The other day I was amused to read a critique of The Coronation in which the author was absolutely certain that I am a closet conspiracy theorist. He was so persuasive that I myself almost believed it. What is a conspiracy theory anyway? Sometimes the term is deployed against anyone who questions authority, dissents from dominant paradigms, or thinks that hidden interests influence our leading institutions.
The word narrative is bandied about a lot today, so that it’s almost become a cliché. But cliches are born from insight. In this case, it is about the power of the stories that we tell about ourselves, each other, and the world to cohere us in a common purpose.
This essay originally appeared in Tikkun. In George Orwell’s 1984, there is a moment when the Party announces an “increase” in the chocolate ration – from thirty grams to twenty. No one except for the protagonist, Winston, seems to notice that the ration has gone down not up. ‘Comrades!’ cried an eager youthful voice. ‘Attention, […]
We have to let go of war thinking with its accompanying dehumanization, and enter the question that defines compassion: What is it like to be you?
Until we begin thinking in holistic terms, we will lurch from one enemy to the next, forever suppressing symptoms even as we worsen the disease.
As in politics, the economy, and the ecosystem, what once seemed incontestably true is coming under question.