Hello from the new registrar

May 28, 2007

Hello! I would like to introduce myself. My name is Cheryl Genet and I am delighted to be coming aboard to serve as registrar for the Story Field Conference. It is especially fun to work again with Peggy and Tom, whom I first met when I served as registrar for the first Evolutionary Salon, held at the Hacienda in central California, and inspired by Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow, and my husband Russ Genet.

The Shambhala Conference promises to be a unique and life-changing event. But nuts and bolts must always be attended to as well, so, if you have any questions, problems, or suggestions in regard to registration for the conference, reservations at Shambhala, or accessing the blogs, I am your…woman! Please feel free to email me at storyfieldinfo@comcast.net, or call me at (805) 438-4088. Looking forward to getting to know you! Cheryl


Imagineering

May 28, 2007

Imagineering embraces any use of imaginative narrative to realize, create, or catalyze in real life the potentials we are imagining, usually by drawing people into actually living the story.

Imagineering often involves complete stories, in any form. But it can also involve one or more story elements — metaphors, images, themes, perspectives, conflicts, problems, questions, goals, knowledge, possibilities, and imagined characters, situations, plots, events, resolutions, dialogue, etc.

Role models and “looking back from the future” visionary stories are examples of imagineering.

Imagineers use such story elements consciously to inspire and guide people to reshape their consciousness, their lives, and their social and physical circumstances.

If a story is exciting, compelling, attractive — and do-able — really livable, for its target audience — it becomes a powerful force for change. Such imagineering is a favorite tool of story field workers.

For more about imagineering, including specific examples, see this article.


Leonardo DiCaprio doing story field environmental movies

May 21, 2007

Another sign of story field work being done by mainstream big names:

http://tinyurl.com/yuw56o

Leonardo DiCaprio has produced, co-written and narrated THE 11TH HOUR, a nonfiction film about environmental disaster. “The movie is an earnest and instructive 90 minutes of interviews with experts ranging from Stephen Hawking to David Suzuki, and illustrated with film clips of world ecological disasters. “

The important point for us in the Story Field Conference comes at the end of the article, which shows DiCaprio is operating at the level of multi-media “story field” work. He is producing two movies — one nonfiction and one fiction — specifically to stimulate attitudinal and behavioral changes in viewers.

“DiCaprio said the main point of the movie was to take the audience to a place where they would want to take steps to get involved. It’s a call to action. And it’s an issue that DiCaprio isn’t finished with: He’d like to do a fictional movie about it, as well. ‘But again: it can’t be just a film about the environment for the sake of doing,’ he said. ‘It’s got to powerful and moving. It’s got to be good.'”


Rupert Murdoch does multi-media story field work

May 16, 2007

The story below gives an example of story field change work being done from above (see also Al Gore’s work). I doubt these folks are going to change the institutional arrangements, power relationships, or unerlying assumptions of our political, governmental, and economic order. But they are doing work to shift the story field, in this case by influencing individual behaviors, and with a keen sense of the interrelationships among media. One of our jobs, I believe, is to shift the story field from the bottom up, in ways that actually change the underlying assumptions and patterns of the systems we live in, as David Korten’s piece below points out.

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article2536869.ece

Murdoch: I’m proud to be green
News Corp boss orders his entire empire to convert and become a worldwide enthusiast for the environment
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
The Independent – 13 May 2007

In one of the most unexpected conversions since Saul of Tarsus hit the road to Damascus, Rupert Murdoch is turning into a green campaigner. He is making the whole of his worldwide operations carbon neutral and setting out to “educate and engage” his readers and viewers about global warming….

…the main thrust of the campaign will be “to inspire people to change their behaviour” through films, television productions and news operations. It will aim “to weave this issue into our content, make it dramatic, make it vivid, even sometimes make it fun”. As a start, MySpace is launching a channel devoted to climate change, and Fox television is developing “a solutions-based campaign”. Today’s Sunday Times and News of the World both major on plans by Gordon Brown for new eco-towns.

Mr Murdoch says: “Imagine if we succeed in inspiring our audiences to reduce their own impacts on climate change by just 1 per cent. That would be like turning the state of California off for almost two months.”


