Narrative Psychology: The Storied Nature of Human Conduct

By Theodore R. Sarbin | Go to book overview

somehow be assimilated into one's self-narrative, should the adventure be one that is survived.

Adventure is truly described as an escape, as a release from the dead and deadly. It is creative and constructive, even as it is sportive and risky. It is life-creating and enhancing, even as it departs from the hard material seriousness of the rational world. Adventure creates story and contributes to the realization of completed identities. Seriousness is at risk in every venturing forth. But without the venturing forth there is no seriousness. Without the possibility of adventure, domesticity becomes a ludicrous reduction of life, and cannot be serious. Also, seriousness reasserts itself inevitably at the last to characters constructed by even the most frivolous series of naked spasms. Some see this restoration to seriousness as one of the moral advantages of death and war. The search for equivalents continues.

Acknowledgments : I owe a debt of gratitude to Ted Sarbin for reading an initial draft of this manuscript and for making a number of suggestions for change. I also wish to express appreciation to Ken Gergen and John Shotter, who organized a symposium at the "International Conference on Self and Identity" held at Cardiff, Wales, in July 1984. At that conference an initial and abbreviated version of this chapter was presented.


NOTES
1.
The source of this and much additional information in this chapter concerning gambling is the report of the U.S. Presidential Commission on the Review of National Policy Toward Gambling, based on survey research conducted in 1974 ( Kallick, Suits, Dielman, & Hybels, 1979).
2.
The necessity of relating the adventure leads to the observation that the photographic industry has probably done more to promote the tourist industry than the tourist industry has done to promote photography, which is the usual way of regarding the matter.
3.
It is interesting to note that hunting and fishing, skilled activities which once constituted the most serious of human work, and war, the most serious of human conflicts, have been transformed into sports in the modern era. And activities performed purely for pleasure, such as playing baseball, football, or racing horses, have become serious professional businesses. These are further examples of transformations to and from the ludic.

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