Making Sense of The Week That Was: Myths, Legends & The Power of Human Storytelling

News Wrap Edition #47 of Volume 1 | 10th December 2021

Join us on CLUBHOUSE: https://www.clubhouse.com/event/xqYvk3zp

Editor: Doyle Buehler, with Rob Tyrie & Gina Clifford

These are a series of stories and headlines we are tracking in the
Grey Swan Guild’s Global League of Sensemakers Newsroom. Here is The Great, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of what we observed this week.

This week’s theme is Myths, Legends and the Power of Human Storytelling

“With storytelling, we enter the trance of the sacred. Telling stories reminds us of our humanity in this beautiful and broken world.”

- Terry Tempest Williams

Story is how we connect; story is how we disconnect; and story is how we can be disconnected.

Through stories, we share passions, sadness, hardships, and joys. We share meaning and purpose. Stories are the common ground that allows people to communicate, overcoming our defences and our differences. Stories allow us to understand ourselves better and to find our commonality with others.

By wielding the power of storytelling and crafting compelling narratives, storytellers can help build empathy and understanding between people from all walks of life. Storytelling has always been an important method for preserving the past.

Storytelling is a fundamental part of being human. Stories let us share information in a way that creates an emotional connection. They help us to understand that information and each other, and it makes the information memorable.

What are the stories that you cherish, the ones that have made you think or contemplate?

Storytelling is not just entertainment. It’s a fundamental part of being human.

Telling stories is one of the most powerful means that leaders have to influence, teach, and inspire. What makes storytelling so effective for learning? For starters, storytelling forges connections among people, and between people and ideas. Stories convey the culture, history, and values that unite people.

The impact of storytelling is immense.

In this week’s “flight”, we’ll be exploring the wonderful world of storytelling. Humans are very creative creatures, and we have an affinity for telling tales… both tall and short, beautiful, ugly, good, bad, and everything in between.

The flight plan today is to cover all of the amazing truths, myths, legends and the power of human storytelling. We’re not just locked into the past or future, but also the present day. How do we cope with storytelling? How has it changed our culture? How has it changed our families? How has it been carried forward for millennia? What stories have taught us and which ones should we discard?

Stories can build and they can also destroy, all with a thought and a flick of a pen, a stroke of a key, or the tip of a tongue. Which stories should we avoid, and how do we tell a story that helps from one that hinders?

We are our own stories that we seek, learn & tell.

It’s a journey of personal discovery as well. So let’s get personal.

During one of my trips to the Australian Outback, I stumbled upon some amazing inscriptions in what looked like, from afar, just piles of rocks and rubble. But once I stepped closer to take a better look, I saw that they told the stories of the aboriginals from hundreds and tens of thousands of years ago — images etched into rock of day-to-day activities in this vast place. But they also told of the coming fateful ‘storm’ of the European tall boats seen from afar. These storytellers may not have known what it would bring, but they were brave enough to tell the story for the first time. Imagine what they were thinking and sharing with others, as they were describing these things that had never been seen before.

Before we close the cabin doors for this flight, place your seat in the upright position, sit back and think of how people have changed humanity with what we do everyday.

So…Let’s Wrap ourselves in this rich, complex, and essential topic of connecting through stories.

The Great 😇

Photo by Doyle Buehler

1. The power of awe-walks, benefits of traveling and engaging with real-life, without an interfering screen! Stories don’t all have to begin as digital, they can be inspired by the real world, for the real world: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/world-economic-forum_when-was-the-last-time-you-took-an-awe-walk-ugcPost-6873561667477794816-cnkE/

2. Storytelling and its role in coping with uncertainty & fatigue. How can storytelling help us lead during uncertainty and fatigue when negative outcomes seem more certain than positive outcomes? For many reasons, we need stories to help us cope with uncertainty and battle the burnout it causes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/estherchoy/2021/12/05/how-storytelling-helps-us-lead-during-uncertainty-and-fatigue/?sh=184d99c4b77c

3. Art as story to help change the world. JR, a photographer/artist, is famous for taking photos of people (often those living in extreme poverty and thus invisible or misunderstood by broader society) and pasting giant-sized version photos on buildings, rooftops and bridges. The giant scale and cultural juxtaposition is provocative, urging viewers to investigate the stories of these people otherwise ignored by society. The new MSNBC film documenting JR’s initiative, debuts soon in theaters — Paper and Glue: http://www.jr-art.net/projects/paper-and-glue

Learn more about JR. In 2011, JR won the TED prize for his groundbreaking work: https://www.ted.com/talks/jr_my_wish_use_art_to_turn_the_world_inside_out).

