Narrative and the real world are not mutually exclusive. Life is not a structureless sequence of events; it consists of complex structures of temporal configurations that interlock and receive their meaning from within action itself. It is also not true that life lacks a point of view which transforms events into a story by telling them. Our focus of attention is not the past but the future, because we grasp configurations extending into the future. Action involves the adoption of an anticipated future,retrospective point of view on the present. The actions of life can be viewed as the process of telling ourselves stories. The retrospective view of the narrator is an extension and refinement of a viewpoint inherent in action itself. Because storytelling is a social activity, the story of one's life is told as much to others as to oneself. Social human time, like individual human time, is constructed into configured sequences. The practical first,order narrative process that constitutes a person or a community can become a second,order narrative whose subject is unchanged but whose interest is primarily cognitive or aesthetic.