The Falsehood of All Narratives

The story is one of the most powerful forms of persuasion. From the very ancient times, parables existed to persuade human beings to obey certain principles. Now, in our technologically advanced civilizations, and waging technologically advanced warfare, not only physically, but also psychologically and culturally, we are still using stories to persuade, to justify, to rationalize our violence. Of course, there is always the better stories, the more truthful narratives. Yet, it is the claim here that no narratives can be truthful. Narratives are inherently a selective process, a representation, and nothing can be further from the truth. In times of crises, we tell ourselves stories, may be immersed in their glory and proclaimed virtue, but we are so frequently unaware of how stories are always written for a purpose. When we believe in any story, we inevitably perpetuate conflict among human beings. There are no better or worse stories. There are only stories, and stories have no relationship to truth.

Narratives are a selective process. It is obvious that, in order to tell a story, any story, either the story of the origin of a nation, the story of national sovereignty, the story of democracy, the story of cultural trauma and past glory, there must be a selection. In this sense, history is only a narrative, and there is no such thing as historical truth. A narrative is written in a specific way, always. There is always omission of inconvenient facts, because these facts do not adhere to the overall theme of this narrative. When these facts are added, it would be obvious that this narrative does not hold, because it is full of contradictions.

In this sense, a narrative is only a way for us to smooth over the contradictions in our consciousness. In order to justify the killing of an enemy, one must not contradict oneself in also acknowledging the humanity of the enemy. One must divide, and division creates contradiction. We are essentially dividing that which is really the same, therefore there is no inherent reality or justification in our division. We only believe in our division. We divide humanity, so we can justify killing each other, sanctioning each other. Our only resort is violence, in all its forms, because we refuse to face any crisis anew, to actually dissolve a problem. And to dissolve the problem means to dissolve the division. We don't want to dissolve division, because our profits and power rely on our divisions. Without divisions, war cannot be fought; weapons cannot be sold; power cannot be maintained; vengeance cannot be generated for further revenues and glories of the leaders. If one acknowledges the humanity of the enemy, then killing has no justification.

We are always proclaiming our moral superiority, but this very claim of superiority is immoral. Superiority is immoral. But, in order to advance an agenda, either political or personal or cultural, one must disregard this inherent contradiction in proclaiming self-righteousness. It is obvious that self-righteousness can never be right, because it is essentially saying that I have all the power to give judgments on you, which is the very opposite of righteousness or virtue. There is no virtue in condemnation, because condemnation only creates further violence and war, because condemnation is pride. Contradictions pervade in our consciousness because we are hypocritical, meaning we claim one thing and do another. The very claim is the root of hypocrisy, because reality as it is cannot be claimed to be anything. To believe in any narrative or agenda or political ideology is inherently hypocritical and contradictory, because we are essentially saying by believing in them that the world is what I think it is, when it is not actually. Narratives are only a way to escape our inherent hypocrisy in proclamation and self-righteousness. Narratives make us feel justified, angry, sad, and so on. Narratives are used to manipulate human emotions so that actions of mass violence and subtle aggression can be performed for the benefit of the storytellers and retellers.

Narratives are full of agendas, hidden and obvious ones. We are still trapped in the stories of our own making. When there is violence or war, when one faces that fact, the fact of an explosion or the sounds of bullets, there are no stories. There is only the basic human mechanism of survival. It is only after the fact, or in anticipation of an imaginary scenario, that narratives are formed. Narratives are the what could have been, the what should be, the what was and what will be. Yet, narratives are limited. No narrative can be told to contain reality, or the facts of existence, because existence is too vast for any amount of words or images to contain. We only pretend that our stories are truthful. In our pretension, we act based on our stories. In other words, we act based on a selection and distortion of reality. We act based on a representation of life. Such action can only be limited also, therefore it will always be misguided, because it is not aware of the whole of existence. Narratives are not concerned with truth, because they are concerned with persuasion only. Even the narrative that claims to have no agenda is putting forward an idea for people to be convinced of, namely, that it has no agenda. Peace has no agenda. Peace has no purpose. The commitment to a purpose only fuels the fire of conflict, and war is only one of its many forms.

When there is no narrative, there is no end to be pursued. Then, there is no such thing as any means necessary to reach the end. When there is no narrative, there is no commitment to any idea or ideology, therefore there is the full commitment to life itself, to its subtle and gross forms, to its high and low emotions, to all that is. This is the highest virtue. And this is love. This is indiscriminate, and therefore all-inclusive. Inclusion does not condemn, because condemnation is to exclude the other, is to morally divide human beings. If we are serious at living in a society without exclusion, prejudice, violence, and all the rest of it, then we must also be serious at including everything, without condition. This is a tremendous thing to ask of any human being, yet it is the simplest action there is, which is the action of life itself, perpetually moving, without effort and strife, and constantly alive and exuberant.


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