The Good 🤩

Photo by Doyle Buehler

1. The seeds of our stories — Everyone loves a good story, especially if it’s based on something true. Dinosaur bones became griffins, volcanic eruptions were gods fighting — geo-mythology looks to ancient stories for hints of scientific truth: https://theconversation.com/dinosaur-bones-became-griffins-volcanic-eruptions-were-gods-fighting-geomythology-looks-to-ancient-stories-for-hints-of-scientific-truth-162071

2. ‘Stories give us a medium to understand, in depth, who we are as well as others. It is life’s invisible DNA.” https://metro.co.uk/2021/11/30/the-future-of-black-storytelling-we-need-complete-creative-freedom-15683113/

3. The real stories of dating during COVID: Research suggests funny pick-up lines lead to better online relationships: https://www.abc4.com/news/digital-exclusives/online-dating-during-covid-19-research-suggests-funny-pick-up-lines-lead-to-better-online-relationships/

The Bad 😬

Photo by Doyle Buehler

1.Do we tell ourselves too many stories? Or why do we believe that our stories are correct even when faced with opposing evidence? The glaring intellectual gaps of the Dunning Kruger effect and our storytelling biases. The Dunning-Kruger effect often skips merrily along with belief perseverance. This is the tendency of non-experts to confidently overestimate their abilities or knowledge on any particular subject. A 2018 study showed that the less people knew about autism, the more likely they were to believe their knowledge exceeded that of doctors. Troublingly, the WHO has said that COVID “has been accompanied by a massive infodemic”, with Dunning-Kruger a key element in misinformation spreading: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/oct/16/the-science-behind-our-everyday-biases-confirmation-polarisation-psychology-dunning-kruger

2. When humans are all gone… who will tell our ‘story’?

Housed in a giant steel monolith in Australia’s rocky landscape of granite, in Tasmania, Earth’s Black Box Will Tell Future Generations the Story of the Climate Crisis, and what we did or didn’t do: https://www.ecowatch.com/black-box-climate-crisis-2655938351.html

3. Humans tell immense stories in the art that we create. Dissident art is an important storytelling medium because it makes visible what has been erased or disappeared by repressive regimes. So it is troubling that the the work of Ai Wei Wei, a famous Chinese dissident artist whose work includes perspectives on Tiananmen Square, is conspicuously absent from the M+ museum newly opened in Hong Kong. Absence of dissident art in art museums like the one in Hong Kong sparks fears of political censorship of art and culture: https://www.voanews.com/a/absence-of-dissident-artist-s-works-spurs-fears-of-hong-kong-art-censorship/6339281.html

The Ugly 😱

Photo by Doyle Buehler

1. The Most Influential Spreader of Coronavirus Misinformation Online.
Researchers and regulators say Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician, creates and profits from misleading claims about Covid-19 vaccines. Stories perpetuating misinformation about the pandemic can be deadly, yet there continues to be a wealth of them online: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/24/technology/joseph-mercola-coronavirus-misinformation-online.html

2. The tragic end of the story. The black box in an aircraft can tell the story of human and engineering tragedies. And sadly, in this case, the story of Flight 93 on 9/11: https://www.flight93friends.org/learning-center/crime-scene-investigation/the-black-boxes

3. Death of truth and story: when propaganda and ‘alternative facts’ first gripped the world. Hitler was determined to manufacture his own “poison gas” story. To be effective, he wrote in Mein Kampf, propaganda must harp on a few simple slogans appealing to “the primitive sentiments of the broad masses.” Sadly, it worked: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/mar/11/death-truth-propaganda-alternative-facts-gripped-world

4. “The spread of COVID-19 is linked to 5G mobile networks.” “Place a halved onion in the corner of your room to catch the COVID-19 germs.” “Sunny weather protects you from COVID-19.” These fake news stories and others like them spread rapidly on social media during the early stages of the pandemic. The wave of misinformation was so great that the authorities coined a word for it: “infodemic”.

