Alternate Narratives

1746 “it is the victor who writes the history and counts the dead.”

1842 “l’histoire est juste peut-être, mais qu’on ne l’oublie pas, elle a été écrite par les vainqueurs”

1852 “La storia di questi avvenimenti fu scritta dai vincitori”

1940s “Der Sieger wird immer der Richter und der Besiegte stets der Angeklagte sein,”

2019 “History is written by the victors.”

I have been pondering on the scope of the title “Alternate Narratives” for quite a while. The most obvious current case is in the USA where a certain individual still believes that he won an election and that he was robbed by election fraud. The rest of the world has moved on a little and accepts the results. So, there are two narratives which diverge significantly in this case.

The other current example is to do with the narrative of “glorious” empire which was built on genocide and slavery. It is handy and convenient to forget these two foundation stones, but now people are pulling down statues, changing anthems and renaming things.  This trend goes against the quotations above because the victors are long dead, and people are rewriting history as it is held in the minds of mankind. What history will make of our last decade remains to be seen. Those in power can spin which ever thing they want, history will not concur with their spin and hype. History morphs and changes with the times. It is still shocking to me that we had apartheid both in South Africa and the United States, during my lifetime.

With the exception of very few people, nobody knows what I have been up to, nobody has any real idea of what I have done in terms of meditation. Thus, they will have, if they can be bothered to so do, some kind of narrative about me which is lacking a huge chunk of what it is I am about. They will have a narrative which frames me from within their perceptual world view. No doubt there will be some confidence integral with which they imagine the accuracy of said narrative. Even the wife, who knows me best finds it hard to accept that I do not think unless I choose to and have little or no internal dialogue.

So, my narrative, about what has transpired concerning me will be different to all other narratives and considerably so, because it does not have the same basis. Now if you like to argue the toss, like so many do, and you chose to do so with me, we would be discussing from entirely different basis sets. Convergence of narrative therefore would be unlikely.

If as a thought experiment, I said that five lifetimes ago, I lived in what is now Iran and was involved Zoroastrianism before Buddha, I was subsequently a disciple of Buddha around 2500 years ago. Later I had a life as a Buddhist monk around early hundreds A.D., I was then a priest soldier during the crusades where I had a very unpleasant death and later, I was something of a dandy in the 18th century. One can see that this narrative starts to diverge from another one.

I was born to the son of a docker and the daughter of a miner. There was a lot of emphasis on education. “Become a teacher or a preacher so you don’t have to go down the pit”. Thus, ending up temporarily as a science academic. This narrative would be generally more palatable to my former colleagues. Especially if I continue, I went on to burn out, have a meltdown, and go mildly insane, get delusional in my old age.

What I am pointing at is narrative nearly always varies from factual recounting. Most people spin things so that they look a little better. Narrative is then like a well tossed Googly. It amuses me that Google sounds like googly. Now it is unlikely that you the reader will know that I can bowl fairly decent leg spin and googlies. Some people spin things so that they look worse. For example, if you think that I am a nutter, it is unlikely that you would touch me with a barge pole. I could go out of my way to give you the impression of being completely bonkers.

Now here is the bit that really gets me. People believe what other people say about people. They think that a narrative about someone else is given by a reliable narrator. That is bonkers! The only semi-reliable way of learning about someone else is personal experience and even that is flawed because of selective perception and confirmation bias. Very few people have shared time with me over the last decade. {Excluding A level science students}.

Nobody could write me a recent reference for me; therefore, it is impossible for me to get a job. In a bizarre manner, even though I cannot get a job, it is my estimation that I could raise significant amounts of Venture Capital.

This is a part of my narrative.

There are many alternate narratives, some of which people imagine to be true.

It is a crazy world we live in.

The victor may write the history, but other people change it subsequently, history is fluxional and made up by humans, it is not a measurable phenomenon of the universe.

And people think it is real…..