Activated Storytelling principles

ari kuschnir
3 min readMay 6, 2019

Charles Eisenstein likes to put it this way: We are in between stories. We are moving from the story of separation to the story of inter-being or interconnectedness operating from a place of deep connection with all beings.

So if we are in between stories, if the old story of separation, control and domination is collapsing and crumbling (and this week’s harrowing reports of species loss and ice loss are prime examples) then we the storytellers and creators have a huge role to play in creating the bridge from the old to the new story. We have to step into the new story and create from there to help build the bridge. Many are already doing this work but the overarching story is still stuck on the old. And we can’t perpetuate the same narratives that no longer serve us.

So here are the two core principles of Activated Storytelling:

Let’s utilize our creative power to bring about a better world.

How? By upgrading our way of being. By showing up clear and present without the baggage of our old stories.

So how do we built the bridge? Here are three ways:

Story as medicine: Let’s dream up stories that heal ourselves, our issues, our traumas, our 0–7 programming which is not even ours but its what’s driving us most of the time. Think of your creation as medicine for you and others. It can be dark, sometimes its good to face the shadows and remember all you have to do is shine a light on them because all the shadows want is love. This JR project is a great example of art that heals.

Dystopia vs Protopia (not Utopia): Kevin Kelly coined Protopia in 2011 as a state that is better than today than yesterday, although it might be only a little better.” Right now Dystopia is hot. Black Mirror, Birdbox, Every trailer is the end of the world. What are we telling our selves and our children? If all we see is a dead world then we will kill it. Think of new Protopias and get inspired by Solar Punk or Vincent Callebaut’s work

Stories that contribute to better outcomes: This image is the work of Ikire Jone’s Our Future Heritage project which is an ongoing series of stories that scrutinize aspects of present-day African society, and attempt to telegraph their ripple effects in the far-flung future. Their overall goal is to tell triumphant stories of people who many of us have previously ignored. Ask yourself if your creation is contributing to the generations ahead.

Stories are great sensemaking tools: it’s how we make sense of the world. We are struggling to make collective sense of our current story so I would love to hear from you on how else we can contribute to Activated Storytelling.

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ari kuschnir

Creating stories that activate better futures now. Founder of the new wave production partner m ss ng p eces