A conversation at the roots of the meta-crisis

Why we need new narratives for a better world

I was in a conversation some days ago, organized by Cocoon Pro about improving how different entities can work together for having exponential effects on the world that is emerging.
It felt promising, deep, powerful, compelling, careful, and very needed.
I find it very relevant for all of us in this time of meta-crisis, and in particular I loved the conversation about narratives.
The Importance of Narrative in Our Lives
Narratives are an essential aspect of human experience. It is through stories, myths, and narratives that we connect with the world around us, and come to understand our place in it. Our stories allow us to make sense of our experiences, express our emotions, teach and learn, and shape our perception of reality. Narratives – as an open-ended flow of stories coherent to a topic – have the power to inspire us, motivate us, and help us navigate through the complexities of our world.
A narrative is a powerful way of shaping our worldview and it guides our actions.
Think about the myth of race. It was a powerful narrative during the 19th century that was used to justify colonialism, slavery, and the exploitation of non-European peoples. This narrative had a lasting impact on global politics and society and continues to influence attitudes toward race and ethnicity today. Adolf Hitler and nazism is only one story of this narrative.
On the other hand, think about the Black Lives Matter movement. It is a powerful narrative that emerged in response to systemic racism, police brutality, and social injustice faced by Black communities in the United States. It has provided a platform for Black voices to be heard and for the experiences of Black people to be recognized and addressed. The Black Lives Matter movement has challenged the dominant narratives of power and privilege that have historically excluded and marginalized Black people, and has opened up new possibilities for imagining a more just and equitable future. George Floyd is only one story of this narrative.
Climate change is a powerful narrative that has emerged in response to the global crisis of environmental degradation and climate disruption. It has brought together scientists, activists, policymakers, and communities from around the world in a shared effort to address this existential threat. It has inspired a new generation of environmental leaders, and has galvanized action at local, national, and international levels. Greta Thunberg is only one story of this narrative.
Narratives are so powerful that people are ready to kill and die for a narrative. Even if you don’t make it explicit, your own values, beliefs, goals, desires, actions, choices are interwoven with some narratives you are participating in.
The power of collective narratives lies in their ability to bring people together and provide a sense of purpose and direction.
When people come together through a collective narrative, they are able to tap into a shared wisdom that is greater than any individual. They participate in something that reflects their shared experiences and aspirations, and this allows people to build a sense of trust and mutual understanding that can be the foundation for giving shape to the society.
The Limitations of the Dominant Narratives
We are facing many challenges nowadays, all at the same time, and it sounds like we are just unlucky because all of these challenges arrived all together.
The truth is that all of them have common roots, so it’s quite normal that they sprouted all at the same time. Like leaves of the same tree. And these roots, I believe, are nurtured by the dominant narratives of the last centuries.
The narratives of individualism and consumerism have been the dominant cultural narratives for many decades. These narratives promote competition and separation, creating a sense of isolation and alienation. These narratives led to social inequality, environmental degradation, and a loss of meaning and purpose.

Quoting something emerged from the work we did a few days ago:
No one of these challenges can be won or solved on its own. They are deeply intertwined and have roots in the way our species has been relating to life herself.
Yet, by their own nature, they can all be overcome at once, by deeply reshaping this very relationship.
To create a sustainable and equitable future for all, we need new narratives that reflect our interconnectedness with each other and the natural world, value sustainability, equity, and community, and invite us to participate in creating a new world. We need narratives that inspire us to act for the benefit of all, not just for our individual benefit.
Please, read carefully: not JUST for our individual benefit.
Yes, because also the duality me-others is a common human experience rooted in a dominant narrative of the last centuries, the one of individualism, and in fact one of the most pervasive dichotomies we encounter is egoism versus altruism. Egoism is often seen as the self-centered pursuit of individual goals, while altruism is characterized by selflessness and the desire to benefit others.
But we can overcome this duality. And it requires a shift in our perception of ourselves and our place in the world. Rather than seeing ourselves as separate and distinct individuals, we must recognize our interconnectedness with others and the environment around us. This holistic perspective allows us to move beyond egoism and altruism towards a more integrated approach to living. What in Cocoon Pro we call Ecoism.
The benefits of this approach can be exponential. By embracing an ecoistic perspective and moving beyond the duality of egoism and altruism, we can unlock exponential effects and benefits that enrich both ourselves and the world around us.
All this potential is limited by the current dominant narratives in our societies. So it is time to move forward.
The Need for New Narratives
We need to embrace new narratives, and they require a language that reflects the interconnectedness of our world and helps us navigate its complexities. We need a language that acknowledges the relationships between people, nature, and technology. We need a language that recognizes the interdependence of ecosystems and the global economy. We need a language that can communicate the complexity and diversity of our world without oversimplifying or reducing it to a set of isolated parts.
However, language alone is not sufficient to embrace a new narrative. We need to also change our worldview and shift our perspective from one that values individualism and competition to one that values cooperation and interdependence. We need to recognize that we are all part of larger systems – “small arcs of larger circles” quoting Nora Bateson – and that our actions have ripple effects on the world around us. We need to move beyond the epistemology of control and domination and toward an epistemology of relationship that recognizes the interdependence of all things.
To nurture new narratives that reflect our interconnectedness with each other and the natural world, we need to listen to the stories of diverse communities and cultures and integrate them into collective narratives. We need to embrace complexity and diversity and recognize that there are multiple ways of understanding and experiencing the world.
In embracing new narratives, we need to also recognize the power dynamics that shape and reinforce a narrative. Our current dominant narratives are often controlled by those in positions of power who benefit from the status quo. To help new narratives blossom, we need to center the voices of those who have been historically not heard. We need to create spaces for dialogue and collaboration that invite diverse perspectives and worldviews.
We need a collective entity to give voice to all the seminal flows of energy and conversation that need to be nurtured to give shape to the world we are asked to live in. It’s time to create a strong and resilient fabric that can hold us all together. And it should live through new and more suitable narratives.

Pic from the Ohana Meetup 2022

This was the conversation I had. A conversation of a group of brave people who are setting up new dynamics to make new narratives flourish, with concrete streams of actions, collaboration agreements, fast and shared learning, wise governance, and committed actors.
If this resonates, get in touch

A special thanks to Stelio Verzera, Jose Leal, Trae Ashlie-Garen, Anna Montanari, Isabela Caria, Iñaki Pérez, Parmjit Nahil, Grace Rachmany, Pietro Antolini, Manfred Della Schiava, Alessandra Cianchettini, Joaquín Figueiredo, Remco Westerbroek, Frank Suffert, Edgardo Noya, Ernst Scholtz and Eugenio Battaglia who were at the meeting and inspired this article.


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