In the industrialized world, most people buy their food rather than raise it themselves. If money can’t buy you a meal, the currency has little value. Mass starvation happens throughout history, in the recent past, and right now. Hunger is constant. Temporarily relieved, you may forget it even exists. If you couldn’t purchase food at the market, how much food could you get by hunting, gathering, and growing?
Though we may not even understand our own feelings, we can find them expressed in music, books, and movies. Other people have had similar life experiences and through their stories we can better understand ourselves. Culture creates the context to relate more intimately with other people.
It’s not easy to find a value that everyone shares. Your job, your community, your nation: all inform your values. Values are conscious and unconscious beliefs about life.
Who you are with your family can be different from who you are at work. An identity that is useful in one situation could be abhorrent in another. Creating an identity is natural, it can happen without conscious manipulation. You have a core identity that adapts around the edges to accommodate each situation. An individual can do many things but the useful action comes to the fore. It becomes your role in society.
Reality is reduced to a story so it can be understood, even if only primitively. There are limits to stories: the perspective of the narrator, the method of delivery, what can be understood by the listener. We have only a story. But the story is important—it informs our behavior.
At all times, everywhere I go, a story about life informs my decisions. Ultimately, our stories are about relationships, the rules and expectations of a social being. Your idea of your relationship to the world determines how you act within it.
We interpret reality through stories received from our family, our community, our nation. Our understanding of reality is an approximation, an attempt to synthesize awareness into intellectual structure.