Tuesday, April 29, 2008


“In his book Culture Jam, Kalle Lasn says, ‘The most powerful narcotic in the world is the promise of belonging,’” said Annette Simmons, author The Story Factor. “To that I would add, the promise of being ‘known’ – not understood, not necessarily even valued – but simply to be acknowledged and seen.” She said that in a technological economy, human attention is the emerging scarce resource. “People need it, crave it, and will pay for it with their cooperation,” she said.

Simmons continued: "In today’s world almost everyone you want to influence is operating under a deficit of human attention. They are not getting enough time or attention from the people that they love. They have enough information. They have all the facts and statistics they could ever want. In fact, they are drowning information. Desperation is at epidemic levels because all of this information simply leaves us feeling incompetent and lost. We don’t need more information. We need to know what it means. We need a story that explains what it means and makes us feel like we fit in there somewhere."

According to Simmons, the current revival of storytelling is no fad; it is a demonstrable artifact of a profound cultural shift in our society. “Becoming a better storyteller is not hopping on some psycho-babble bandwagon,” she said. “To find your story is to join in a worldwide search for authenticity and those things that are truly important – a search for meaning. The more influential your stories become, the deeper they tap into that which is meaningful.”

Bruce Bradshaw, in his book Change Across Cultures: A Narrative Approach to Social Transformation, presented a similar view: “Narratives, the basic and essential genre for the characterization of human actions, are the stories that govern our lives. They empower people to organize [their] institutions, to develop ideals, and to find authority for [their] actions.” He said, “Cultural narratives explain why people behave as they do, and they can provide social justification for any behavior. This social justification is the starting point to discern how behavior can be redeemed.” (p. 24) They reveal how values and virtues are developed and shaped over time as well as the nature of the truth that governs them, Bradshaw surmised.


Fiber Focus said...

Hi, Steve-

I found your photos on Flickr, followed them to your Babasteve blog and now, here. Your photos are so sensitive and rich- you can tell that people are happy to have you around them. They capture the beauty of our life experience as a people, even with our cultural signatures.

I would love to have you come as a Guest Artist on my humble blog. Tell us a story, please! The focus there is on fiber, but through that common ground, we seek the heart. I'm sure you can dig up something short, sweet and powerful with both your words and photos.

Steve Evans said...

Hi Rayela. Thanks for your encouraging words on both my images and my interest in applied storytelling. I would love to be a guest artist on your site. Just tell me what to do net and how to do it! Best wishes to you. STEVE