Podcast – Episode 0380 – The Value In Deconstructing Your Narratives

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about the value of deconstructing your narratives and replacing them with systems thinking.


In this podcast you’ll find:

  • What happens when we use old narratives or scripts to explain new technology?
    • How do we understand what is happening technologically around us?
    • Why our minds’ scripts aren’t ready for these technologies.
    • Why the rise in cryptocurrency is making us scramble.
    • What is digital scarcity and why is it being created?
    • What rules have to do with technology.
  • How powerful our narratives really are.
    • What exactly are our narratives?
    • Why do humans like narratives so much?
    • Why understanding our stories is so crucial.
    • When new tools or technologies threaten our narratives.
  • Knowing the difference between tools and narratives.
    • When we seek narratives instead of understanding tools.
    • Why we often look for “shoulds” in our lives.
    • What narrative do Te (Effectiveness) types use that make them so good in business?
    • What other narratives are more abstract in our lives?
    • Understanding Myers-Briggs® as a tool.
  • Ways we choose our narratives.
    • The particular cognitive functions that deeply define everyone’s personal narratives.
  • When our narratives are too simple.
    • Why the first automobiles and cryptocurrency are so similar.
    • What is black box thinking?
    • Does black box thinking damage the human mind?
    • When people turn Myers-Briggs® into a narrative.
    • The very dangerous thing we each are doing.
  • What Myers-Briggs® and David Kiersey did with Jungian teachings.
    • What happens when concepts are packaged for accessibility?
    • The resistance Personality Hacker has with narratives.
  • How do we break from our attachment to our narratives?
    • Are we our stories?
    • The purposes in deconstructing our narratives.
    • What attachment, or lack thereof, means to us.
    • Ways our identity gets tangled with our narratives.
    • Why disagreement between narratives is so intense.
  • Comparing modern narratives to the past.
    • Is shallow thinking overrunning us today?
    • The modern challenge we face for our narratives.
    • Who are we letting influence us?
    • What modern academia got mixed up.
  • Do any of us really become ‘woke’?
    • When you gain a meta-perspective from your narratives.
    • What your assumptions have to do with all this.
  • When we experience a ‘narrative vacuum.’
    • Why technological disruption is getting so hard on us.
    • Is idiocracy around the corner?
  • Is there hope in all the complexity we face?
    • Seeking the antidotes to these narrative difficulties.
    • Why you can do these 3 things to make a significant change.
    • The crucial thing we each can do right now.


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Showing 15 comments
  • LD

    Excellent podcast. I am finally to the point where I can hear Antonia’s POV without going straight to rage, and I pinpointed why in this podcast: I am still in the space where deconstructing and analysing certain belief systems feels like teetering out onto the edge of a skyscraper and hoping that I know enough about the current conditions not to plunge to my death. To obtain this amount of clarity thanks to a shorter podcast is somewhat amazing to me. Thank you the work you’re doing in the type community—I always find it useful even when I don’t agree, and often I learn enough to see your point of view.

  • Anonymous

    False narratives that need to be deconstructed:

    -COVID-19 is a real virus (it’s not, it does not exist, they have never proven it exists, they have never isolated it)

    -space agencies go into space and to other planets (they never leave Earth, it’s all fraud)

    -vaccines prevent sickness (they don’t)

    -the mainstream news media tells the truth (they don’t, they lie about everything)

    -modern medicine is the ideal way to prevent and treat disease (it isn’t, it’s a big scam)

    -the law is fair and impartial (it isn’t, it’s corrupt, and Legalese looks like English, but it isn’t, because all of the words in Legalese have different definitions from English, so the courts are stacked against you)

    -school contains true and useful information for students to help them succeed in the world (it doesn’t, it is a combination of lies (to make you believe the false narratives the controllers of this world want you to believe to forever remain their slave) and obedience training to be an obedient slave to your master/boss at a slave job)

    -the money system is the best system or the only system for human society (it isn’t, a setup where everything is free would be far superior)

    -competition is necessary in business and in all avenues of human endeavor (it isn’t. Competition is only necessary in sports and events that require it (competitive tv shows, reality shows). Co-operation is far superior for most human activities, because it brings people closer together, and the output is far superior.)

    -Anal sex is valid sexual intercourse (it isn’t. The rectum is designed for the elimination of waste ONLY, it is NOT made for sexual intercourse.)

    -Trangenders are a valid sex, and sex reassignment surgery changes their sex to the one they feel like (In truth, transgenders will always be the sex they are born as, even after sex reassignment surgery. Transgenders suffer from a disorder of the mind called gender dysphoria. Sex reassignment surgery does not change the sex they were born as.)

