Frames, Stories, Narratives and Seagulls

On deconstructing the subconscious narratives that inform our thoughts and actions

An example, involving seagulls and sparrows

Recently I was sitting outdoors at a local cafe overlooking Lyall Bay in Wellington. It was a rare, warm Wellington midsummer evening, where the heat of the 6pm sun felt like midday, and I was relishing the calm of some alone time.

I instantly felt sad for the sparrows, and annoyed at the seagull.

And as I sat there, I started to wonder where these emotions were coming from. What were the underlying narratives informing these feelings? Why was I seemingly happy for a sparrow or a blackbird to share my evening treat, but not a seagull?

If this can happen with birds, it’s safe to assume the same set of subconscious story-building tools comes into play in how we think about people.

I asked myself, do I inherently believe that some people are more deserving of good things than others, regardless of factors beyond their control? I like to think that I don’t hold such views, but cognitive psychology is clear that our beliefs and actions are overwhelmingly driven not by rational thinking, but by emotions, the mental shortcuts we take, and the subconscious narratives we believe to be true.

Storytelling | Narrative | Systems Change | Spoken Word | Currently writing a book on storytelling, narrative & systems change |

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