David Korten Brings Old and New Story Fields to the Conference

May 15, 2007

David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning, is one of the visionary Big Story people we have invited to the Story Field Conference to stimulate our thinking about what kind of story fields we actually want to promote. I was blown away by his new visionary essay CHANGE THE STORIES, CHANGE THE HUMAN COURSE, a downloadable .doc in which he vividly describes the competing story fields of Empire and Earth Community. This piece also articulates very well the rationale for the Story Field Conference. Below is the first of ten pages, to give you a taste:

The invitation to the First Annual Story Field Conference poses three questions:

  • What is the new narrative that is already calling us?
  • What stories — both ancient and emerging — are so powerfulthat they draw us to hope, to care, and to engage?
  • How can stories and the ways we tell them shift society into greater aliveness and wisdom?

The human species is on the verge of self-annihilation, and we are meeting to talk about stories. Far from being frivolous and irrelevant as some might assume, this gathering is at the cutting edge of serious change. The power to shape the stories that frame a culture is a power that ultimately trumps the coercive powers of the state and the financial power of concentrated wealth. Indeed, it is the only power that potentially trumps the power of the dysfunctional, but seemingly invulnerable institutions that currently set the human course. The three questions that will frame our discourse at Shambhala Mountain Center are among the most important questions of our time, because the work of changing the story field of modern culture has become an imperative.

For more than two decades, my work has centered on changing the economic stories that shape economic policy and practice. I did not fully understand the deeper implications of the story change work, however, until my longtime Filipino friend and colleague Nicky Perlas visited me on Bainbridge Island in 1999. An important figure in Philippine civil society and a student of Rudolph Steiner’s theories, Nicky pointed out that in a contest between coercive power, financial power, and cultural power, the ultimate advantage resides in cultural power — call it story power — which is the power to shape the values and worldview of the society.

Nicky helped me see the truth that those elements of civil society which are committed to liberating humanity from institutions of domination have a natural advantage in the domain of culture. To maintain control, the institutions of domination must justify themselves with falsified values of fabricated stories that contradict reality. By contrast, those of us devoted to the cause of justice, compassion, and sustainability need only encourage people to recognize, accept, and act on what they know in their hearts to be true.

For the rest of this great article, download this Word document – CHANGE THE STORIES, CHANGE THE HUMAN COURSE


Conference Process

May 9, 2007

THE CONFERENCE PROCESS

While the process design work will be finalized much closer to the conference, we know now that it will involve primarily a process known as Open Space, which is self-organized by all of us participants on site, in real time, with no pre-established workshops or keynotes (see http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-Openspace.html). We have chosen to use Open Space as our overall process because it encourages the emergence of unexpected breakthroughs.

Given the creative mix of people present, we know that story telling (of course!), music, movement, video, poetry, and art will be present. The conference opening will involve some mix of setting a shared context, storytelling, and connecting us all more deeply with ourselves, each other, and the whole that we form. In this work we will likely use World Café — which involves small cafe-like conversations, with occasional mixing of participants (see http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-worldcafe.html). There will naturally be lots of talking circles within and around both the Open Space and the World Cafe. During the evenings we expect many of us participants will socialize and share videos, performances, and stories that take us deeper, open our hearts to joy and sorrow, and inspire much co-creative juicy-ness.

We have a result in mind: We want this event to further the story field’s shift and, more importantly, to trigger a cascade of similar events and activities that involve more and more people — ultimately evolving into a whole-system CAPACITY that society as a whole uses to change its story field consciously, whenever it needs to. The path we take to achieve this shared goal will emerge from our work together.

CREATING A GENERATIVE SPACE

What will that work be like? Given the profound complexity of our society and of our current evolutionary situation, the story-shift we want cannot be approached as a linear task for which we can lay out an established plan or agenda. Nor do we want our conference to provide simply a sharing and learning space for all the people who are involved with aspects of this story-work. The hour is late, the evolutionary field is super-saturated, and we need breakthroughs — radical, unforeseen, powerful new channels for the special passion and competence of all of us participants and others like us out in the world.

