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Every life is in search of a narrative. We seek to introduce meaning into the randomness of existence by remembering our pasts and imagining our futures. That is what makes telling stories as basic to human beings as eating.

Irish philosopher Richard Kearney wrote: “Someone, somewhere, sometime, took it into his head to utter the words ‘once upon a time’; and so doing, lit bonfires in the imaginations of his listeners.” From that moment narrative has provided us with one of the most practical forms of identity — individually and socially...

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