    -Global warming / climate change is a real phenomenon, and we must fight it (Global warming / climate change is a nonsense scam invented by globalist elites, primarily the elitist Club of Rome in the 1970’s, as a way to transition to a tyrannical one-world government controlled by these same psychopathic globalist elitist families. Geo-engineering / chemtrails is one way these psychopaths alter the environment and weather.)

    -Anti-black racism is the most prevalent one today (This is false. Anti-white racism / discrimination is actually far more prevalent: in television shows and commercials, in movies, in employment hiring policies (like the BBC’s Diversity & Inclusion policy, where they actively exclude white job applicants), in school admission policies (like affirmative action).)

    -Men and women are equal (This is false. Men and women are different, with different characteristics, so they can never be equal.)

    -Women belong in every sphere of employment (This is false. Women are not physically suited for many jobs, like soldier, firefighter, and police officer. Most women (unless they have Thnking-type personalities) do not have the intellectual aptitude or interest for more abstract or intellectual work: engineer, scientist, inventor, philosopher, programmer, etcetera.)

    -Women belong in leadership positions at work and in politics (This is false. Women are not suited for leadership positions anywhere because of their irrational emotional nature. Women desire to be led and they make horrible leaders. Leadership should forever remain the exclusive domain of men.)

    -Women who make sexual harassment allegations always tell the truth (False. More of them are probably lying.)

    -Men need to get married to be real men (False. The Men Going Their Own Way / bachelor lifestyle proves this narrative false.)

    • Antonia Dodge

      It’s easy to pick on society. It’s much more difficult to turn this level of criticism on your own narratives.


      • Anonymous

        But which one is more important to question?

        If people were not the unconscious, stupid, dishonest, hypocritical, gullible, phony, narcississtic, hedonistic, empathy-lacking, money-worshipping, materialistic, truth-hating and truth-mocking, walking dead, this world would not be a dump.

        It is NOT more important to question personal narratives than societal ones. Most personal narratives (99 to 100 percent) are lies anyway because they are based on the false premise of a separate self that needs to be changed, fixed, or improved. Who you really are has nothing to do with humanity or this 3D illusion.

        Very few people question the dominant societal narratives, most of which were deliberately crafted by people incapable of empathy hungering to control humanity.

        • Antonia Dodge

          They are equally important, as they inform each other, so whichever one is more focused upon diagnoses the other as one’s blind spot.

  • John Gilmore

    This was really solid and exciting to hear. I feel like You’re getting better and better at interfacing together, letting each other develop lines of thoughts, and improving the clarity of each other’s arguments/ideas. Antonia seems to be understanding better and better that when she illuminates her line of thinking it is very valuable and needn’t be apologized for even if lengthy. Joel is bringing really interesting frames. You guys are doing great work, and though you may have notes, I believe this is mostly done on the fly? And so, sure, not every open mic is going to hit the nail on the head, but one of the great things about how you keep doing this week after week is that some of them are going to be breaking new ground in a way that nobody else out there could do.

    • john gilmore

      Oh and also, on blockchain: It’s super interesting to think of how the narrative causes confusion. When you only have a narrative like “cryptocurrency” or even “NFT,” It’s kind of like having a narrative for the internet in the 90s of “online shopping.” Then the bubble bursts and everybody thinks “that was overrated” instead of understanding that the specifics of that narrative (like the pets.com story) were too limited; a broader narrative (like “world wide web” for example) could have been a bit more predictive, but ultimately understanding the tool is the best way to enable actual predictive understanding of the future.

      If you understand the tool a little better, like for example thinking of blockchain as making data-changes instantaneously verifiable at different locations without need for 3rd-party (not quite as catchy as DOGECOIN is it), you can start to extrapolate how blockchain technology will bring changes to whatever corner of the world you live in.

      You can also see how the tool itself is not entirely new but is related to ongoing changes.

      I’m a bookkeeper. Bookkeepers fundamentally exist to reconcile financial data between parties. A couple decades ago you got a bank statement reconciliation in the mail and did it that way. A decade ago you were getting it digitally as a pdf monthly. 5 years ago bank APIs started becoming good enough for companies (like intuit) to implement useful bank feeds that provide reconciliation on about a daily basis.

      Technology will continue to speed this up over the next couple decades to instantaneous reconciliation of a transaction, making bookkeeping less relevant. you can call some of this technology blockchain.

      I happened to write about this on my newsletter this week: everythingeveryweek.substack.com/

  • Sarah Martinez

    I have a question for Joel. When you said after hiring lawyers to perform specific tasks for you that you would catch yourself asking alot what was the “right” way to do something. My question is do you think your religious upbringing had anything to do with that type of thinking? Due to most religions encouraging asking how the “right” thing should be done? Just thinking out loud here
    -sarah Martinez ESTP

    • Joel Mark Witt

      Thanks Sarah for the question.