So we seek to create a hospitable gathering space in which there is enough time and freedom for all our gifts and passions (a) to become visible to each other and the whole and (b) to creatively INTERACT in ways that allow for the inspirations, possibilities, and disturbances of one day to simmer and compost overnight and then emerge to evolve further the next day — day after day — for five full days and nights. In other words, we need an iterative feedback kind of process — unpredictable, emergent, intense — which is open to both frustration and magic, because frustration is so often a sign that something truly new and magical is trying to emerge. In short, we want a space where anything that needs to be born can be born among us rather than being squeezed out by a crowded agenda.

There is a risk, when we let go and open up like this, that things will not unfold with the power that we seek. But true transformation — moving into the unknown, open to what wants to emerge — seldom happens without risk and letting go. Our job as conveners and hosts — a job shared by all participants — is to invoke the personal passion, courage, and shared intention of those who come, as these factors are the primary organizing energies of Open Space. When they are alive in a group, they are profoundly generative.

So expect to be called into what YOU most care about. And expect surprises.


Conference Intention

May 9, 2007

The human species is on the verge of self-annihilation, and we are meeting to talk about stories. Far from being frivolous and irrelevant as some might assume, this gathering is at the cutting edge of serious change. The power to shape the stories that frame a culture is the only power that potentially trumps the power of the dysfunctional, but seemingly invulnerable institutions that currently set the human course. Changing the story field of modern culture has become an imperative. — David Korten

As we continue reaching out to friends and colleagues to join our August gathering, our original intention in convening this conference is coming into sharper focus — and the form and flavor of the conference are evolving in exciting ways. We wish to share the latest with you, which have emerged through our communications with other conference invitees like yourself:

THE CONFERENCE INTENTION

As you know, the target of our shared attention and passion for this conference is the culture’s “story field”. All around us are signs that an impulse is arising within the story field to shift from a seriously dysfunctional meta-story — David Korten, who is joining us, calls it “suicidal” — to a more spirit-full, life-serving, sustainable meta-story.

We expect that the Story Field Conference — and the activities before and after it — will address the story field at a number of levels:

1. THEORY: We will all deepen our awareness and understanding of story fields and their dynamics — and the power of Story, in general.

2. WHAT EXISTS: We will deepen our awareness of the presence and content of the existing story field as it shapes our culture and mass consciousness.

3. WHAT WE WANT: We will explore together life-serving narratives and how we might help them shift the story field we all live in. This includes bringing out emerging technologies, innovations, collaborations, and other possibilities and resources that can help us — including ancient ways and knowings that many of us have lost touch with..

4. ACTUALIZING IT: We will initiate efforts to spread more life-serving stories and help people actually live into a more life-enhancing story field on the ground, making it real in the world, so it becomes not just a told story or a believed story but a rich fabric of mutually reinforcing lived stories, with more and more people living it.

That’s the overall picture we see of the conference.

AN EMERGING DEVELOPMENT and ENTICING INVITATION (at least we think so!)

As part of (4), above, we have attracted several meta-story change agents — e.g., Michael Dowd with the Great Story of evolution (http://thegreatstory.org), David Korten with the Great Turning (http://thegreatturning.net), and a place-based story-shifting network from Hawaii — to bring colleagues to the conference for focused face-to-face work developing their on-the-ground story-realization projects while being immersed in the generative ecosystem of storytellers, artists, visionaries, journalists, etc., who will be swirling around them at this conference.

If you are engaged in such a story shift, come and bring your kindred spirits and colleagues. What better context in which to develop your work than among artists and other story makers? Together, we shall weave a rich tapestry of not one “perfect” yarn, but a vibrantly textured fabric that reflects the richness of our diversity.

After all, the story field we need is not the One Right Story, but a co-creative co-evolution of millions of stories in more life-flourishing directions. So practicing right in our conference the shift from belonging-as-conformity to belonging-as-showing-up-in-our-uniqueness-and-evolving-together is, itself, a profound change in the story!

So please, join us and bring your friends.