Six months ago, I wrote a blog, Hunger Games – The Price of Failed Transition, in response to the popular movie. Here is a follow-up based on real life. Importantly, where Hunger Games are the imagined price of failed transition to sustainable prosperity, Compassion Games are the authentic reward for successfully transitioning to a promising future. I encourage you to read and comment on this new blog that explores the “survival of the kindest.” Click here to read now >
The work of Great Transition Stories is moving into the international arena. In May, I will give a keynote address to the World Cultural Forum in China. The Forum brings together distinguished thought leaders from all parts of the world committed to the cause of creating a peaceful and sustainable world. The motto of the upcoming Forum is “Creating a Sustainable Eco-Civilization.”
Creating a sustainable and thriving world requires a new story that is universal and yet includes the important narratives of the world’s civilizations. This is the work of the Great Transition Stories project: to discover deep narratives that can guide humanity through this time of great transition into a thriving future. These narratives offer “beacons of hope” as civilizations look for stories that describe the journey of the entire human community.
Much of the time, our stories are invisible to us. Just as fish are not aware of the water they swim in, we seldom recognize the stories that we live within. However, in this unique moment of human history, we are challenged to step back from unconscious immersion in our story and freshly imagine who we are and where we are going. By becoming aware of the stories in which we are immersed, we change ourselves and our vision of the future. At the World Cultural Forum, I will speak about the promising views of humanity’s future drawn from our collective wisdom.
The power of story: The Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment
In February, I will speak for the second time at the Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment conference in Hollywood to an audience of roughly a thousand screenwriters and other professionals in media and film production. The theme of the third GATE event is “Celebrating Meaningful Messages for an Awakening Humanity.” This is directly relevant to the work of Great Transition Stories, and I will speak about “story engines” to generate promising and emotionally powerful visions of the future as an alternative to the apocalyptic visions that now dominate Hollywood.
Here is how the GATE organizers view the power of story: “Each of us views the world, and who we are in it, based in large part on the messages we receive from the media. These, in turn, inform many of our actions (and inactions) in the world. New messages, new perceptions of ourselves, of the world, and of life will inspire us to the new behaviors now needed to head humanity in a new direction, one that honors life, love, and peace sufficiently to create a sustainable existence on planet Earth.”
Great Transition Stories and sustainability education: Prescott College Doctoral Program
Another important area where Great Transition Stories are being used is in the doctoral program of Prescott Collegein Arizona. Beginning in January, I will mentor three students who are in the last semester of their doctoral program to receive a Ph.D. in sustainability education. Here is how students describe the course they are creating: “This course is designed to explore deep narratives calling us to make the great transition to a future of sustainable prosperity. We can find our way into this new future – both personally and collectively – with the aid of deep guides in the form of universal stories or narratives that are recognized around the world. Through stories, we gain insight into and understanding of the Great Turning underway now and we have a clearer path of action in the world. Deep stories reveal that our times of change are not so mysterious or so overwhelming, and we are empowered to act both individually and in concert with one another.”
Stories for prosperous communities: BALLE: Business Alliance for Local Living Economies
In September, I facilitated a two-hour inquiry at the annual board meeting of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, one of the fastest growing business networks in the U.S. with 30,000 local entrepreneurs spanning 80 communities. Our goal was to explore the glue that holds a “local living economy” together. What is the cohesive force that extends beyond self-interest to community interest? As the BALLE team describes it, “Together, we are changing mindsets from ‘every-man-for-himself’ to an understanding that real security comes from community – from sharing not hoarding, from partnership, not domination.” In turn, because mutual caring and compassion are key ingredients in building resilience at the local level — greatly enhancing the ability to bounce back from shocks and stresses — compassionate communities and economies are of great interest to BALLE and its members. In a powerful inquiry, we used Great Transition Stories to explore new sources of insight for creating sustainable, healthy, and prosperous communities. Here is the blog on the BALLE website describing our inquiry.
Three Stages of Generosity
Because much of this newsletter is concerned with compassion, I want to conclude with a short video from a dear friend, Nipun Mehta, called Three Stages of Generosity. When Nipun, founder of KarmaTube and ServiceSpace, was invited to speak at a TEDx conference, he shared his journey of learning three stages of generosity: Give, Receive, and Dance!
This is a critical time for reaching out to collaborators and scaling up stories of great transition. For the first time, I’m adding a donation button to this newsletter to support my work. Your support can make a big difference in the demanding work of the coming months. Thanks for helping to grow stories of promise for our future.