Column: The story

I suspect most of us can recall stories we heard or read back when we were youngsters.

If you were lucky, you remember some you can still share with your children or grandchildren.

Well, I’ve just finished one that wasn’t shared with any of us when were we were young, but needs our attention today. It’s a recent book by David Korten, titled “Change the Story, Change the Future.”

Dr. Korten’s book is a report to the Club of Rome. A major theme is his contention that we change the world according to the stories we tell ourselves. When we get our story wrong, we get the future wrong. The author makes a powerful case that we need to examine our core assumptions about how the world works; that we are now following a cultural story that is leading humankind in a deadly direction.

The author describes the dominant story of the global economy as a Sacred Money and Markets story in which money is humanity’s defining value, an unregulated global market serves as its moral compass, and destroying life to make money counts as wealth creation. He makes a case for a Sacred Life and Living Earth economic story grounded in a Living Universe cosmology in which each human being is a self-directing participant.

“We humans organize around stories, … Whoever owns a society’s defining story owns its future. For so long as the Sacred Money and Markets story remains the uncontested framing story of the public culture, we view the world through the lens of money. We see money, we think money and live in service to money. Money owns our future.

“When we view the same reality through the lens of life, we see life, and live life in service to life. Our living future should not, need not, be lost for the lack of an authentic story that acknowledges the self-evident truth that we are human beings for whom life comes before money.”

I don’t think we have to look very far into the past to see the results of big corporations’ influence on our government. Politicians dependent on big money to fund their campaigns favor the interests of money over that of life. As Korten writes, “The defining struggle of our time is a contest between corporate power and people power. It is a struggle between money and life as our defining value and between plutocracy and democracy as our system of governance.”

What Dr. Korten writes about is transformative. It is both promising and powerful. I urge you to read the book and reflect on the implications. Copies are available at our Prescott library and the Peregrine bookstore.