Stories about the End of Stories

Excerpt from The World is Made of Stories by David R. Loy:

 

Our truth consists of illusions that we have forgotten are illusions. 

~ Nietzsche

...stories that we have forgotten as stories. 

Stories justify social distinctions. 

We challenge a social arrangement by questioning the story that validates it. When people stop believing the stories that justify the social order, it begins to change. 

The dominant story of modernity has been progress. Although still hardwired into our institutions, that story has lost most of its plausibility. new genres are taking its place: apocalypse and nihilism. Apocalypse is the imminent and triumphant conclusion of our most cherished stories. Nihilism is their collapse. Both are stories about the end of stories. 

Nihilism inverts progress narratives, liberating the shadow that haunted them. Losing hope in the future makes us more vulnerable to the distractions and addictions of the present—yet this moment might be appreciated differently were we not accustomed to sacrifice it to the future.

If the world is made of stories, are its problems a result of being enthralled by—in thrall to—pernicious stories? Do violent television shows increase crime and domestic abuse? Advertising teaches us that consumerism is the way to become happy. Religious teachings can inspire institutional dogma, crusades, heresy trials...and spiritual quests. 

Is the solution to such problems improved stories? Getting rid of stories? Or a better understanding of storying? 


Loy, D. (2010). The world is made of stories. Boston: Wisdom Publications. (publisher, library)