Are we our fictions? The narrative boundaries of self.



Revisiting Dawkin’s proposal of memes – a piece of thought copied from person to person – raises the question: can narrative, and by extension narratology, be utilized to explore the ‘infecting’, or transferring agent of cultural ideas, identity and the creation of self? Intriguingly, and perhaps even more relevant to the role of emergent models and the shifting divide between engineered and organic constructions, what role does media play in the fabrication of self? This article proposes to examine various attempts to define modes of being using the formative and delimiting lens of narrative. It will investigate the role of media as the carrier agent for memetic modes of being, and their application in creating and sustaining cultural individuation. Jung’s declarative of the collective unconscious and archetypes, as well as Hofstadter’s loops, a common, but neglected field of enquiry that interrogates how memetic transference begins with the stories we tell, will inform the exploration of narrative as a means to define, delineate and bound the self.