Narrative Derangement Syndrome

Source: Taylor Swift, Official Music Video for Anti-Hero It’s us, hi. We’re th

Want to continue reading this and the other 1,500+ essays you won't find anywhere else?

Already a subscriber? log in here

To learn more about Epsilon Theory and be notified when we release new content sign up here. You’ll receive an email every week and your information will never be shared with anyone else.


  1. Avatar for fxpoet fxpoet says:

    The problem with this process is that it is so easy to become angry at the constant attempts to push your opinion in either direction that many engaged individuals with clear thoughts ultimately ignore both sides of the narrative. And I don’t think that is necessarily the best outcome either.

  2. Thanks for the constant vigilance in reminding us that yes indeed we can hold conflicting thoughts in our heads and hearts. I really like your adjective, coercion. The spirited essay reminded me that we are all (or at least I am) anxious to read the Final part of the MOGCOM series. When does it drop?

  3. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    In September, I hope. Still trying to solicit more views of analogs to make the idea as comprehensive and applicable to as many people as possible, including the many who understandably found the charismatic subject matter to be utterly foreign!

  4. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Agreed on all counts. For me, fighting both temptations has to be the order of the day; still, there are worse things than to pull away from a table where there’s no winning.

  5. You either die a hero or you live long enough to become the villain! The appropriation of ‘narrative’ by the widening gyre has felt obvious for a few years now.

    I enjoyed the note. I was thinking towards the end that the ET use of ‘narrative’ and the gyre’s use of it are not the same, in a similar way to your phrasing from mogcom (that I’ve liked and been using) about understanding when the topic is the story about the story, and not so much the story itself.

    The construction of the fiat index is the proof that came to mind of this distinction in meaning. The linguistic phrasing that the fiat index is looking for to reflect narrative is completely devoid of anything that would trigger the NDS responses you showed above!


    I perhaps am writing this to justify my own ‘narrative hypersensitivity’. This is a phrase I’ve used with the ET crew a number of times…at first reading today’s note I was like ‘oh shit I have NDS’. But upon further thought I think that my hypersensitivity carries this same distinction of being about the story about the story, whereas NDS is about the story itself. For example, I read an article the other day and was utterly triggered by a sentence that started with “After all, …”. :rofl: If there is a fiat index Hall of Shame I nominate this phrase.

  6. Avatar for jewing jewing says:

    While not a failsafe, I have found that intentionally acquiring my news through reading, as opposed to seeing or hearing, has helped force a bit of distance from the conflagration. Sure, the media in print is still very much aflame, but one can consume it at one’s own pace, and it is much easier to keep the filtered lenses on (and no, they are not polarized).

    And yes, I took that metaphor waaaay too far there. The image that now comes to mind is Elton John in his best specs watching a dumpster full of newsprint burn.

  7. Avatar for KCP KCP says:

    It seems that our USA culture has become increasingly infected with the need for something to “Love to Hate” or “Hate to Love”, especially around politics and the myriad of related institutions. I say “seems” as perhaps we’ve always been that way and the infection was not so blatantly apparent?

    I’ll add that, generally our ability and willing to listen has been diminished into the frequencies of “Love to Hate” or “Hate to Love”.

    Sadly, i strongly believe these positions fill some void in people, like bullying does, like booze, drugs, sex, gambling, hording, whatever-ing and the NEED TO BE RIGHT and NEED TO WIN.

    The narrative process described through many of these ET posts/comments feeds this, IMO…the media knows their audience and feeds the Love to Haters and Hate to Lovers - hungry/needy eyeballs mean $.

    Sadly, i really think the energy people spend in LTH or HTL will only dissipate when it has to for an individual or when people have no choice but to admit that the position they held in a narrative was wrong…with no “Yes, but.(s)”.

    Unfortunately these magnetic poles prevent us from having meaningful discussions, debates and decisioning. For example, could we possibly have a healthy discussion in the USA on climate? Are we making the right investments related to climate? what if we are wrong on carbon dioxide? What other atmospheric and earth factors should we study harder?

    Not a chance - it would stop after “What if we are wrong on CO”.

    What breaks the pattern - i have no idea.

    But, as others have stated, we do have the power not to be sucked in, to educate our kids to think critically and openly and contribute productive efforts in our local communities - that’s a good safe harbor.

  8. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    You may already be thinking of this or familiar with this, but we call this the Game of You. Everything reduced to Mirror or Rage engagements.

  9. I so rarely agree with an entire anything.

    I agree entirely with this note.

    The best lies, after all, are tightly wrapped around a truth.

  10. Has @bhunt confessed to you yet that he hates this note of yours…because he didn’t write it?

Continue the discussion at the Epsilon Theory Forum

12 more replies


Avatar for rguinn Avatar for chudson Avatar for handshaw Avatar for cplourde Avatar for jpclegg63 Avatar for RobMann Avatar for jewing Avatar for rechraum Avatar for Victor_K Avatar for Avatar for fxpoet Avatar for davibw1 Avatar for david.c.billingsley Avatar for Kaiser147 Avatar for KCP

The Latest From Epsilon Theory

This commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market with certainty or guarantee future investment performance. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Statements in this communication are forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements and other views expressed herein are as of the date of this publication. Actual future results or occurrences may differ significantly from those anticipated in any forward-looking statements, and there is no guarantee that any predictions will come to pass. The views expressed herein are subject to change at any time, due to numerous market and other factors. Epsilon Theory disclaims any obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or views expressed herein. This information is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of any offer to buy any securities. This commentary has been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it. Epsilon Theory recommends that investors independently evaluate particular investments and strategies, and encourages investors to seek the advice of a financial advisor. The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives.