We Can Change Our Future!
Storian Narrative Overview
Storian narratives of humanity and life on Earth in the 2 generations leading to 2060 are set in a context of long looming and threatening, catastrophic environmental and social collapses, our greatest shared existential crises and challenges. In that context, a majority of humans everywhere have come together in diverse and unprecedented ways to deter those common enemies, narrowly avert and hopefully prevent future collapses, and produce and be stewards of improved lives, societies and environments, by living with integrity, guided by shared principles and values that make common sense to us.
Predominantly, these storian narratives are of subtle and blatant, rapid and often disruptive, objective and subjective changes, as parts of great, heroic and positive transformations. In these narratives, this human majority generally reports feeling better about our lives and futures than at any time in our lives. We’re happier, more satisfied, fulfilled and hopeful, and feeling like our lives and the world we live in are getting better, not worse. We feel we are meaningfully contributing to positive changes, creating better conditions than ours for our children, future generations and other life on Earth. We believe we are part of evolutionary progress, with spiritual experiences and growth we know deeply and personally in our own core beings and corresponding progressive changes in our physical and social worlds. We identify as caretakers and appreciators of life, communities, spirit and life support systems on Earth.
Of course, there are also many stories of loss and pain suffered by people harmed by environmental damages, changes and disturbances: residents of islands and shorelines dislocated by rising sea levels, people suffering from illnesses created by past poisons and changed conditions, people who couldn’t survive loss of reliable water supplies, people living where the heat became murderous and unbearable. There are many stories of people harmed by social and economic changes and disruptions, affected by loss of traditional livelihoods, and by violence and abuse roused by fears and other negative emotions. There are stories of people suffering psychologically, physically and emotionally from denying changes and clinging obstinately or desperately onto dying and obsolete paradigms, practices and behaviors. Those stories of adjustment difficulties are just as real and important as any others.
In 2022, a San Francisco Bay Area mogul who’d made a fortune in information technologies, a self-identified Earth Citizen, launched a legacy non-profit called OurStories. It established a global network of servers for recording, storing and accessing our stories, and our analyses and interpretations of them, by anybody anywhere. Via a web portal, anyone can easily record and share any story, in text, audio or video formats. Embedded technologies make any story accessible in any format, in any language. Written stories can be translated by machines and read aloud, and audio stories can be superimposed on standard or custom photo or video collages. Oral and video stories are accessible as converted texts. Stories in most languages can be instantly translated into most languages. Full texts are searchable.
The services are free and ad-free to anyone in the world with network access, the project is endowed in perpetuity, and its staff is managed transparently by a board, vision, mission, values and principles, recognizing the importance of stories in our lives, and with no financial profit motivation in the system.
Since the dawn of language, we’ve made sense of our worlds and shared knowledge and experiences through stories. To understand each other, get along, live and grow together, we need to be able to know and learn from each other’s stories. It often doesn’t serve us well to have dominant “historical” or current news stories imposed on us by propaganda efforts with control or manipulation agendas. Remove the dominant, conqueror, prevailor, patriarchal, winner “his” out of “his-story.” It isn’t only the winner who gets to write his-story; we all share our stories. All our diverse perspectives, experiences and stories are valuable to us. Let’s all be able to benefit from sharing them and using them to evolve.
This service experienced explosive growth, becoming a dominant social networking platform globally. We’ve come to love sharing our stories, and made major hobbies of producing, curating, exploring and sharing their tellings. Those submitting and those exploring stories can associate metadata with them, so it’s easy to search for stories with specific attributes, topics, themes, places, times, events, issues, people, content or purposes, whether fiction or non-fiction. Stories are ranked by users in various ways, so particularly valuable stories gravitate toward the tops of attentions. Users spend hours sharing, reading and listening to funny stories, stories from our schools, communities and workplaces, stories of governments and organizations, romantic stories, children’s stories, consumer stories, nature stories, and all kinds of other stories. In 2060, there are many billions of stories deposited, including a vast archive of older stories retrieved and uploaded, back to the beginnings of recorded stories.
OurStories includes a huge archive of stories related to Earth Citizen Principles and Values, stories about people’s decisions to adopt those principles and values, and efforts to integrate them into personal and community characters, decision-making, changes and actions, stories about being, doing and behaving with integrity in order to be true to those principles and values, and positive impacts and outcomes resulting from such integrity. These stories assist us in better understanding our principles and values, why we adopt and try to be true to them, and how that results in better lives and worlds. They range from very personal, isolated and individual, to broad political and social movements impacting millions. They capture subjective experiences and truths, as well as objective facts and observations.
OurStories is referenced extensively by the general public, but also by journalists, consumers, citizens, public servants, communities, companies, academics, and others who use it to evaluate government, organizations, efforts, products, issues, ideas, changes and performance. The role that was called historian is now called storian, in part because storians draw so heavily on diverse content in OurStories archives to identify themes, trends and storylines in their work. What was called history is now just called the past. Storians still reference other sources of content, including government information, news, published books, journals and academic papers. Importantly, for the first time, there are massive academic efforts to survey subjective aspects of existence, so now we have lots of data about what people think and feel about our lives and what happens in them, rather than just objective facts.
A representative storian narrative covering the four decades leading to 2060 goes something like this:
By 2020, the evidence of detrimental human impacts on global life support and climate systems was basically undeniable to anyone with open senses and minds. No matter where anyone lived, it was clear that the weather and conditions people were used to were changing. Scientific data were very clear, and global climate change theories had essentially unanimous support from the scientific community.
Sea levels rises were already measurable, and traceable to polar ice melts and calving. Catastrophic storms and fires were clearly increasing. Rain patterns were changing. Forests were dying from infestations by insects that previously could not survive there. People were harmed by heat waves, water shortages, food shortages and illnesses. Temperature graphs clearly showed rising trends that couldn’t be explained as aberrations. The hottest temperatures everywhere were all in the last decade.
Socially, income and wealth disparity were unfair and obvious to all, creating real and obvious suffering, and lack of viable opportunities for majorities of people. Government was so obviously controlled by the wealthy, that violent revolutions seemed for many to be the only viable methods for change. Peaceful change through democratic government processes had long been viewed as unfeasible, because of government corruption, but now people knew that. It had been many years since government action had been sincerely directed to truly serving common people and systems.
The wealthy and their governments were increasingly militarizing police forces, providing them combat gear, weaponry, training and indoctrination in anticipation of a revolution they planned to suppress. They were already targeting the most disaffected people, those most harmed, suffering and desperate, mentally and emotionally near breaking points, unstable and with the least to lose, via racial and other discriminatory profiling, baiting and imprisonment, to remove them from pending battlefields and votes and further disempower them in life. No matter that it cost working taxpayers more to keep them in prison that it would to send them to college. People with few options continued to join the military, which untouchably consumed three-fourths of discretionary federal government spending in the U.S., even with no credible external military threat. It appeared the military now existed as much to be able to suppress internal rebellion by the people as to exert economic imperialism globally.
The wealthy and powerful controlled most widely available news, information, entertainment and religious dissemination channels, using them to divide and conquer, to program the public for docility and obedience, to distract us from substantive observing, learning, thinking, organization and resistance. They continued to promote an American Dream in which anyone should be able to make it to the top, shining bright lights on exceptions who did, but distracting people from the improbability that we could. In the same way lotteries were proliferating as taxes on people who are bad at math, unable to grasp the incredible unlikeliness it would ever pay off for us, or playing anyway because we could conceive of few other real ways to acquire wealth, the American Dream was a desperately unfeasible hope for people who increasingly had no other viable hopes for prosperous and fulfilling human lives.
Interestingly, many of these conditions weren’t created consciously by most of the wealthy out of evil or exploitative intent. Most were simply isolated and insulated by wealth from realities of common lives, living in removed luxury, owning most everything and simply seeking the highest profit returns from their investments, which conditioning caused us to believe was a good thing. Capitalism was essentially a state religion they fervently believed in. “Seek to maximize profits, and markets will provide for the needs of all, like magic, unless regulated.” They couldn’t or wouldn’t see the evidence it wasn’t working for all, because they were personally too comfortable. They were too out of it to see the harms.
Most of these conditions were actually created by people working for businesses they owned: managers, employees and lobbyists trying to improve their own conditions by doing what they were incented to by compensation and advancement schemes: to maximize profits for their owners, regardless of what the business was ostensibly created to be and do. To survive, they had to.
In this context, in the early 2020s, growing numbers began waking up to the need for widespread and significant change. The majority of people were not prospering, happy or fulfilled within this system, and the planetary ecosystem was heating up and headed for catastrophic change, largely because of human activities. A period of panicky “whoever’s out there in charge needs to do something about this” passed with the realization that whoever is in charge is creating these problems in the first place, and they have no incentive to change, because they are the ones profiting from it. They’re not doing anything about it. Worse, they are denying the problems and doubling down on what is not working.
Especially during the global pandemic of 2020, increasing numbers of us searched our souls and opened our heads and hearts to making big changes, in our own lives. We increasingly realized that these problems do not originate “out there somewhere”; these problems come from deep inside each of us. They stem from our individual and collective beliefs, values, practices, habits, behaviors and worldviews. Those have to change inside each of us before anything significant is going to change “out there.”
Starting around 2020, there was a widespread movement within people to look deeply at our individual and collective beliefs, values, practices, habits, behaviors and worldviews and proactively change them. We talked about and worked with them, philosophically and practically, subjectively and objectively.
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