can be taken and distorted.  So, facts are not inherently right just because they are actual events.  The importance concerning narratives and facts is who are presenting them and what is their aim or purpose?  This is where track records are focused upon.  What has the person done historically with narratives and facts?  What are they doing now with them is also of importance due to the fact that people change over time?  I have found that following the work of others should be coupled with me doing my own further investigation of things.  I am a huge proponent of reality.  I care about the world and the environment of which I live.  I care about the facts on the ground.  Narratives have their place but so do facts.  I would say a healthy balance would be far more ideal than just one or the other depending upon the subject matter and its particular usage.

 

 

Since we live at a time where the economic and financial landscapes are more in favor of a fewer number of people, many are casting the yoke of blame in various directions.  It is true that some in charge, whether in the past or now, have not made the best of decisions.  It is also true that many of us, the average citizen, too, have not made the best of decisions.  What we value is important to us, since valuation is based upon the particular individual.  What we value determines what we are willing to get out of the bed in the morning to work and pay for.  Debt is a monster currently for many to include the country as a whole as well as many individuals.  The truth is that many of us went into debt for varying reasons, reasons for which we value due to desiring to better our lives and well-being.  At least, this is what I went into debt for. I take full responsibility for taking on the debt that I took on.  It will take me quite some time to get out from underneath some of it.  I would love to be out of debt.  I do not, however, want a bail out.

 

 

My narrative for my own particular situation in no way distort the facts of why I am where I am in relation to debt which in no way distorts my own observable reality and the understanding of it.  I’m not so sure that some others do the same concerning their own lives.  That is not my issue.  The issue is when those others approach the broader society and world that way and then relay those distortions to others.  Those others believe those distortions and then proceed to repeat them while never doing their own individual investigation(s).  Now one could argue that those distortions are due to an honest misunderstanding.  I would argue, though, while there are definitely misunderstandings, some are deliberate with distortions as well as repeating them to others.  This is why I separate my personal feelings and life situation from observable reality.  I purposefully do not view the world from within, but I view the world as separate from me although I am a part of it.  This keeps me from casting blame upon others for my own personal decision making, as well as forcing me to take personal ownership of my life.  A wise mentor of mine once said, “Strong people approach the world looking for ways to make things happen. Weak people approach the world from the standpoint of it happening to them.”  Truer words…

[1] (Press, narrative, n.1,1.3)

[2] (Press, fact, n.1)

References

Press, Oxford University. fact, n.1. Prod. OED Online. June 2019. 21 June 2019. <https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/fact>.

—. narrative, n.1,1.3. Prod. OED Online. June 2019. 21 June 2019. <https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/narrative>.

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