Excavating Identity

I get edgy when I think someone is too attached to a theory. They’re all theories in my book, some with better evidence than others. And, so often we as genealogists go through struggles about evidence and conclusions when someone really wants a particular result.

  • “Humans add narrativium [“narrative causality”] to their world. They insist on interpreting the universe as if it’s telling a story. This leads them to focus on facts that fit the story, while ignoring those that don’t.” (Terry Pratchett, Discworld I:233)
  • “Our minds make stories, and stories make our minds. Each culture’s Make-a-Human kit is built from stories, and maintained by stories. A story can be a rule for living according to one’s culture, a useful survival trick, a clue to the grandeur of the universe, or a mental hypothesis about what might happen if we pursue a particular course. Stories map out the phase space of existence.” (Terry Pratchett, Discworld II: 327).

Good Reading

Caution: These reading suggestions include two different but related meanings of the word genealogy. First, the study of family history (Pratchett). And second, the philosophical study of the origin of cultural systems (Nietzsche; Foucault). Take what works for you and leave the rest.

Edited June 6, 2020 to repair broken links and to add a disclaimer.