When a theme shows up repeatedly from multiple directions, I usually pay attention.  This is happening for me right now with the message about the importance of creating and sharing powerful stories that speak to the possibility of a major transformation of the human presence on this planet.

A core challenge in catalyzing systemic transformation is presenting the possibility (and, I believe the current reality) of that shift in ways that people can easily grasp and become inspired by.  I had a recent conversation with a Lakota leader who lamented that his people did not currently have a vision or a national goal.  This from a carrier of a wisdom tradition that is seven thousand years old!  The powerful "new" story meme that is showing up all around me talks of weaving such ancient wisdom together with our new understandings of humanity's role on the planet and in the cosmos.

Here are some places where this theme has been showing up for me recently...

  • The analogy of the butterfly's metamorphosis, which is a popular story in many circles (including some below), showed up powerfully at the DIY Economy retreat I just attended in Asheville, where I found myself wondering if imaginal cells "know" that they are supposed to become a butterfly?
  • Humanity 4.0  This is an intellectual framing/synthesis from OC.org member Michelle Holliday that I love and also found myself describing to someone at the DIY Economy retreat (for the umpteenth time since I first heard about it from Tom Atlee in December 2010).
  • www.GreatTransitionStories.org: a wonderful wiki where new stories are being collaboratively developed by theme.
  • The Metta Center for Nonviolence's "Roadmap" strategy for moving from spontaneous protest to an unstoppable movement features "New Story Creation" as a key element.
  • Barbara Marx Hubbard's "Birth2012" book and initiative, where she makes a poignant case for our having lost our story in the mid 1900s and for a new one emerging globally at this time that can drive a process of "conscious evolution."

And of course, the stories we tell ourselves featured prominently in this past Monday's Vital Conversation on "Ownership."  What are the stories you find most inspiring and compelling?

Views: 243

Comment by Ben Roberts on July 27, 2012 at 9:46am

I think I will also add this video of a short talk by Jeremy Rifkin outlining his "Empathic Civilization" thesis, with brilliant graphic recording courtesy of RSAnimate, to my list of "New Stories" I find compelling.  This one involves transcending the artificial divides of the nation state--a fairly modern human construct--and extending an "empathic embrace" around the whole biosphere.  This is presented as part of a much longer story arc of our ability to connect with others, beginning with the small tribal societies that formed the basis for human society for most of our existence. 

Comment by Bruce Schuman on July 29, 2012 at 2:58pm

Hmmm.  Hi Ben.  Just bumped in here, off a link in one of your messages to me on NCDD.  I just took a look at the wiki on "great transition stories".  That's an interesting and helpful project, going in a direction I think is valuable.  For me -- maybe what makes this interesting -- is looking for powerful integrating ways of understanding how all these "stories" are part of an emerging explanation or insight into what is going on -- perhaps along the lines of Teilhard de Chardin -- or Jeremy Rifkin, or Ken Wilber, or Barbara Hubbard, or Matthew Fox.

The way I tend to see it -- is that we are experiencing a kind of "convergence" -- and BMH has used that language for a long time, and I built a project for her once, about five years ago, called "Report from the Convergence" -- 


I just took a look at it again.  Maybe this is part of our collective "transition story".

What is converging?  Globalization is driving a process of conceptual universalization, that is affecting the foundations of spirituality and religion, driving us towards common ground -- and what Barbara Hubbard calls "the universal human" -- and the entire framework can be more or less held within the concept of "community" --

Ok, gonna work on a kind of integral framework for NCDD and see what bounces...

Comment by Brian McConnell on July 31, 2012 at 2:48pm

Hey Ben - For me, nowhere is the power of this "new story" anymore readily evident than in a working paper by the Capital Institute entitled, "Economics, Finance, Governance, and Ethics for the Anthropocene".

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 . . .
Comment by Ben Roberts on July 31, 2012 at 4:02pm

That link doesn't work, Brian. I did find this piece you wrote.  It's not the same though, is it?

Comment by Ben Roberts on July 31, 2012 at 4:10pm

Also saw this post on your Facebook page referencing the New Stories meme as well.

Comment by David Eggleton on August 1, 2012 at 7:18am

Brian's link can be made to work, as it simply has a fragment of a URL tacked on the end.  On your browser's address line, delete everything after .pdf and you'll get to the document.

Comment by David Eggleton on August 1, 2012 at 7:19am

Or use this link.

Comment by Ben Roberts on August 1, 2012 at 8:55am

Thanks, David.  I have editing privileges, so I fixed the link in the original as well.

Comment by Ben Roberts on August 10, 2012 at 5:49pm

More on the fabulous butterfly story/metaphor in this film by Abraham Heisler, featuring renowned cellular biologist, Dr. Bruce Lipton: http://www.facebook.com/EvolutionOfTheButterfly (h/t Jeff Vander Klute)


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