I recently came across a video promoting a book called “Story Wars” dealing with the importance of empowered marketing that can help give consumers the tools and knowledge they need to make informed and socially responsible decisions.
The video is brilliant in making the case to learn more about the book (I am almost tempted to order), yet the glaring message I took from the story in the video is that we as a culture are not connected to a meaningful myth that is self-sustaining. In other words, the myths we have attached to are mainly consumer based or based on a system that has nothing to do with the laws of the natural world.
There are few, if any, current myths having to do with what Climate Change, the ever-present war on terror, or the continuous stream of media really means to us as individuals and a connected global society. Not only that, the stories we do have also fall short on the universally important themes of sustainability, self-reflection, empathy and creative individualism. Are we unable to tell our own stories, and therefore have to hire marketers to do it for us? Or are we just telling ourselves the WRONG stories: stories that are fear-based, lack the total imaginative potential of humanity, or will fit into 6 second bytes of time that we spend between 2 meaningless acts as we go about our day?
My thought is we have to re-learn how to interpret the events in our lives, as individuals and communities, to be able to tell and share the stories that truly signify what we are going through. When we can do this collective re-interpretation, we can approach the problems and trials of each day with a wisdom founded on understanding the context of our lives by having a deeper lens with which to view the world. This needs to start with kids as young as 5, before they are told their imaginations aren’t “real” and won’t matter in the world. I say we have “personal myth-making” class as a part of every student’s upbringing- start at elementary school and go until graduation. Then, hopefully, the stories we tell ourselves and others can be true reflections, not only of who we are, but of what we hope to be.