Fake news isn’t new, but it is these ugly stories that can negatively affect the outcomes. But interest in it has increased sharply in recent years, corresponding with the rise of social media. Attention spiked in 2016, amid concerns that the Brexit referendum and the US presidential election may have been influenced by misinformation spread by other countries: https://theconversation.com/covid-19-the-first-study-to-look-at-whether-fake-news-actually-changes-peoples-behaviour-144819

Why not join us on Sunday, December 12th at 8am (PST) 11am (EST) / 4pm BST We’d love to hear your perspectives on human storytelling so join us on Clubhouse this Sunday the 12th December 2021 at 8 am PST | 11 am EST | 4 pm BST | 5 pm SAST to make sense of it all, have your say, and engage with your favorite Grey Swan Guild Wrap Editors:

Doyle Buehler, Sylvia Gallusser, Sean Moffitt, Agustín Borrazás, Rob Tyrie, Louise Mowbray, Ben Thurman, Antonia Nicols, Esmee Wilcox, Geeta Dhir, Gina Clifford, Su McVey with Clubhouse Captains Howard Fields, Scott Phares, and Lindsay Fraser.

The Tapestry

The collection of images, videos, and charts delivered by the zeitgeist that is the internet and the news cycle.

Memes of the week:

Thanks to Bernie Sanders, searches for mittens reached an all-time high globally in January 2021… and launched a million memes. (Google)

The Stories Of Our Searches

We could call it the running story of humans, with what we plug into Google — but these were the stories that we ‘kept’ telling ourselves and looking for, through our own search habits

You ask and it answers the existential questions… what am I searching for? The annual Year in Search 2021 from our “Library” of the 21st Century https://about.google/stories/year-in-search-2021/

In 2021, doomscrolling was searched more than ever globally. (Google)

Book of the Week

Photo by TK Hammonds on Unsplash

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Campbell’s best-known work is his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), in which he discusses his theory of the journey of the archetypal hero shared by world mythologies, termed the mono myth.

THEN, released in 1987, The Hero’s Journey: The World of Joseph Campbell, was accompanied by a 1990 companion book, The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work

Videos of the Week

Photo by Bulbul Ahmed on Unsplash

Let’s watch the full Paper & Glue video again, from the “Great” file, above. Because art tells us the story of ourselves. In Paper & Glue, JR turns the camera on his own work as he builds some of his most monumental projects. From early illicit graffiti videos captured on Paris rooftops at night, to the US-Mexico border, to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, to a current collaboration at a California supermax prison, the film follows JR as he turns these communities inside out, turning images of residents into social and immersive art installations.

The documentary was released in the U.S. on 12 November 2021, followed by a primetime premiere on MSNBC on December 10 2021.

Charts of the week

The Hero’s Journey By Joseph Campbell

Infographic of the week

The Dunning-Kruger Effect
Source: Futureproofing :NEXT / Sean Moffitt
Source: Futureproofing :NEXT / Sean Moffitt

Quote of the week:

“With storytelling, we enter the trance of the sacred. Telling stories reminds of our humanity in this beautiful and broken world”

- Terry Tempest Williams

About Us:

Come join us this Sunday:

We’d love to hear your thoughts about storytelling, what they mean, what it means to you and what it means for the future. Join us on Clubhouse this Sunday the 12th December 2021 at 8 am PST | 11 am EST | 4 pm BST | 5 pm SAST to make sense of it all, have your say, and engage with your favourite Grey Swan Guild Wrap Editors: Doyle Buehler, Sylvia Gallusser, Sean Moffitt, Agustín Borrazás, Rob Tyrie, Louise Mowbray, Ben Thurman, Antonia Nicols and now new additions to our team Esmee Wilcox, Geeta Dhir, Gina Clifford, Su McVey with Clubhouse Captains Howard Fields, Scott Phares, and Lindsay Fraser.

Grey Swan Guild

Our Mission: Making Sense of the World’s Biggest Challenges & Next Grey swans — curating and creating knowledge through critical thinking observation, informed futurism, scenario-driven foresight and sensemaking analysis🦢

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