How might telling a "new story" have the power to help shift our collective trajectory?

Our cafe call is now complete (podcast available here) and so we are moving into the next phase of our conversation, which we invite you to continue here in the forum and out in the world.

Our great thanks to New Stories Executive Director Jeff Vander Clute and Great Transition Stories Executive Director Duane Elgin for being our main conversation starters for this juicy dialogue, and also to our special last minute guests David DeGraw and Joel Levey.  It was a pleasure having all of you with us and we look forward to further collaboration.

We will revisit our "Occupy a New Story" theme on the Vital Conversation for Monday September 10th, when we will explore the story "A Global Brain Awakens."  Please join us again for that call (time and registration details in the box on the right hand side of this page).

Meanwhile, this conversation continues...  In this next phase, we again invite you to engage one-one with people around you.  You can use the three questions that framed our conversation on the phone:

  1. When you look at the overall behavior of the human community -- the 'social average' of human behavior -- what life-stage do you think we are in?  Toddler?  Teenager? Adult? Elder?  Ask why that their answer, and perhaps offer your own as well.
  2. Next, tell them that most people on the call chose teenager and that there might be something valuable about digging into that metaphor further.  Then ask: "what was it in your life that moved you most powerfully from adolescence to adulthood?"
  3. Finally, you can invite them to play with the story a bit further around the question: "what does your personal experience suggest about ways to catalyze a shift to adulthood and about where we might see adulthood already emerging?"

Consider having this conversation not only with people you feel are generally aligned with your own beliefs but also with someone whose opinions you find challenging!  Share your own perspective too, but try replacing certainty and advice with curiosity.  Try asking: "tell me more about that," especially when you hear something that challenges you!

Please post your own thoughts below, as well as anything that emerges from conversations you engage in with others (note: you must be registered and logged in to post).  

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I have to openly admit that I am not fully conversant in the works you refer to so that is my limitation however I also feel strongly that those actively pursuing new ways and understandings are well beyond the New Age mentality.  Another way of viewing this is that throughout human evolution our species has been close to perfect at screwing up what exists simply because we are trying to survive at a time when we are unconscious of the consequences of our actions. I guess to some extent it will always be like that but I tend to lean toward the idea that new ways of communicating and inspiring will slowly cause a shift in how we all relate to each other and to the amazing universe in which we are travelling.  Don't mean to wax poetic but that's what the passionate have a tendency to do!!  I am also out there talking to 'real' people to gather a sense of what is meaningful to them in a deep and personal way!!  Thanks for listening and reading!!

Hi C.A.

Are you offering to help me find my way out of "being lost in the New Age" by inviting me to 'find myself' in clarity you have?  

I'll gladly accompany you if you would offer me some comfort by demonstrating you are not simply parroting, or using others works or famous names (authors or supposed experts) but that you can stand alone in the understanding you profess... even if it might not be complete.

I do recognize (between-the-lines tension) some peril of engagement here... yet, so useful as it ironically sets a simple table for 'refuting the idea of being selfless', on which all may dine.


Thanks for the email. Yes, I'm very interested in the "new story" idea. The timing is bad for me right now, though. I go into surgery Friday am and will be out of commission for awhile. I have a severe infection in my foot and for a diabetic that's not good. The doc is strong about doing by-pass surgery on my whole leg. Bummer. 

But, about the new story experiment... Over the years I've had a connection with Duane Elgin's work via The Foundation for Global Community (which has now disbanded). Our Minnesota Chapter is still around however. We meet twice a month; have been for about 30+ years. We studied and discussed his full circle child-teen-adult metaphor. Interesting, but it didn't really grab us that much. 

I read your three questions for kicking off continuing conversations. I hope it works. It's not quite what I'm envisioning for expanding conversations on the new story. My idea is closer to an open space approach (which I've had success in starting in several places). This would not lock on to some outside metaphor for the basis of conversations. Rather, it would be each person's struggle with growing into what each would be naming as his/her vision of a "new story". Of course, the prerequisite for that has to be gaining some understanding of the stories we tell one another—especially the stories that Big Money has been telling for a long time. Like someone in the 2 hour discussion said, Mainstream Media is really Big Money's platform for telling those stories via advertising largely. 

These conversations may or may not take place in our ongoing men's support group. Those are aimed at "personal growth", and not necessarily growing into a new story. Most likely, this will call for a new kind of support group. I'll have more to say later. 

You might be interested in one open space group I structured successfully. It's the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers (MAP)—an alliance of 78 peace and justice organizations in this area. Our annual celebration is in November and the Occupy Minneapolis people will be doing the entire program, called "Occupy Live - Building A World That Works for All." 

My wife is calling me for supper. I'll be communicating with you again.

I like the work you're doing. It has to be a demanding job. Good luck in all you do. 

Sook  (how do I communicate with "friends" on this site?

Wishing you well in your surgery & speedy return, Sook.  I'll wait for you and hope you'll continue more with your 'open spaces' approach of conversation starters using participant's own material or story to create vision.

On the topic of generating a 'new story', I'd like to relay a link for the Capital Institute's recently released working paper entitled, "Economics, Finance, Governance, and Ethics for the Anthropocene".  Here's a brief segment of text:

The new stories about economics, finance, and governance in this report are intended to address the following problems:

  • The existing economic, financial, and political order is predicated on unscientific and flawed assumptions about the dynamics of market systems and the relationship between human and environmental systems.
  • These assumptions are effectively undermining the prospect of implementing scientifically viable solutions for global warming and other menacing environmental problems.
  • The resolution of this crisis will require the fairly rapid emergence of a new economic, financial, and political order predicated on scientifically valid assumptions about the embedded and interactive relationship between human and environmental systems.
  • These solutions must be grounded in a re-envisioned moral relationship between humans and the rest of life and the world.

Also, in the recorded audio of Monday's break-out I mentioned some research I'd done pertaining to the anthropological dimensions of usury.  Here's a link for a published appendix entitled, "A Historical Overview of Economic Events from an Integral Perspective".


Thanks enjoying the Ethics for the Anthropocene.  Very grateful Mushin

Thanks for commenting, Mushin.

I expect the 'ethics' portion of the Capital Institute's working paper, in emphasizing how a 'new story' necessitates "a different over-arching ethos", will prove to be the real heart of global transformation.  Ironically enough, but from my perspective, Berkshare founder Susan Witt has a particularly deep appreciation for the unfolding of this 'new story'.



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