Narrative gravity

From Memetics

Narrative Gravity[edit]


this fits quite well into the larger memetics based framework, that examines the self, the self as a fractal set of masks[1][2], but to the masks there is a sense of gravity that is a type of anchor to the narrative or memes, for instance : memetic gravity and memetic entropy

paper link[edit] :


from[3] : 

"Dennett starts by describing the physical concept of a centre of gravity. It is not, he correctly points out, “an atom or a subatomic particle or any other physical item in the world.” (p.1) Lacking all physical properties except for a spatio-temporal location, it is “an abstractum… a fictional object” (p.2) Likewise, Dennett claims; “A self is also an abstract object, a theorist’s fiction.” (p.2)"

excerpt taken from [4]:[edit]

"In his essay The Self as a Center of Narrative Gravity Daniel Dennett presents an interesting approach to the self that contrasts with the Ego Theory.

A center of gravity is a useful theoretical fiction in physics. Though we think of it as something physical or something in the physical world, it is only a concept or abstraction that has no mass or charge or density. A center of gravity only has a spatio-temporal location, which shifts as the mass of the object shifts and changes.

A center of narrative gravity is a fictional character. Much like the main character in a novel can be written with a personality, a set of dispositions, a history, plans for the future, and other characteristics. The self as a center of narrative gravity is something similar. As with fictional characters (say, characters in a novel), the self is not determinant on some dimensions. That is, there are some properties for which it is neither true nor false whether the self is that way. But a fictional character is something we can talk about and often we can predict and perhaps debate intelligibly what a character would do if something were to happen to it. For example, What would Sherlock Holmes order for breakfast? or What would Holmes say if Watson got married? The character plays a part in the story, unifying events and activities. Central character is the center around which the story revolves.

How is this character created? By whom? In a novel there is an author who intentionally creates the character. But the idea for us is to explain how the self can emerge without positing another self that creates it. Suppose we have a computer program that can write stories. Now suppose we put that story-writing program in a perceptive robot that then writes stories about what happens to the robot. The robot alone is not a self (and has no sense of self). But the central character in its stories will be a fictional character in the content of the stories (the plot or storyline) that will closely resemble what actually happens to the robot. We can treat this central character as real, even though it is a character in a novel. And our understanding of this character will likely be rich enough to allow us to make predictions about what the character would do under different imagined circumstances.

So on Dennett's view you are a center of narrative gravity–a fictional character in a story written by a program in your brain. It is reasonable to think that this ability of brains to spin out a narrative of the events around them would have an adaptive advantage from an evolutionary point of view. Creating and using that character to make plans, steer actions, and make sense of the large stream of activities in which the brain and body are involved would be very useful.

Perhaps we find evidence for this theory in split brain patients, who have to talk to themselves to find out what is going on in one hemisphere of their brain. The full narrative isn't available to the nonlinguistic part of the brain and so they seem to be missing some access to themselves.

But even for normal brains, we sometimes have to ask questions of ourselves to find out the full story. The larger narrative might be incorrect or incomplete or inaccessible. In a sense you are part of the audience for the narrative, though because it is your brain and body the story is about, you would know the story better than anyone else. But we can misjudge ourselves and surprise ourselves, etc."

end excerpt from :


bias can be a stand in for fake news or outrage, but it is linked to the feedback loop that is created by this type of gravity. see