Reading: A Matter of Identity by Oliver Sacks

We have, each of us, a life story, an inner narrative – whose continuity, whose sense, is our lives. It might be said that each of us constructs and lives a ‘narrative’, and that this narrative is us, our identities.

If we wish to know about a man, we ask, ‘what is his story – his real, inmost story?’ – for each of us is a biography, a story. Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, though, and in us – through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives – we are each of us unique.

To be ourselves we must have ourselves – posses, if needed be re-possess, our life-stories. We must ‘recollect’ ourselves, recollect the inner drama, the narrative, of ourselves. A man needs such a narrative, a continuous inner narrative, to maintain his identity, his self.

Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, p. 116-117

Books in my life

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