Last July in an interview with Charlie Rose, President Obama said that “the mistake” of the early years of his presidency was his failure to be a better storyteller.
“The mistake of my first couple of years was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that’s important, but the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.” In a second term, he said, he would “spend more time with the American people, listening to them, but also being in a conversation with them about where do we go as a country?”
This week’s show is not about Obama or politics. It’s about story and narrative. My guest is JONATHAN GOTTSCHALL author of THE STORYTELLING ANIMAL.
The late evolutionary biologist Steven Jay Gould called humans “the primate who tells stories…” And it’s not just Gould. Anthropologists have found societies that have existed for millennia without the wheel, but they’ve never found one that doesn’t tell stories.
My website leads with a quote: “On the radio, I tell stories of a world that just might work. As a consultant, I help you tell yours.” Building on time as a teacher, two decades in the entertainment industry, and 15 years of radio interviews, I help non-profits, foundations, public agencies, and businesses to tell better stories and build better narratives.
I’m eager to learn from Jonathan what the latest science has to tell us. Why is narrative so powerful? What is its evolutionary value? And can what we’re learning help us get even better at tapping its power?
This radio show aims to offer “pieces of the puzzle of a world that just might work.” I hope that if you listen a few times, you begin to imagine a future of revolutionary and evolutionary success.
My hope is rooted in this vision: Reality is not dead, mechanical, or separate; in fact, it is alive, evolving, and composed of interdependent systems.
I believe this worldview has been shared by indigenous peoples for millennia, revealed by science since early in the 20th century, and obvious every time we walk outside or look into the eyes of another living creature.
This vision inspires the annual Bioneers conference that takes place each fall (this year October 19-21) in San Rafael, just north of San Francisco. I’ll be talking with Bioneers founder and co-director, KEN AUSUBEL, and one of this year’s speakers, ELLEN BROWN, President of the Public Banking Institute and author of WEB OF DEBT.
Human creativity focused on problem solving can explode the narrative of despair. For the most part the solutions to our problems already exist. Bioneers focuses on strategies to help us realize these solutions by restoring community, justice and democracy.
Other speakers this year include BILL McKIBBEN, PAUL HAWKEN, ETHAN NADELMANN, GABOR MATE, and LA’s own JODIE EVANS and ANDY LIPKIS.
Aired 08/22/10 (Part 2 of 2) EVOLUTIONARY LEADERS CALL TO ACTION
BRUCE LIPTON, Ph.D., a leading voice in new biology, bridges science and spirit. A cell biologist by training, he taught at the University of Wisconsin's School of Medicine, and later performed pioneering studies at Stanford University. He's the author of THE BIOLOGY OF BELIEF and his latest with Steve Bhaerman, SPONTANEOUS EVOLUTION.