New Story as Game Process

June 17, 2007

A storyfield is a set of common assumptions. Its a framework within which things happen. The storyframe forms the context, how we imbue actions and events with meaning.

We need a new story to live into. While I expect that the best of all is served when everyone expresses their own inspiration, there are common shifts in the paradigm that we will share, to express a new kind of culture.

Such as. Morality or ethical conduct. The old fashioned story has good guys and bad guys, and we witness a power struggle. Such is the sorry way of the world. New frame includes instead: good-buys and bad-buys. Actions, not people, are judged. And they are judged for their efficiency in accomplishing stated goals. Voting with dollars is the precision instrument.

Suppose we built a storyframe that expressed shared values like: economic conversion into sustainable ways. We make a game of it. We assign values with measurable scores. Measurable scores are easily had by tracing dollars spent.

How does this frame a story to live into? Community events, monthly banquets of local foods where players report and pool their scores, which easily turns into, commit their dollars into vibrant local economy. First category to count, falsefoods are the bad-buys, and local authentic foods are the good-buys.

The monthly game report banquet, open mike, fun good food, booming alternative party, could be taped, edited and put out as local entertainment for members to enjoy seeing themselves make progress, and if they desire, to share with the world to spread the Game’s values and promote decisive renouncement of stupid ways to take care of ourselves.

Six categories to measure, for the purpose of reducing score to near zero;
financial services
income taxes

The Game of Exchange is an integral part of an overall set of definitions about human identity and healthy boundaries and as such, gives us a genuine story to live into.

Read about this whole philosophy of positive change: Vital Energy Rising. This book shows the Game and a whole lot more.

David Suzuki on the challenge and opportunity of story work

June 6, 2007

From an interview of Suzuki in Global Exchange, Spring 2007:

Kevin Danaher: What gives you hope?

David Suzuki: The fact that people have the power to assign meaning to things and then vigorously defend those things. I was at the Dome of the Rock in Israel and I thought, “here is this rock with so much religious and political significance, and it is just a big rock.” But the human mind is capable of ascribing sacred status to that rock. So if millions of people can assign great spiritual value to a rock because of stories they have been told, then we should be able to tell other stories that will convince people to ascribe great value to all the plants and animals upon which our very existence depends.

Thanks to Nancy Schimmel for this. Sadly, Nancy has written that she will not be able to attend the Conference.

Rushdie on democratizing the story field

June 6, 2007

“Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it . . . and change it as times change, truly are powerless because they cannot think new thoughts.”
— Salman Rushdie

Thanks to David Isaacs for this.

Shared universes and collaborative multimedia imagineering

June 6, 2007

John Abbe introduced me to the Wikipedia entry on shared universes which led me to one on collaborative writing, which took me to another on collaborative fiction. These describe the kinds of multiple-creator universes I imagine could be especially useful in building realistic, sufficiently complex imagineering stories to inspire and catalyze people to actually live (together) into positive futures — perhaps creating those futures as they go, through a juicy participatory feedback loop between Evolving Story, on the one hand, and Evolving Life, on the other.

In the “shared universe” article, one sentence in particular resonated strongly with my multi-media version of this possibility that originally inspired the Story Field Conference: “In a process similar to brand licensing, the intellectual property owners of established fictional settings at times allow others to author new material, creation an expanded universe. Such franchises, generally based on television programs or film, allow for series of novels, video games, original sound recordings and other media.” It isn’t so much the centralized “franchising” approach that caught my attention, as the expansive vision of what kinds of media could be woven into such a shared universe to carry its memes into the culture. There are probably many possible ways to organize such an undertaking other than franchising, many of which have not been developed. That part is up to us….

I believe that fictional (novels, comics, games) and non-fictional (factual, journalistic) media could intermingle such that wiki-like factual links to things like ecotipping points or cob construction — or links to news stories and feature articles — could be part of fictional works. On the other hand, journalists who focus on positive possibilities or participate in imagineering efforts could link to fictional worlds when describing people who are working on realizing those worlds, in whole or part.

Recently I finished reading Robert Lynn Asprin‘s novelish book of collaboratively written short stories about Thieves’ World which includes a fascinating final chapter describing how the collaboration emerged and proceeded. Also in Googling “collaborative novels” I ran across, Penguin Books’ experiment in mass-participation wiki-novel writing — and its juicy critique. It seems there is far more experimentation out there than I imagined.

I hope some Story Field Conference participants are (or become) well versed in these possibilities and can help catalyze something(s) exciting and creative along these lines at the conference. It seems like this kind of an approach could have a particularly potent impact on our culture’s story field.