The Biography Channel

About: The Building Blocks of Personhood: Oliver Sacks on Narrative as the Pillar of Identity – Brain Pickings

Wherein a person:

We have, each of us, a life-story, an inner narrative — whose continuity, whose sense, is our lives. It might be said that each of us constructs and lives, a “narrative,” and that this narrative is us, our identities.

If we wish to know about a man, we ask “what is his story — his real, inmost story?” — for each of us is a biography, a story. Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, through, and in us — through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives — we are each of us unique.

“Such a patient,” Sacks writes of the inventive amnesiac man, “must literally make himself (and his world) up every moment.” And yet that is precisely what we are all doing in a certain sense, to a certain degree, as we continually make ourselves and our world up through the stories we tell ourselves and others.

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  1. self
  2. biography
  3. stories

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