Stories of a World That Just Might WorkWritten on August 15th, 2011
Q: Why stories?
A: For most of our time on this planet, story is how we remembered and passed on what we needed to know to survive. It still is. In story, we identify where we are, how we got here, and how we fit in. We are the stories we tell ourselves. Narrative is how we explain the past, navigate the present, and imagine the future. Stories connect and engage others. Culture is the stories we share.
On my radio show, I look for pieces of the puzzle of a world that just might work. Those pieces tell stories. I look for the connections, the thread, the direction – the narrative. At my best, the order in which I ask questions fills in story elements and builds a narrative. From a range of individuals across many fields, I seek and spread evidence that I find novel, provocative, and worthy of attention.
When I was a schoolteacher, I hoped that two or three of my students would grow up to want to make the world a better place. Now in my work with foundations, non-profits, public agencies, and progressive corporations — I assume everyone in the room does. I help my clients tell powerful stories of challenge and courage and change, and I help them understand their roles in the larger narratives of transforming society.
Q: What do you mean when you say “a world that just might work”?
A: I mean that it’s still possible, but not a given and that we are all part of the equation. We each play a role in whether it works or not.
What would it look like? I envision the transformation of human endeavor…
— from its current emphasis on short-term material production and consumption to an emphasis on longer term learning, meaning, and satisfaction;
— from a worldview that sees reality as dead, static, and separate; to one that realizes reality is alive, dynamic, and expresses itself in interdependent relationships;
— from a culture of of otherism, greed and competition to one of respect, connection, and cooperation;
— from isolated and alienated individuals looking out only for themselves and a particular small circle of concern, to members of a larger community whose actions are linked to “downstream” consequences beyond geographical, political, or generational boundaries.
I hope this website is a tool. Feel free to use it and let me know what I can do to make it more useful.