Main narratives

In every society there is a main narrative that people are expected to follow. These narratives are followed mainly so you aren’t singled out. People will follow these narratives even if they make no sense or there is no proof to fit into a social group. Of course we know there are other narratives outside of what we know. We may also know that the narrative we follow makes no sense and is more fantasy than reality. Yet there are expectations either way. We are allowed to question narratives. Yet it is hard to question something when everything we read or hear tells us what we should think. For example when i was growing up teenagers were expected to go to the beach and surf or live an outdoor lifestyle in beach side Australian living. Yet a lot of youth were inspired by fringe stories or narratives that didn’t fit these norms. They moved away from the main narrative. Of course it depends what the main narrative is. There are national narratives that change in different political climates. There are narratives for youth or the elderly and anyone and everyone. So generally you find yourself within a system that has a narrative that is there to inspire patriotism, national pride, and many other pursuits of excellence. 

Then of course we have people who go against one or maybe a few narratives for a cause, delinquency, dissatisfaction, mental or criminal insanity or any number of reasons that may not fit the main narratives at play in whatever field of play. When these people are framed within a narrative we may be told to ask a question, such as ‘R U OK?’. This question in particular is very loaded because it doesn’t affirm the questionees position but simply questions them to start a conversation. Normally this is used for people having mental issues who may be acting oddly and showing signs of mental distress. As someone with a mental illness myself I know there are two main ways of expressing mental problems. The first is to deny there is anything wrong. So if someone asks that question they may be surprised to find the questionee is more interested in explaining problems that are not seen as insightful yet externalise the issue to other factors. The second will admit they have a problem. In this scenario I was the second type. I thought there was something wrong with me and I needed help.

In terms of narratives though the first type is more akin to questioning the narrative at play. They see there are problems external to themselves. In some ways I find this position more interesting because it instantly breaks down the main narrative. If we look at it theoretically the main narrative is just another story. Though it is seen as dominant and legitimate. The position of denying their own illness puts the onus back on society. Why should society have to have such strict control and measures in place to deny an individual who doesn’t conform to norms as less insightful than the person who simply agrees that they should be a part of the pharmaceutical industry and its ability to bring temporary relief? The systems are in place and we need control. Any sane person is afraid of a descent into chaos or what looks like chaos. I could even argue that sane organisation and social structures are simply a prison bound with language. Of course we all know this and we wouldn’t be able to do much at all without this social prison in place.

Yet as good as logic can be there are small holes in the fabric that grow and shrink in size that allow people to fall out of these structures. Maybe not falling out completely but partially and some people see a different world that they want to either create or aspire to. Though generally most people won’t dare to question the main narrative because the alternatives are unknown or unimaginable. Also the opposing stories are purposefully made to look barbaric or totalitarian and so forth. This fear though means people can forget how to think for themselves. I mean they could end up in the looney bin, couldn’t they?  

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