Living in one’s own story

We are entering a new era of branding, where people want to live vicariously in a story, which attracts them. It is no longer a push environment; it's one of engagement where we get to write our own lives into the stories that mean most to us.

It is the unfathomable effect of stories. They work in silence invisibly in our heads and self. They become part of us while changing the way we think. They have the power subtly when we are asleep to change our consciousness waking us as altered people. As human beings we crave the stories that include us. Stories about who we are, where we come from and what we're about. Their diversity and richness appear like a mosaic in our minds and we love their many different twists.

The fear I have is that the world is heading down the road where one of those stories is taking over from many others. In becoming something we take for granted as reality. A governing pattern that the culture around us begins to obey. It's an invisible framework that can structure our lives cramped by the city and the creation of a single dominant culture.

Single dominant cultures rise and fall through history. In the 16th century culture was dominated by religion and superstition where even Galileo was accused of heresy by the Catholic Church for claiming that the sun and not the earth was at the centre of the solar system. Surprising that 100 years later, the master story was about discoverability of the world through science, machines and mathematics, it had changed completely.

At present the all-pervasive culture is economic in the 21st century. Because of this, our world is being shaped by economic values and assumptions. It dictates how we act in a consumptive and acquisitive world.

My own view is to ask whether the corners can be rounded off. That this planet we inhabit is inextricably linked to our welfare. I'm no tree hugger, but I do believe that the master story needs amendment. We are hell-bent on building the physical in our cities and towns with scant belief in something more spiritual. Physical infrastructures without an emotional infrastructure to match simply don't work. A sense of identity is connected to the place and the nature around us. Like any animal suffering extinction, the less clever ones never made it in their speed to adapt.

There is still a great need to share key beliefs and assumptions about how the world works and what our lives ought to look like. We have a need for a master story, which at present is mostly left unarticulated. Until it has been displaced years later, we stumble on learning its boundaries by trial and error. We somehow come to know how the master story goes, however, no one helps us to define it and understand the rules.

We of course develop a good sense of community, what's expected of us at work and in our families, even if sometimes we choose to depart from these. We usually never ask the question, where these expectations came from in the first place. They just pop up and we find ourselves wishing things were different somehow, though we can't say exactly what we would like to change or how. Living in one's own story as an individual is only possible when we begin to enjoy the stories of others. It’s a tapestry of many colours and not a blanket of one.