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David Byrne on Living a Heroic, Tragic, Boring, and Beautiful Narrative

David Byrne here is tracking with some of my favorite theologians and philosophers.

‘Cognitive versus emotional’ is a false dichotomy. Both mind and heart are swept up into story and relationships. That’s where meaning and truth is found.


Living “in” a story, being part of a narrative, is much more satisfying than living without one. I don’t always know what narrative it is, because I’m living my life and not always reflecting on it, but as I edit these pages I am aware that I have an urge to see my sometimes random wandering as having a plot, a purpose guided by some underlying story. I imagine that if I could step back and look at my life, I’d see that this series of meetings and events wasn’t simply random, that it had to happen the way it did.

As history gets rewritten over and over and over again I begin to imagine that our lives have so many possible narrative threads – all existing simultaneously like parallel universes – that the number of human histories is certainly infinite. Heroic, tragic, boring, catastrophic, ridiculous and beautiful. We all live those stories, and often our narrative includes more than one of them.



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