November 6, 2007
Why are we so attached to the official story of events? I’ve spent a large part of the last week engaged in wonderful conversations with peers and friends..a lot of those conversations were ‘unofficial’ stories of shared experiences. 100% of those stories will never make it into the official discourse of ‘what happened’. This seems to mirror so much of my experience in organisations where an attachment to the idealised image of ‘who we are’ and ‘why we are’ is deemed to be more important than the lived experience of ‘how we are’. In my mind’s eye I have an image of being together where the official discourse is listening to the unofficial stories..but maybe that’s another fantasy that may need to remain imaginary?
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You are so right! I air this all the time with colleagues and friends – aren’t even our families full of all sorts of little conspiracies, deceits and versions of events. Then we spend ages discussing the official version of something, wasting our time using what we’ve been told. The media’s complicity in this really bugs me. Yes, I know, legal issues and all that, and so-called ‘good’ journalism. But, hey…
we live by telling each other stories of all sorts.
in organizations, the unofficial stories and the official stories both may well have place and use, but very often those who tell the one sort are not listening for what they might learn to those who tell the other.
another area of practice for you, Annette? and perhaps there are ways artists could assist the tellers of these stories to listen to each other with greater understanding.
So often consultants are called in to distill the stories and come up with a sanitised ‘official’ version – I know I’ve been asked to do that in the past. What if there was no ‘official’ version? what if consensus wasn’t the point? Wouldn’t that make our work lives so much more interesting? Kerry – I see that you specialise in stories related to music also – how very interesting, I’m looking forward to reading more..Philip – you do know you’re going to have to write a book don’t you?
Maybe the Official version gives us relief from coordinating the multiple versions of reality we get through unofficial channels — it’s an escape from Rashomon — the official version can be a wishful simple reality.
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