(continued from Story Field Salons) I'm sure you can think of dozens of others. These folks know how to weave a tale that compels our attention -- and how to get it out to the public. They have encyclopedic knowledge about the media of our culture. They've rubbed it the wrong way, and it's rubbed them...
b) And then there's people who know what it would take to create a sustainable, meaningful, joyful, co-intelligent, self-evolving culture. They know what needs to be included in any stories that are going to point us in the right direction. These are the experts struggling to awaken the public.
c) Finally there's the folks who have been working to create sustainability and co-intelligence -- in their own lives, in their communities, through the halls of power -- and also those few who already live sustainably and wisely (often with great difficulty) in intentional and indigenous communities. They know what it is like to LIVE sustainability and sacredly, to dream it, to eat it, to walk it and talk it and yearn and burn it, to lose and gain other parts of themselves and their lives on its behalf; they know the joy and pain... These people are authorities on the drama and humanity of sustainability and the search for deeply meaningful and joyful lives. It is their shadows that will haunt the voices and lives of the characters in the stories yet to be born. It is their passion that will burn there.
The conference would be for a week. It would have hundreds of people. There would be only a few pre-arranged sessions -- mostly having to do with scenario spinning, facilitated by professional scenario spinners, so that broad visions could be brainstormed and sketched down into multiple narratives that cover a broad range of possibilities. But mostly it would be what's called "Open Space Conferencing" -- sessions totally self-organized by the participants, with new offerings emerging from the discussions and activities already done -- whatever calls to participants, the conference co-creators. The whole process would be a gigantic evolution, a vast mutual learning and sparking and visioning. People would be profoundly changed. The storytellers would "get the picture" and, when the conference was done, they'd depart with stories bubbling in their minds and hearts -- perhaps even interconnected stories they would coordinate together. No one would have to track them, or create a contest, or DO anything with what they came up with. The subsequent tidal wave overflowing the dominant story field would self-generate, self-organize, self-disseminate (with perhaps a booster shot every 6-12 months with another such conference, and a bit of assisted networking in between)...
There are many additional things that could be done to juice up such a gathering, to make it even more powerful and compelling (like throw in a few visionary people of means). But you get the idea: To heat up professional storytellers with the facts, passions and dramas of sustainability and visions of a wisdom culture until they catch fire and explode out into the culture with their words and images.
The challenge, of course, is making it happen. That depends on sustainability and evolutionary advocates catching fire from this description, and making it their own. This nascent conference will be born if there are "parents" and "midwives" to bring it into being.
Here is a "call" several of us were thinking of sending to storytellers in an earlier version of this project:
- The new story is heard in the voices of people calling to each other to reflect, to look deeper, to change our lives and our culture towards resilience and sustainability, towards meaning and passion, towards greater harmony with nature and with each other. Could we now be together with less arrogance, less alienation, less craziness, less destructiveness and less fear? For these new voices, the crises of our era present an opportunity to migrate to a new land, a place where we might be together differently with each other and the world around us.
- But we need many more voices, because our maps are old and the old tales forgotten. We need our storytellers to paint us images of communities coming together, of us taking care of one another and thinking and creating together, of rediscovering who our neighbors are, of reconnecting with what's best in humanity, of rediscovering the heart we share with the natural world and the meaning we can find by resonating with that heart in all that we do. We need storytellers to wake us up, and set us on the path to Life again.
- We need many different voices. We need morality tales. We need images that we can grow into. We need stories that delve into the grit of this challenge, the humanness that flares up as we are tempered in the hot uncertainties of these times. We need stories that burn with reality and enlighten us with new visions.
- The challenges of our era call us to recognize that we are engaged in mythic and historic roles. We need you -- our playwrights, poets, moviemakers, journalists, novelists, talk show hosts... our performers, balladeers, artists, dancers... our game-makers, dream-weavers, scriptwriters... our historians, psychologists, sociologists... our seers and listeners -- to hold your candles up, and to set the culture alight with your warnings, your visions, your interpretations, your maps, your vivid dreams of human possibility, that we may find our way.
- Our need for your voice will only grow. We urge you to learn about sustainability, our evolutionary potential, and the collective crises we face -- to immerse yourself in their dynamics, their scenarios, their emotional and spiritual dimensions, their voices, their potential role in the world and in our lives. We urge you to let them enter you, to let them expand the edges of your own story, your own life. And we ask you then to find your own way through, leaving markers as you go. We urge you to walk with us on this path that we are making...