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The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang — Subterranean Press

https://web.archive.org/web/20140222103103/http://subterraneanpress.com/magazine/fall_2013/the_truth_of_fact_the_truth_of_feeling_by_ted_chiang

“People are made of stories. Our memories are not the impartial accumulation of every second we’ve lived; they’re the narrative that we assembled out of selected moments. Which is why, even when we’ve experienced the same events as other individuals, we never constructed identical narratives: the criteria used for selecting moments were different for each of us, and a reflection of our personalities. Each of us noticed the details that caught our attention and remembered what was important to us, and the narratives we built shaped our personalities in turn.”

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Just finished reading SUM Forty Tales From The Afterlives by David Eagleman. It has forty short, humorous, and witty stories from the “afterlives” (for there are more varieties of after-lifes than any particular religion might have taught.)

This excerpt is from the story “Oz”, in which only the courageous in the afterlife can see God face-to-face:

“A great journey awaits. Along the way you face fears and conquer them, identify streams of self-doubt and ford them, discern the peaks of your arrogance and descend them, spot the clouds of self-pity that hang over you and hike out from under them. By the time the road ends, you emerge with renewed confidence – ready, you believe, to meet your maker, to face the face, to perceive a glimpse of the mastermind who crafted the masterpiece.”

To me, the first two sentences seem to be great advice for our present life. You will “emerge with renewed confidence,” ready to succeed at whatever you set out to do, regardless of whether or not you think there is an afterlife.

So be brave and walk your journey, for greatness awaits you!

Italo Calvino:

“I began doing what came most naturally to me – that is, following the memory of the things I had loved best since boyhood. Instead of making myself write the book I ought to write, the novel that was expected of me, I conjured up the book I myself would have liked to read, the sort by an unknown writer, from another age and another country, discovered in an attic.”