Our current global “storyline” isn’t working. We need new narratives for a thriving future.
Every aspect of human life is rooted in narrative.
The human brain functions in narrative. Our minds are continuously hashing and rehashing storylines about our life, our relationships, our career, and our place in the community. Our cultures are based on narratives that define rules and norms; they are what give meaning and context to the world around us, and they subconsciously shape (and constrain) our possibilities and our futures. We believe them with little questioning, and all of our decisions and behaviors are based on these foundational storylines. The stories we tell ourselves about how the world works — what is possible, and what’s not — these stories shape societies, move economies, and determine our entire existence.
Narratives have gravitational force.
Some are so massive, so deeply ingrained, that they pull everything into their orbit. Some narratives propel us forward, while others hold us back. When narratives go stale, they keep us locked-in to patterns that no longer serve us, and they limit future possibilities.
Our future is built upon our narratives.
The future is constantly unfolding as a continuous series of “next steps” in the collective storylines from every human brain, every organization, and every culture. To take control of the future, we must seize control of our societal narratives.
Today’s narratives aren’t working.
Accelerating technological growth and rapid societal change are rendering modern narratives obsolete. With automated labor on the horizon, and the existential threats of AI, nuclear weapons, and climate change looming over our future, the “winner takes all” mentality of capitalism is unsustainable. In such a complex world, old approaches — to our health, education, politics, and even our overall human purpose — are leaving too many people behind.
That’s why we must create new narratives.
New narratives are the foundation on which we can build a better future. As old norms and institutions fall apart, we will need to experiment with new modes of living, new tribes and communities, and new “games” to solve problems, reduce suffering, achieve our dreams, and evolve into something greater. We must be socially, psychologically, and spiritually prepared. We can no longer equate blind growth with human progress. Humanity needs a new purpose, a new narrative, a new storyline to define our existence. We cannot afford to be passive about our future, leaving the defining decisions of our time in the hands of corporations and institutions that define old paradigms.
We must become active participants in shaping our future, and building its new narrative together.