I recently read an article by Jim Corder called “Argument as Emergence, Rhetoric as Love.” It Was a very interesting article and very beautifully written. He argues that we all are authors of our own stories, but we are not often very talented story tellers. In a fictional text, characters often suffer from poor decision making. In our own narratives, we usually suffer from the same sort of malady. We make decisions, that in retrospect, are rather poor. These decisions affect our narratives as much as they would a character’s narrative. The problem here is that in fiction everything has to make some sort of sense. Life is not like that. You don’t have the foresight or methodical planning going on in your life as an author does when creating a character and deciding what path for them to take. Like the protagonist of some great story, we all have a fatal flaw that prevents us from seeing the world as all it could be.
This is not exclusive to our narrative. Sometimes other people’s narratives coincide with our own. How smoothly that collision occurs can affect our own narratives tremendously like a hurricane can affect a house or a breeze can affect a person on a warm day. We never know how many hurricanes someone has experienced or how much one event can remind of a painful past. We need to treat other people’s narratives as just as important as our own. For example, if Katniss, Tris, and Maximum Ride had an awesome club, they could live with each other instead of trying to overpower one another. They are separate stories with different backgrounds, but they could all mesh together to form a cohesive structure that intertwines all of their idiosyncrasies into one pattern.
All this to say, I mostly agree with what Corder had to say. We are all the makers of our own destinies and we need to respect that not everyone else’s destiny is not the same as our own. After all, “Some men are born to plough fields, some live to be great physicians, others to be great kings.” You have to respect the people that have been born to serve as much as the ones who have been born to rule.