Scarcity vs Abundance

July 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

I took part in a fantastic workshop today, led by Patrick Reinsborough from SmartMeme – a group of activists sharing their learnings of story-based-strategy. Their work touches on so many ideas that have been dominating my mind, so it was great to see a room full of people with similar thoughts. There were a couple of ideas and phrases that struck me, that I thought I’d share.

  • When looking at the story we’re trying to tell – and the stories being told by those institutions we’re trying to change, it’s important to look at characters, conflict, imagery and foreshadowing. To anyone who writes fiction, this is 101. But what I hadn’t considered was, what are the assumptions that we hold that allow those stories to hold meaning.
  • If you haven’t got a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.
  • As activists, we should be in the business of selling dreams. Too often we forget that.
  • We often think that the problem is that enough people don’t know about our issue. Really, the problem is what people think they do know. The stories they’ve been told that touch are issues shape their reaction.
  • We’re surrounded by the story of scarcity – the need to compete, the desire to win (and therefore others to lose), security is based on having something someone else does not, the idea that we need GM crops to be able to feed starving children. Each of these depends on the idea of scarcity. If, instead, we see the world as a place of abundance, suddenly sharing does not been lessening I own. An interesting alternative way of seeing the world that fits well with George Lakoff’s idea of nurturant parent vs strict-father parents.

They also introduced me to the fantastic work of George Lakey and Gene Sharp.

There’s a great video introduction to the work SmartMeme do – here.

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