Home > Uncategorized > A Great Story of Wonderful Disharmony

A Great Story of Wonderful Disharmony

On my way to the leading information-management convention, I’m standing here, in a foreign city, waiting for the bus to arrive. My info I have says the bus number is 18, but the number isn’t written on the sign. “It’s okay, it’s here”, say the others waiting. I’m guessing they know what they’re talking about.
On the way to the train station we hit a traffic jam caused by a car accident, and luckily arrive at the last moment. The train refuses to leave the station. The loudspeakers announce lets us know that due to a malfunction we must transfer to another train. On the middle of the way the train stops and waits a long time for the track to clear. At the final station the waiting queue for a taxi is drawn way past the designated area. Heavy rain. A huge puddle in the middle of the road blocks the entrance to the convention building’s lobby.

Apparently, the speaker for the opening speech is late. The conference begins with a series of presentations concerning the field’s latest innovations. Computers, Software, Internet. An abundance of enticing and stimulating details, professional terms, buzz words and slogans are presented energetically and vigorously. It’s all within the reach of your fingertips: search, backup, retrieval, reconstruction, reproduction… an incomprehensible deluge of data.

As the hours go by, an overtone of weariness takes hold of both the audience and the speakers. The subjects have changed now, and focus on challenges, hesitations and dilemmas. In the closing session, a heavy atmosphere predominates the conclusive panel. The participants sink deep in their armchairs and muse audibly to the microphone: What is information, really? What’s knowledge? What’s the difference between them? [ In a tone which essentially says: “And what, for heaven’s sake, are we doing here?!”]
It would seem that everything’s going out of sync. Like in the “bumping Cars” arena in a Luna park – we all crash and grind against each other with intensifying force. The age of “The Long Tail” and personal expression is characterized by more experiences of daily misunderstanding. What’s trivial to one is completely incomprehensible or unacceptable to anther. Conflicts arise between individuals, between family members, between social groups, between countries, between organizations and between humanity and its natural surrounding.

“Problems are not going to get solved until we sit down with somebody else and really listen to their stories…”

The above is a quotation of the late Storyteller Nancy Duncan, that guides me in my current life phase – A life phase in which I realize that the confusion’s answer is not a matter of time. Things will never be in order unless I’ll find that order inside myself.

Heidi and Alvin Toffler, in their book “Revolutionary Wealth”, point out the key elements to the radical change in human lifestyle as being Time, Place and the new resource of Knowledge, and describe the de-synchronization phenomenon between the various foundations of society:

“Stability and synchronization provide the degree of predictability we need to function as individuals in social groups and especially in the economy. Without some stability and time coordination, life is reduced to oppression by anarchy and chance. But what happens when instability and de-synchronization take over?” [Page 32]

What is it that actually synchronizes individuals and groups ? Surely there are laws that prevent to some degree, people harming each other, but what drives us to legislate laws?
In a brief unlearned contemplation, I identify the myth, the legendary “sacred narrative”, and the mutual struggle against a common enemy or threat, as the forces driving coordination. While mutual threats enforce coordination only till perils are gone, the Myth seems to influence large groups of people, nations and cultures for very long periods of time.

Nava Talpaz writes on the back cover for Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth”:
“A myth is basically a story. Stories people used to tell long before they knew how to read and write. These stories were born of a deep urge found within us from the dawn of our human existence – to understand and describe the world and the purpose of our being. The myths are the stories which tell of our prolonged search throughout the generations for a meaning. They help us arrange and bring order to the chaotic experience, the incomprehensible arbitrariness of new phenomenon in our interaction with the forces of nature and life … Joseph Campbell, dressed in the apparel of a prophet of wrath, says things are the way they are because we have decided to live in a world without mythology.”

In the modern society, the great myths, religions and ideologies are cast aside as a part of the human development process, where individuals refuse to pay the price of obedience to non-actual or non-life-supporting conventions and norms. It seems as though the personal uniqueness will create “personal myths”, grounded in real-time, and that the great art of the upcoming age will involve the interweaving of these personal stories into a single, big network of harmony, welfare and peace.

In the book, journalist Bill Moyers asks Campbell: “Where do the kids growing up in the city – on 125th and Broadway, for example – where do these kids get their myths today?”. Campbell’s answer: “They make them up themselves. This is why we have graffiti all over the city. These kids have their own gangs and their own initiations and their own morality, and they’re doing the best they can”. (The Power of Myth, p. 8 )

A tremendous need can be identified for new stories that will define future trends and help bring together different motivations, views and interests. Such needs are evident everywhere: In the education system, in health services, in organizations dealing with law and order, and generally – in all the wide range of different professions and persuits with which we, as humans, deal throughout our lives.
First we must develop awareness and focus, and then also skills, which will enable us to discover and describe those life scenarios which can provide us with the energy and motivations suited for longer, richer lifetimes than humanity has ever known.

The first step is to acknowledge the fact that each one of us (and every being in nature, too) has a mythical-story of his/her/its own, whether known or still hidden, and that no story is of a “lesser” or a “higher” value compared to the others. The next step would be to choose to know the other’s story…

“Problems are not going to get solved until we sit down with somebody else and really listen to their stories, so we can get to understand each other rather than blowing each other up. The more we put labels on people, the more we are destined not to know them. When we really know somebody else’s story, you cant hate them anymore. It’s a wonderful tool for peace.”
— Storyteller Nancy Duncan

The third step, which involves common-shared paths, synergism and ideas regarding the education of the next generation, can and should be thoroughly discussed. I’ll be happy for anyone who joins me on this journey.

As the conference ends, moments before I prepare myself for the way back home, I tense up as a sudden SMS appears on my cell phone: “Everything’s OK!”

The sender is unknown. The message was sent to me by mistake, but it was definitely the one I would expect to get.

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