Life is complex. And so are the conflicts that arise in our world. Things are hardly ever ‘just one thing’. More often, the things that happen in life are a result of a combination of dynamics leading towards these happenings.
As Storytellers we know this all too well.
The protagonist of a story always goes through a series of events, struggles and supports, chances and setbacks, losses and victories. During their journey, the protagonist gains more and more insight on all the dynamics and players that have led to the situation in which they find themselves. Through better understanding all the layers working in the situation, things can finally start to be resolved.
It is our task as tellers of the story to place these layers within the story; both hidden and in plain sight. The more we know, the fuller we understand, the better we respond.
It is this same mechanism – the ‘finding better understanding’ – we at DISC practice when we look at what is going on in our world. We may not always feel capable to personally do something about it (things like wars going on), but if we participate in spreading a deeper understanding of the happenings, maybe… just maybe… we might be adding a micro millimetre push towards a resolution.
Storytelling is about planting seeds…
DISC organised 2 small benefits to collect donations for Ukrainian refugees in The Hague.
It was an initiative by Historian/teacher/storyteller Anje Robertson. Anje has done extensive research into the history of the Ukrainian region, spanning the past 2000 years.
She was able to explain beautifully what it meant for the region:
- when the protection of the Roman Empire fell apart,
- how nomadic hunter-gatherers turned into settled farmers,
- how Vikings moved into the region and created a social structure,
- how there were constant attacks from Mongols, Tartars, Poles, Ottomans, etc.
- and how (from the famous Tsarina Catherine the Great on) Russia has structurally been trying to annex the region.
But especially how, through all centuries, there is a permanent common thread of a persevering people with a strong sense of identity and how these people constantly strive for respect and independence. Anje brilliantly showed how the great Ukrainian leaders over the centuries were always artists who knew how to connect, lead and inspire their people. Current President Zelensky is a good example of this; an actor with a vision who became an inspiring president.
Anje's story has made it clear to us that there is so much more going on than just an ambition of Putin. That this war is so much more than just what is going on now, in our times. Centuries of dynamics play a pivotal role in today's war.