About Life Stories

When you want to build a Story-Based-Game the best way to interview is to ask people about their Life-story. Let us first have a look at the The Foley Center.  The Foley Center of Northwestern University is specialized in Life Stories.

Dan P. McAdams of the Foley Center uses Agency and Communion as the major “modalities in the existence of living forms“. These two modalities may be viewed as two thematic clusterings in life narratives, each articulating important life goals, strivings, needs, and desires”.  When I read the articles of McAdams it was not difficult to see that he was using Interpersonal Theory .

Because I was able to map Interpersonal Theory to The Theory of Will McWhinney . I was able to to open up a huge potential to litterally Play with Life Stories. Will has also mapped his World Views to Games Levels.

When you consider a Life Story as a Narrative a mapping to the Theory of Bakhtin about Chronotopes is also very helpful.

When you use the concept of the Chronotope you will see that a life-story takes Place in a named Time/Place-continuum (A House, The Office,). So not only ask When an Event took place but also Where it took place. A place is are very important factor in a life story. Many people remember the atmosphere of a Place. The House I was born felt Warm and Cosey. In my office I felt Alone.

When we had a look at the thoughts of Bahktin about Context we realized that we were really trying to describe a Situation and that other Actors in the Situation also plaid an important Role (Father, Mother, Manager, …..). So not only ask Where and When but also Who was playing an important Role.

Many people are unable to make a distinction between the Self (I AM) and the Role they are playing in a Situation. This is an important cause of conflicts. When you are a Manager you have to play the Manager and not be the Manager.

A life story is a Sequence of Situations that are always started by a CRITICAL Event. There a many ways to classify Events but a simple classification is a high point, a low point or a turning point.

In his book Paths of Change Will explains that there a many “Strategies” to change a life and of course a Life Story. Every connection of a World View to another World View can be considered a Change, a Conflict, a Game or a Dialogue.

An Event is related to the the World View Sensory. Sensory People view the world as a Causal Chain. When an Event takes place the Emotions come into play. Emotions are related to the Social World View.

According to Nico Frijda:

  • An emotion is usually caused by a person consciously or unconsciously evaluating an event as relevant to a concern that is important; the emotion is felt as positive when a concern is advanced and negative when a concern is impeded.
  •  The core of an emotion is readiness to act and the prompting of plans; an emotion gives priority for one or a few kinds of actions to which it gives a sense of urgency – so it can interrupt, or compete with, alternative mental processes or actions. Different types of readiness create different outline relationships with others
  • An emotion is usually experienced as a distinctive type of mental state, sometimes accompanied or followed by bodily changes, expressions, actions“.

Emotions Evaluate a Situation. When they Evaluate a Situation they use a Concern to Priotize. When they are able to priotize with ease or when the Event is Dangerous the Action is Unconscious. When a dangerous event takes place the Reptile Brain starts to work and the only re-actions that are possible are Fight, Flight and Freeze.

When a Major Event happens the priotization becomes Conscious. The Actor has to make a Decision. This decision is crucial for the next step (a new Situation).

When you have a look at (or feel, or listen to, ) Life Stories the Process of Decision Making is the most important factor. Socials always feel what the Others are doing or start to take care. Unities start to manage and want to restore Order. Sensories take care of Themselves (Ego) and Mythics want to restore harmony. What we see here is the Self-refererence of the Model of Will McWhinney. Inside the Emotions the World Views are again at play.

If we know how people Evaluate we are able to learn a lot about their Personality.

When we look at the Chronotopes of Bahktin we also know their Favorite Life Narrative. A Sensory uses the Chronotope of Destiny. His or her life is a sequence of events that are just happening.

A Social uses the Biography, the praise of a public figure who has accomplished something in life. When he has not accomplished anything his life is worthless. He is a total failure.

A Mythic is always searching for something (The Grale). His story is described by the Chronotope of Adventure. Deep inside the Mythic wants to find Rest and Harmony. When he finally finds Rest he feels the urge to move on. Therefore the Life of a Mythic is full of Turning Points.

When we know the Favorite Life Narrative we also know “How to Help“. A Social needs to be re-valuated. He needs a tap on the shoulder. He needs to be praised.

A Sensory has to stop to Wait and See. He needs to do something and learn from his mistakes. Somebody has to tell him that others have made the same mistake and he is able to prevent mistakes by looking (!!) at other life stories of comparable people. The most important persons could be his father or mother. They also have made mistakes and when they just tell their children frankly what they did many children would simply learn from the parents.

I hope you understand why the theory of Roger Schank is so important. His theory is able to help the Unity/Sensory-combination (Experts or Craftsman) and this combination covers about 80% of the people in Western Civilization.

Roger has now created an impressive Virtual School for Children all over the World. He is teaching children to learn a CRAFT again. He is not teaching THEORY but he is giving children the opportunity to ACT in REAL LIFE SITUATIONS. He is teaching them to become a Nurse or an Engineer. Craftmanship is HIGLHY needed in the underveloped countries.

The Virtual School is FOR FREE. It is financed by people who want to take care of the poor children in the World. The Virtual High School is using Games and it able to train Children to move to the level of the University within a very short time (max 8 years). Roger has made connections to Famous Universities in the US. They are also giving away their educational content (again Games developed by Roger Schank!) for free.

Funny enough I was unable to find anybody in the Netherlands who just wanted to try out his Virtual School. Every School and University in The Netherlands is re-inventing the Wheel. This is a Rule. The Dutch Government is spending billions to create something that is already available. This is also a Rule. If you want to know more send me an EMAIL.

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