Necessary Luck

The Ottawa Citizen reprinted (Saturday, January 21, 1989) an essay “Our clever but shallow 3-minute culture” by Michael Ignatieff which had previously appeared in the British newspaper The Independent. The introduction pits depth against randomness:

With great insight and originality, Canadian-born journalist and author Michael Ignatieff describes and decries a society that has replaced depth and narrative with cleverness and randomness.

I have encountered elsewhere the trope of tension between narrative in opposition to the workings of chance. There (in an article by Marie-Laure Ryan) I was struck by the invocation of coherence. Here there is a hint that some of us use narrative for purposes other than those described by Ignatieff:

Right across the media, we have replaced narrative with flow, connection with disconnection, sequence with randomness. The cost is to our memory. Narrative is a mnemonic device: stories help us to remember meanings through time. When narrative goes, amnesia begins.

Narrative has other purposes. One of them being the generation of noise. Another the inducement of forgetting.

And so for day 136

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