Modern liberal etiology and stories as folk myth
One I believed for years turns out to be questionable
As a good western liberal construct I've carried the baton for many tales which underpin the dominant cultural narrative.
By 'cultural narrative' I mean the set of values and stories that are designed to provide common understanding and rules for fitting in.
The power of cultural narrative flows from those rules. As in any social situation, you have to know the rules so that you don't inadvertently break one. Breaking rules risks consequences, on a spectrum ranging from peer disapproval to expulsion from the group.
Often the rules are illustrated with stories. These often take the form of parables, because they tend to have a moral dimension which is designed to instruct rather than entertain or inform.
These stories are really important because they add up to an identity, both individual and shared.
If you want to know how important identity is to many of us, have a look at political Twitter and how people 'dunk' (to insult in a calculated and often highly organised way) on each other. The way it often works is by signalling who you are, rather than what you think - and much of that comes by virtue of knowing which stories to tell.
My personal favourite is the one about how fish and chips isn't really an English dish because something something St George something something middle east something something et voilà !
The point of that story is not to convey objectively factual information but to signal who one is (cosmopolitan, educated, definitely not racist and certainly not a member of the hidebound culturally conservative thicko class who are obsessed with tradition and all the other things one has risen above).
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