I’m about 1/4 of the way through America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy, by Gustave Spethe (trying to take good notes, so I’m going a little slow), and this quote from a section on altering national culture struck me:
Whether they are heads of a nation or senior officials of the United Nations, leaders…have enormous potential to change minds…and in the process they can change the course of history.
I have suggested on way to capture the attention of a disparate population: by creating a compelling story, embodying that story in one’s own life, and presenting the story in many different formats so that it can eventually topple the counterstories in one’s culture…The story must be simple, easy to identify with emotionally resonant, and evocative of positive experiences.
–Howard Gardner, Harvard Graduate School of Education
I’ll elaborate more on this in a future post (possibly the next weekly post), but I think this is one of the problems that various environmental movements have suffered from: their message is too negative, too complex, and it’s more of a manifesto than an ideology. The most strongly resonant ideologies (hell, the most strongly resonant anything) tell us a story–of others, of the truth, of ourselves, of the future.
This may be starting to change…but that’s a story for another day.