Narrative Quotes (9 quotes)
“Life on Earth” [a 12-part TV series on evolution] was easier than “The Living Planet” because you have 2,000 years of narrative thrust built in. … You begin, say, with a giant jellyfish, then a fish with lungs which then became a frog. And all you have to do is say, “If you want to know what happens next, tune in next week.”
As regards religion, on the other hand, one is generally agreed that it deals with goals and evaluations and, in general, with the emotional foundation of human thinking and acting, as far as these are not predetermined by the inalterable hereditary disposition of the human species. Religion is concerned with man’s attitude toward nature at large, with the establishing of ideals for the individual and communal life, and with mutual human relationship. These ideals religion attempts to attain by exerting an educational influence on tradition and through the development and promulgation of certain easily accessible thoughts and narratives (epics and myths) which are apt to influence evaluation and action along the lines of the accepted ideals.
Bowing to the reality of harried lives, Rudwick recognizes that not everyone will read every word of the meaty second section; he even explicitly gives us permission to skip if we get ‘bogged down in the narrative.’ Readers absolutely must not do such a thing; it should be illegal. The publisher should lock up the last 60 pages, and deny access to anyone who doesn’t pass a multiple-choice exam inserted into the book between parts two and three.
Educators may bring upon themselves unnecessary travail by taking a tactless and unjustifiable position about the relation between scientific and religious narratives. … The point is that profound but contradictory ideas may exist side by side, if they are constructed from different materials and methods and have different purposes. Each tells us something important about where we stand in the universe, and it is foolish to insist that they must despise each other.
If the great story of the last century was the conflict among various political ideologies—communism, fascism and democracy—then the great narrative of this century will be the changes wrought by astonishing scientific breakthroughs
Our enmity to the serpent, which often exists together with a mythic and anthropomorphic belief in the serpent’s enmity to us, might be regarded as purely traditional, having its origin in the Scriptural narrative of man’s disobedience and expulsion from Paradise.
Scientific practice is above all a story-telling practice. ... Biology is inherently historical, and its form of discourse is inherently narrative. ... Biology as a way of knowing the world is kin to Romantic literature, with its discourse about organic form and function. Biology is the fiction appropriate to objects called organisms; biology fashions the facts “discovered” about organic beings.
The desire to preserve to future ages the memory of past achievements is a universal human instinct, as witness the clay tablets of old Chaldea, the hieroglyphs of the obelisks, our countless thousands of manuscripts and printed volumes, and the gossiping old story-teller of the village or the backwoods cabin. The reliability of the record depends chiefly on the truthfulness of the recorder and the adequacy of the method employed. In Asia, the cradle of civilization, authentic history goes back thousands of years; in Europe the record begins much later, while in America the aboriginal narrative, which may be considered as fairly authentic, is all comprised within a thousand years.
The history of Science is not a mere record of isolated discoveries; it is a narrative of the conflict of two contending powers, the expansive force of the human intellect on one side, and the compression arising from traditionary faith and human interests on the other.