In George Monbiot’s recent Ted talk he turns to the question of stories.
There is one interesting distinction he makes between stories that bridge communities versus stories that bond one community in opposition to others.
His main thrust concerns the need for restoration stories. He makes a compelling case, showing how the power of stories transport us. But restoration stories are still stories of struggle and fighting and overturning an old order to establish a new bargain to be negotiated by atomized parties. In this he falls into the same trap he wants to warn us about. We suffer a poverty of imagination, a failure of imagination; but his critique does not leave these scant environs. We need to look deeper. The connection and the dynamic between our stories and the myths they serve and defend is part of the problem. The other aspect we need to look at is our predicament that all of the myths currently in circulation share common assumptions out of alignment with reality. Simply put, they ignore and discount our capacities to change. They all expect us to be able to find some way to transform the world to our liking instead of finding how we might transform our liking to be in accord with the limits and possibilities within which existence actually does unfold.
We are not atoms who must negotiate our interactions. We are potentialities that need to find ways to inter-relate, All of the myths of struggle use justifications to rationalize the usurpation of power so that the beliefs of the “winners” can triumph and be pushed onto everyone to create a dominant reality. None of them include the possibility or the preferability of allowing our capacities to change to dissolve our old stories, letting the old, dominant myths dissolve with them, so that we might enter a space in which a new myth may grow. Not imposing a new myth with new “stakeholders,” but growing a new myth out of the relations we create between and among us and with us all.
When we begin to recognize that this unfolding dynamic is nothing more or less than life lived; we will also recognize that meaning, and a growing body of meaning expressed in new stories that accumulate and interact to generate new myths, arise from the actions of living.
We now have a system that is both highly destructive and out-of-control and that is also extremely stable. Its myth/myths defend themselves tenaciously and successfully even as they work tirelessly to kill us all, destroy all life.
A myth that is in alignment and accord with what-is and the way things actually work can also be stable. Stable and life-affirming. Stable and vital.
We cannot be deterred by the fact that we have not been able to replace the old myths. We have never really put our attention to the sticking point. Once we begin to do so everything does change. A spreading, evolutionary change flows and spreads from our internal explorations of how change works.