Spotting, revealing and letting go of the ‘horror stories’ is step one. A crucial step, but not one we want to get stuck on.
Step two – spotting, creating and spreading the ‘love stories’ – will happen at the same time. Gradually it will become the main effort, as the two loops model describes.
The love stories – ‘Nature is our family’, ‘Wellbeing is success’ – are showing up in all sorts of places. In many cultures they have been around for thousands of years.
The task now is to help these ‘love stories’ spread all around the world. For these more accurate, more healthy stories (‘better’ in both senses) to become common sense.
So that we can support the re-emergence of the narrative of interbeing, and design the Economy in Service to Life that will help us through to more viable worlds.
This effort begins with recognising that the energy we need for these stories is abundant.
“Empathy, sympathy and love are limitless resources, energies that never deplete, and at this time of dwindling fuels we should cherish and explore these inexhaustible resources more than ever”
Just like with the horror stories, we’re asking questions here to help us spot and share the things that already carry the love stories, and think about what new things we could create to carry them further.
We’re using the word ‘work’ here in the broadest sense, to encompass everything that we put into the world – you could also call it ‘play’.
“The difference between work and play is only a matter of attitude. Work, fully done, is play.”
There are great stories out there that already carry this love story.
Like ‘The Sea Beast’ from Netflix, nominated for the Best Animation Oscar in 2023, which tells the story – spoiler alert! – of a community coming to realise that the creatures it thought were its enemies are in fact its wider family.
Or this advert from yogurt brand Chobani, which imagines a world were we live in relationship with the more-than-human world, in careful balance and comfortable abundance.
“Abundance is not the manifestation of physical wealth. It is the absence of scarcity of the heart.”
These two films both carry the story that nature is our family, our community, our relatives.
Below we ask some more questions, to help us explore this love story further, accompanied by a few examples that we noticed. Can you notice any more?
How can our stories encourage us to love and care for the natural world?
We’re steeped in a story that creates the idea of scarcity, a scientific story of seperation, competition and conflict.
The story plays out.
We remain as inmates, jailed and separate.
This is unsustainable.
Over turn this story.
How many of our leaders grew up with a relationship with nature?
How many politicians understand that the natural world is a gift not a commodity.
How do I feel belonging if I don’t have a relationship with those that provide for me?
Plants provide us all with oxygen, medicine and food.
How can we not have a language to communicate to the natural world? How come we are not taught to talk to the other live beings around us.
We need to invest in plants.
Invest in the soil.
Not in oil.
Invest in the next generations.
Not the renewable technology.
Fight until our cities full of greenery.
Reestablish a relationship.
One where we are humbled and grateful.
Is gratitude the antidote of consumerism?
Does our gratitude soothe our need to externally consume.
Nature is a gift, it is not ours to own.
What can I give back?
The technological revolution is not going to save us, reclaiming a relationship with plants will.
They will remind us of our connection.
“When we must pay the true price for the depletion of nature’s gifts, materials will become more precious to us, and economic logic will reinforce, and not contradict, our heart’s desire to treat the world with reverence and, when we receive nature’s gifts, to use them well.”
How might our stories create allyship and connection between our fellow human beings and the more than human world?
“The whole of the cosmos is relational – relations are primary to the things that are related.”
Wellbeing is supposed to be the outcome of our current economic design’s obsession with productivity.
So our stories sometimes focus on wellbeing, but it is less common for them to reveal that the economy is actually in the way of us achieving it.
Disney’s Christopher Robin is, gently, different – it encourages us to question what current economic designs prioritise, and imagines redesigning them to prioritise what really matters – love, family, relationship and wellbeing.
And although this advert for the Co-op supermarket doesn’t actively critique the economic design, it suggests a way for us to hack it to support and improve our communities, and feel better in the process.
In these stories people don’t get rid of productivity altogether – but they make sure that we’re focused on what really matters.
That we’re focused on the health of our family, in the smallest and broadest sense.
That we prioritise thriving, plentiful, flourishing life.
That we serve the life we need to live.
And if this sounds like a sacrifice, consider that right now even those of us in supposedly rich nations are sacrificing our wellbeing – the thing we actually think matters most – at the altar of endless growth and consumption.
Read on for more exploratory questions and examples, and see if you can notice other ‘love stories’ in which ‘wellbeing is success’.
How can our stories help us recognise the wealth in wellbeing?
“The culture of the old story is so pervasive, especially advertising and consumerism, there is no space for people to breathe and think about a new story. The challenge of creating space is not one to hold lightly.”
How can our stories help us imagine a future where we serve life?
How might our stories help us better see where we’ve been, and imagine where we could be going?
Based on our current understanding, the Earth has been around for over 4 billion years.
Humans for about 150,000.
Heavy industry for 200.
Scale the age of the Earth down to one year, and humans show up around 11:30pm on Dec 31. Heavy industry starts a few seconds before midnight.
This means, even though our current way of life seems to have a sense of longevity, perhaps even permanence…it doesn’t reflect reality.
It’s in our best interests to have another look. To consider whether or not there is a better approach.
“The ROI on an acorn is poor in its first decade or two. Don’t optimise for the quickest return. That mindset rarely builds anything remarkable.”
The prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor
A First Nation prophecy speaks of human society dividing along two paths, following the Eagle (from the North) and the Condor (from the South).
The Eagle is a figure for the path of the mind: for rationalism, the industrial, the masculine. The path of the Condor is that of the heart, intuition, connection to the Earth, the feminine.
The Eagle and Condor prophecy tells that the colonisation of Latin America from the 1490s began a period of about 500 years during which the Eagle people would become so powerful that they almost wiped out the Condor people.
Then comes the next 500-year period, today, when the potential would arise for the Eagle and the Condor to come together, to fly in the same sky, creating a new level of consciousness for humanity.
These questions and examples of the ‘love stories’ are just a starter.
There are more in the Library and many more out there in the world.
What other examples can you notice?
What other questions can we ask?
Each and every one of us is needed now, to spread these love stories and help weave that narrative of interbeing, so that together we can design an Economy In Service to Life.
This is the task at hand now.
“The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible”
In the final chapter, we offer a few tools and some further questions to equip ourselves as we accept this calling.