02008-10-09 | Musings, Reading | 0 comments

From Neal Stephenson’s book Anathema, which had me under its spell.

Thousands of years ago, the work that people did had been broken down into jobs that were the same every day, in organizations where people were interchangeable parts. All of the story had been bleed out of their lives. That was how it had to be; it was how you got a productive economy.


The people who’d made the system were jealous, not of money and not of power but of story. If their employees came home at day’s end with interesting stories to tell, it meant that something had gone wrong: a blackout, a strike, a spree killing. The Powers That Be would not suffer other to be in stories of their own unless they were fake stories that had been made up to motivate them.

And that brings up movies and sports and religion… a way to see yourself as part of a larger adventure, a larger story – and thereby sacrificing your own story. It is obvious that the person viewing a movie is passive. A person watching a football game is equally passive, but feels involved. I mean, many overweight couch-potatoes will claim that they are “into sports”, but it translates into “I like sitting down and watching other people run around doing things”… And, many religious people seem to be content to believe stuff, which is essentially also somebody else’s story, instead of creating their own story through contemplation, meditation or action. (((like watching a game instead of playing a game?)))

It also brings up consumerism, which is a way to buy into one of the stories being manufactured. Most advertising nowadays sells a lifestyle, not a product.

It’s also the difference between being the guy in the knife-factory who does nothing but drill holes into the steel and being this guy, who makes knives from scratch and does something different every day.

What is my story, what is your story? What is it that our life can express?

The word History derives from His Story – I suppose because most stories used to be about men, the kings, generals…

Or the word Right, which derives from the fact that the boss carried a sword in his right hand…

Wie schön, daß das Word Geschichte nicht Geschlechtbezogen ist… Aber das Recht gibt es ja auch im Deutschen.

I am not sure what I am trying to say… just unfinished thoughts while drinking the first cup of Pouchong in the morning…


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