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Aging Shapes Narrative Identity (nautil.us)
35 points by dnetesn 57 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments



I'm not even positive is the same concept as the author is referring to, but long ago someone told me "(almost) no one views themselves as a villain in the story of their life"

Remembering one concept has been incredibly helpful with difficult situations over the years. When someone is behaving in a way I find problematic, is opposing what I find is right, or generally acting "crazy", it is incredibly useful to remind myself that, in their telling of the story, they will somehow be the hero. Spending time figuring out how that can be has given me valuable insight and let me find win-win solutions that were seeming intractable


> they will somehow be the hero.

Or the victim. A lot of actual villains think of themselves as having been made a villain. The story is often that they realized through their own victimization that non-villains were just prey, or that the reason they are bad now is because someone or something destroyed all of the good within them.


True, and important because it can cause awful outcomes, but in my experience people are generally just operating from a different set of priors, perspectives, and incentives.

As they say about paranoia, sometimes they really are out to get you. But you probably shouldn’t live life assuming that all the time.


That's the problem with behavioral discussions - at least amongst the general public at large, there is almost an epidemic inability to analyze a situation from any other perspective other than one's own. Unfortunately, many of those people are also politicians and lawmakers.


Unfortunate to see you being downvoted for such a sober perspective


Very true; there is a complementary concept, not less important, which is "people see the world not as it is, but as they are" -- together with the "(almost) no one is a villain in their own narrative (but some are victims) ", gives an even better perspective and understanding of the world.


They give the idea of positivity bias a fairly negative framing, like it's a form of denial rather than a genuine change of perception about things.

I've generally tended towards an optimistic bias and that is in part because I don't see things in black and white terms. I've long said things like "A stove can burn you and a knife can cut you, but you also need both to put a meal on the table."

That's not some Pollyanna view with rose colored glasses. That's an honest assessment that anything that contains power to accomplish something contains power to do good or harm.

As you get better at extracting the positives, the occasional burn looms less large in your mind. You rejigger those calculations and spend more time appreciating the many hot meals you ate and less time complaining about the occasional blister that was involved.

Young people sometimes take good things for granted because a lot of the positives in their lives were given to them by their parents. If you stop seeing it as a given, you are more grateful that anything ever goes right and your mental accounting shifts.

It's not denial or white washing. It's just a change in perspective.


Nice article. Nautilus is terrific. The research here isn’t all new though, it goes back to Erikson's stages of psychosocial development. I love checking in on the stages every once in a while, it helps me figure out what goals would make me happy. Also helps to better understand people who are at a different age range.


I'm not sure if it's my English, but I cannot parse this title into anything meaningful. Could just as well be "Turtles Run Bicycle Lambda".




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