Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Because smiling, happy Swedes are rare, and we also believe that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. However, current research show that optimism, instead of being a virtue, it is a brain malfunction. Another term could be folk-psychologically insane.

Our thesis supervisor have given us a small stack of Jerome Bruner books on narratives and story-making and with titles like Actual minds, possible worlds, we are enjoying every page of it. In Acts of Meaning he pretty much, in his own meta-academic manner, sums up a lot of our feeling-driven behaviour;

But we also know that desire may lead us to find meanings in contexts where others might not. /.../ This reciprocal relation between perceived states of the world and one's desires, each affecting the other, creates a subtle dramatism about human action which also informs the narrative structure of folk psychology. When anybody is seen to believe or desire or act in a way that fails to take the state of the world into account, to commit a truly gratuitous act, he is judged to be folk-psychologically insane unless he as an agent can be narratively reconstructed as being in the grip of mitigating quandary or of crushing circumstances. It may take a searching judicial trial in real life or a whole novel in fiction to effect such a reconstrual. But folk psychology has room for such reconstruals: "truth is stranger than fiction."