Venessa Miemis: US Cultural Narrative is Broken

Cultural Intelligence, Methods & Process
Venessa Miemis

Essential Skills for 21st Century Survival: Part 6: Storytelling

The following video by Jonah Sachs, creative director at Free Range Studios has prompted me to get back to completing the next installment in this Essential Skills series. He does a beautiful job revealing the secrets of effective and high-impact storytelling.

Jonah Sachs at Compostmodern '11

One of the concepts Jonah presents is that of a “myth gap.” He defines ‘myth’ as the combination of Explanation + Meaning + Story. Historically, myths are the vehicles of culture. They provide a context and framework for the world, hopefully imparting wisdom, insight and guidance as to how we should live our lives. (ie – myth of Genesis). But sometimes, society falls in a myth gap.

Like now.

Another way of saying this is that the cultural narrative is broken.

. . . . . . .

So what are some stories shaping culture today?

Well here’s a few that I’ve been listening to and weaving into the architecture of my own mind:

  • Makers, hackers, prosumers, and cultural creatives are the driving force of the new economy.
  • It makes practical sense to support local economies, buy food that’s grown regionally when possible, and build resilience by creating infrastructures designed to weather uncertainty.
  • The “future of money” is about cooperation over competition. We’re llearning how to intelligently share resources, build value together, and display integrity in thought, word and action – which is then reflected in a boost of social currencies like reputation, influence, trust, authority, and access to opportunities.
  • Mindless consumption is uninspiring, and ultimately a distraction from engaging in the types of behavior that actually lead to sustained happiness. These include: spending time with people we love, having goals and actively working towards accomplishing them, and cultivating gratitude daily for having the opportunity to experience Life.

These are just a few narratives that keep me inspired and motivated these days.

What stories are guiding you towards a more meaningful future?

In today’s polarized and fractured narrative landscape, the winners are those who can get above the noise and weave new mythologies that act as a beacon of light for the path ahead. As a wise man once said:

Those who tell the stories rule society. ~ Plato

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