      In this case – I define “right way” as the way “the system” wants it to be setup.

      For example… if I am sued in court… how do I create documents and agreements so they are done the “right way” as to not lose our legal standing. I have a belief that lawyers love to find fault with paperwork details and procedural mistakes in order to win cases on technicalities not merit.

      I’m sure my religious upbringing also plays in my life – but in this case it’s less of a moral “right way” and more questions of…

      “How does ‘the system’ expect this to be done?”

      “Will I be punished (and how) if I don’t fill out that third box on the second form?”

      “Who in the future will say this setup or document or process is illegitimate because I didn’t follow standard X… or procedure Y… or fill out triplicate form Z?”

      So I think as an ENFP it’s mostly a blind spot of my 3-Year-Old Introverted Sensing process – not a statement of my moral pursuits.

  • Robert McCaskey

    This podcast on narratives really hits a lot of nails on the head! I’ve worked in the aerospace industry since 1970 and I’ve watched everything you talk about happen.

    In 1970 we had to understand how the overall systems worked, and we relied on slide rules to help do calculations – no one had a calculator or a computer on their desk. (With a slide rule you had to understand the scale of problem, because you had to know where to put the decimal point. With calculators, a number can appear ‘precise’ to dozens of decimals places, and people can’t recognize when the answer is absurd). As digital technologies began to be used in the work space, there emerged a new breed of people who made us write down how we had accomplished a project that was thought to be successful. These ‘new breeders’ didn’t understand either the systems or the engineering & science, but they were masters at writing down processes and checklists, and convinced the managers that all anyone needed to do was to follow all the processes and procedures that became increasingly easy to create (and endlessly expand) as personal computers became commonplace.

    I’m not against the idea of creating procedures & processes, and using technology – at least not until they become so entrenched that it becomes possible to create the appearance of an ‘integrated system’ without anyone understanding the underlying principles and engineering, and eventually not even understanding the purposes of the system in the first place.

    Read up on the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) if you want a good example of making everyone think the same, speak the same, do the same, etc, etc. CMMI certification has become a requirement to even being allowed to bid for work in lots of the aerospace industry.

    Your observation that we need to learn ‘how to think, not what to think’ especially hit home as I have said those same words countless times, in an attempt to push back against the overemphasis on following procedures without carefully thinking about how they are (or are not) appropriate for the task at hand.

    In the last 20 years or so – with the advent of the smart phones and ‘apps’ that this podcast describes – the emphasis on what-thought instead of how-thought jumped, like a virus, out of corporate cubicle bays into every aspect of our lives – all it takes now will be a power outage to illustrate how little we still know how to do.

    Great podcast!!!

  • Leanne Hunt

    Listening to this episode helped me formulate my own thoughts around conversation, sometimes considered a lost art. So much depends on the kind of knowledge we claim to have, whether it be fact/ideology-based, method-based, opinion-based or experience-based. The narratives we share in conversation can either open up discussion or shut it down, and we ourselves can feel either enriched or frustrated. I share my thoughts in more detail in a post on my blog, blindhorsewoman.blogspot.com/2021/04/refining-art-of-conversation-from.html

  • Leeann

    Great episode. Seems like this episode prompted the recall of favorite quotes for everyone. For me, it brought to mind one of my many favorites from Kevin Smith’s 1999 film, Dogma.

    Rufus: I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life should be malleable and progressive, working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can’t generate. Life becomes stagnant.

    Great episode, inspiring, thought provoking, and unexpectedly nostalgic. 🙂 Thanks!

  • Per Emil Svare

    Narratives is really interesting. I recommend the book “Narrative Change: How Changing the Story Can Transform Society, Business, and Ourselves”

  • Joe Schmo

    Favorite podcast. Favorite episode. Very relevant. Gateway to understanding and compassion found.

  • Josette

    Loved the ideas discussed in this episode. Reminds me of my favorite quote: “if everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” Similarly it reminds me of what I’ve heard called the second singularity – where we rely so much on technology that we lose expertise. After awhile no one is left who understands the code and those people who don’t understand the code or ideas behind the tool are the ones training everyone else. Massive mistakes ensue. The second singularity is happening to the industry I work in – which is, sad to say, a scientific industry. Scientists should be furious about this. And free thinkers should be furious about outsourcing thought for profit. Or for anything. I’m anti-anti. 😋

    I think what makes conversations discussing different world views difficult is when they get low and cutting. A lot of people don’t want to talk to someone who says they are an idiot for thinking differently. Similarly people don’t want to be ostracized for thinking. If behind idealism is forgiveness and compassion then that includes leaving the zero sum game. Adopting a scientific mind is one route toward doing that – where the goal is only to get closer and closer to the truth.

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