Shared narratives: summary and examples

Shared narratives are beliefs unique to smart people, that cross ideological/political divides. Shared narratives are a subset of ‘intellectualism culture’.

Some examples:

–Facts and accuracy precedes values

–Correctness is more important than consensus

–The general sense that society neglects its smart and talented, such as in public school

–Revulsion of reductionist discourse that tries to reduce everything to a good vs. evil framework

–That democracy tends to give a voice/elevates the loudest and most naive of the issues

–That society is dumbing-down and lowering standards (I disagree with this one, but it’s a common sentiment)

–That youth, college students are being coddled and are overly sensitive to ‘dangerous ideas’ (the whole issue of safe spaces, trigger warnings, campus protests, blocking/dis-inviting speakers, etc.)

–Distrust or suspicion of technology, or how modernity leads to ennui, envy, and or enables the ‘surveillance state’

–That mainstream political parties and the mainstream media tend to feed off emotion than logic

–The general sense that society is broken, in distress, or irreparably damaged

–General distrust and dislike of ideologues, zealotry, authoritarianism, conformity, political correctness, excessive moralizing and sentimentalism of issues, and censorship

–That society is becoming increasingly Orwellian or Huxlean.

There are also ‘shard experiences‘ such as:

–Preparing and cramming for difficult college exams

–Telling jokes many don’t understand

–Being bored easily in primary and secondary school

–No being understood by society and finding ‘normie culture’ alienating and tedious

–Choosing traditionalism over conservatism (the latter which has been infected by political correctness and corporatism)

–Intense focus and dedication and obsession on an intellectual task

–Wondering why society/the rest of the world is slow slow to pick up on things that are so obvious to yourself

–Taking advanced courses in high school; gifted programs

–Discussing ‘smart’ topics such as economics, philosophy, STEM, political science, etc. with other smart people

–Majoring in STEM, economics, history, philosophy, literature, etc. (any subject that is enriching and intellectually rigorous)

Things that are neither:

–Watching a TV series (such as Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad) or any sort of entertainment for mass-consumption

–Death of family/loved ones

–Road rage/being bored in traffic

–Hating your boss

–Voting, engaging in civic duty such as jury duty

–Attending college but dropping out, or majoring in a ‘worthless’ subject

As an example of how shared narratives can help articles go viral, this article from the New York Times which went viral several days ago The Importance of Dumb Mistakes in College employs numerous shared narratives, such as about technology and about how social media is the digital equivalent of the panopicon:

Today’s students live their lives so publicly — through the technology we provide them without training — that much simpler errors than mine earn them the wrath of the entire internet.

If a Williams student spray-painted “Corporate Deathburgers” on a local building today (not that they ever would), it wouldn’t be hard to imagine someone posting the security footage online. Then the outraged calls and emails and tweets would pour in, demanding that the college disavow Deathburger values. I’d be writing news releases explaining that at Williams we take Deathburgers very seriously. There would be op-eds about the Deathburger problem on American campuses today. And the video would live on: another student weighed down by the detritus of his or her online life.

Technology, but more specifically, the permanence and omnipresence of the internet, makes every mistake and transgression a permanent mark on one’s ‘personal record’ that is life, not just limited to school.

Shard narratives also explain why Jordan Peterson and sites such as are so popular both among the high-IQ and and high-IQ right, who agree that far-left liberalism and postmodernism (as in the rejection of absolutes and objective truths) are antithetical to not only the free exchange of ideas, but reality itself, and that how colleges, instead of opening minds to new ideas, are protecting them from potentially ‘offensive’ ones.