2.11.2009

The Fear of the Meta-Narrative

Is there a generational divide over the subject of transparency with regards to personal info?

I recently discussed with someone slightly older who was put off by the concept of putting too much personal, experiential moments out for the world to explore and share. He argued that these existential, defining moments happen to everyone...but they don't need to be broadcast to the world as though they are entirely unique.

I thought I heard him saying that the general narrative of humanity defines or explains the individual, special revelation as experienced by the individual. I understand his point, but I think there might be a cultural shift that denies this point of view in favor of the move toward the individual experience defining the general. There is not one story for a generation, but thousands of individual experiences that form an overall view INSTEAD OF one story for a generation that is exemplified by thousands of similar individual accounts.

Thoughts?

2 comments:

Joey said...

I can't say that I think about whether individual experiences define the general narrative or vice versa.

But I don't think broadcasting what we think is new, only that the medium across which we broadcast it is very new.

You can read countless diaries of people from the 18th and 19th centuries that recount details of each day of their lives. The difference is they wrote them in books that went unpublished until after their deaths. We now write on blogs (or other venues) that are immediately published.

True, we choose transparency to a degree more than our predecessors. But really, is there so much of a difference aside from the fact that others with whom we are now living know things that previously only those who came after us would have discovered?

watchman said...

I have always thought of the "defining" moments in history and wondered how people made. But, it turns out, that most people were not affected that much.

The day Pearl Harbor was bombed, most people outside of Hawaii were shocked, angered, etc. but most still went to work the next day.

In the same way, on 9/11 I spent most of the day driving. I don't remember much about the day that you would put into history books. However, I do recall phoning my Dad, being hooked to the radio. I remember my shock and my fascination.

So, the general for me, has always been defined by the personal. I understand the vast changes of this world better when I examine myself and my reactions.

So, when I talk about philosophy or faith, I often have to describe my experience, or my perspective.

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