Friday, August 10, 2018

They say: Story is almost everything

"Alasdair MacIntyre argued many years ago, you can’t know what to do unless you know what story you are a part of.

Story is more important than policies."

"You can get a lot of facts wrong if you get your story right."
Quoted by David Brooks

That last observation -- good story, wrong facts -- sounds off key, but consider: facts are in the rearview mirror; only estimates lie ahead. If you are a visionary -- see: E. Musk -- you don't want to be too encumbered by facts (i.e., historical approaches). You need freedom to envision!

Not so fast!
Facts and "wrong facts" aren't the same thing. Misusing facts to support a story -- even futuristic and new-to-the-world stories -- is, in some quarters, not-less-than fraud. See myriad SEC cases where investors and employees bought into a narrative based on false facts. One might even think (gasp!): Bernie Madoff!

Now in a different context -- a history of political imperialism -- I've heard the same thing: "They" say: Conceive the narrative, paint the grand picture, and then find facts -- or, if you have too many facts, discard those that are inconvenient."Remember the 'Maine'!"

If you are risk averse, story-sans-facts is not the formula for you! You've got to be willing to live with a disaster if real substance doesn't come along in time to bail you out and validate the story. Story teller beware!

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