There are three things I know about Stories.
1.Stories matter! They create power, incite wars, cause trauma, offer healing, feed despair, nourish hope. I am an evangelist for the ministry of stories, mapping their power in order to create a new narrative ethics of accountability. From 20 years of work with promising leaders from Northern Ireland/Ireland, South Africa, Israel/Palestine, Ukraine and USA, I know first hand the power of old stories of hatred and new stories of possibility. Being Half Welsh, Half Irish and exported to Australia, its time for us to cherish the stories.
2. Stories are never innocent. They are pervasive, sometimes perverse, always dangerous. Whose stories get told, heard and enacted, are all expressions of power. Equally, whose stories are censored, silenced or falsified bear the masks of oppression. Stories hold up our world because we story our lives into meaning, and meaning shapes our choices and actions. The public stories fed to us every day by governments, media, churches and corporations have turned out to be mostly lies.Yet the chance to unleash story power to inspire positive social change has never been more possible or more necessary. After 20 years in the field, Its time to move Narrative Change into our web 3.0 world and foster a renewed narrative ethics that treasures honesty over expediency, trust over trust funds, and need over greed.
3. Stories need to be harvested. My own included. We are currently writing the manual-how to change the world by changing the stories. And boy do we have work to do! Not just the Middle East,Ukraine,but the economy, climate change, poverty, the environment, the economy, energy, immigration, health care, education. If ever there was a time for a new story, new leadership, that time is NOW. I am eager to meet other story-inspired people out there to help create a movement for change where WE shape the stories that shape us, not the other way around. Consider yourself invited to connect here.
4. But Stories are not enough. They blind us to the larger view which is what we need right now. We need maps to prevent stories creating worlds that no longer exist except in the telling. Stories help us internalize and transmit human experience but their distortion of the singular into the emblemmatic means we are seduced into making policies out of exceptions. The world of big data is now showing us that we can no longer impose our story pattern on evidence when it wants to emerge into something different. The new challenge is to find new ways to get above stories, get to see where they are taking us, and determining if we want to go there or not. That is why we need maps.