Charles Eisenstein: Crafting A New Narrative

Much has been written here at of late about the need for society to adopt a new narrative to live by. One deeply-ingrained with sustainability and stewardship -- else our current fixation with consumption and exploitation of nature's finite resources will meet a very predictable and unpleasant end.

So, for those that agree a new operating story is needed: Where do we start?

This week, author Charles Eisenstein joins Chris and Becca to discuss their upcoming participation in The New Story festival, a gathering specifically focused on sparking momentum behind this important movement. More details on the event, which takes place in Bethany CT on June 12-13th, can be found here.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Charles Eisenstein and Becca Martenson (45m:51s)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

You don't have to look any farther for an example of the subject of this podcast than looking North to Canada's indigenous people's. Canadian Justice Sinclair is releasing his report (I think today, June 2) of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a six year examination of what the residential schools have done to the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. In short, it shows what can happen to a culture when you take children out of their homes, educate them in residential schools for 100 years, and try to make them "little white people". Chief Justice, Beverly MacLachlin, has called it Cultural Genocide. South Africa used the Canadian example for setting up "Apartheid".
When you remove those stories that have maintained a culture over thousands of years and try to replace them with the current economic "tomfoolery" we are seeing today, is it any wonder the Canadian indigenous peoples are upset with what has happened to them. The American approach of physical genocide of native populations has been part of the "Cowboys and Indians" culture and look what it has done for them. How many more oil spills, water depletions, or climate change stories are we going to have to listen to, before we get the message. A finite world needs a different approach. The narrative is long overdue for a change. Good podcast for those of you suffering a severe bout of cognitive dissonance! Might be a good point for discussion at your upcoming conference. 

Excellent interview.  I'm going to listen to it again.  My takeaways for now:

  1. It's counterproductive to promote the old story by (perhaps unconsciously) incorporating it's beliefs into our discussion or actions around creating a new story.
  2. It doesn't have to be hard to move in a new direction.  In fact, it's quite easy natural to act in a way that is in line with a new story when you become fully conscious that the emperor who is the protagonist of the old story is naked.
On another note, I never say this excellent interview promoted in the lead story position on the home page.   Perhaps this is the reason there are so few comments.

I don't have time right now to contribute much to the conversation, but as there are so few comments on this thread (I agree that this should get lead story position for a bit) I wanted to jump in quickly.  This is one of the most profound and impactful conversations I've heard on PP ever.  Really enjoyed Becca's contribution and perspective.  The most powerful point for me was the idea that we are not separate from nature, but a part of it the same as we are each a part of a human family.  Charles as always did an amazing job of putting that to words especially in the last 10 minutes of the podcast.

Hello Chris, Becca and Charles,

Listening to your broadcast on a 'new story' was a profound experience for me. Since I fell down the rabbit hole in 2010 the only way to gain a foothold was to travel through inevitable process of denial and then to meet each human discriminatory faculty head on and engage and sharpen its range of effectiveness.

After the denial stages was the intellectual heavy lifting of history and a continual education into the world of finance and its gluttonous effects on humankind. This lead to the art of psychology and for me the teachings of Carl Jung. I was then able to dissect the dynamics of 'projection' or what Chris describes as 'running into a belief system'. It was plainly obvious to me that good, intelligent, well meaning people were missing the enormous elephant in the room on a consistent basis!

Alas the deeper prodding of Jungian Analytical Psychology helped to navigate the origins individual intellectual paralysis but there was still the intuitive eye of the needle that had to be pierced. Where does one go from here after the denial, the intellectual and the psychological faculties have applied their unique balm to the situation?

It has been my experience that one finally arrives at the letting go stage where myth and metaphor springboard one into the higher realms of individual meaning and purpose. Understand that this timeless overlay of the human condition can only be effective once the contours of denial, intellect and psychology have been traversed.  Otherwise I believe one is searching for an answer and NOT experiencing the question. 

A rather steep landscape for humanity, but it is my sense that this is where the direction that has never been available before these questions were formed will be discovered and lived. 

Let me give you an example from my life.

In your brilliant and refreshingly honest discussion you expressed the nature of a personal decision making process for all of you. Charles had mentioned that passion was an indicator of direction. I have to agree. But what happens when you have a strong passion in two areas? Here is what happened to me.

In between tree planting contracts, I was visiting my sister who was studying Art at Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver B.C. Canada. A perfect opportunity for me, as I would be able to sit in on classes, hang out, observe and take part in a life long fascination of the inquiry 'what is art?'

At the very same time I got a phone call from some climbing buddies of mine who were coming though town the very next day and heading to Red Rocks, a climbing spot in the U.S. Would I go? 

They needed to know in the next 24 hours. And so I vibrated w anxiety for the next 20 something hours until the 11th hour when they needed to know or continue south. I had a half hour to decide. 

At that point I remembered something that I read of Caroline Myss, a medical intuitive whose books and lectures I had found helpful. The method was to go inward. Find a quiet place. Get calm.

In that state one is to visualize the outcome of each possibility with as much detail as possible. In experiencing the visualization you then observe the Body's reaction to the projected outcome. The choice then became to go with what ever decision makes one feel grounded, secure and quite simply - good. 

I noticed that the climbing trip visualization made me feel like I was chasing something and so I chose to stay and do some painting. I decided all this within 10 to 15 minutes while sitting in a public washroom because there was no other private location at the time. 

Here is the mythical part!

Coming to a resolution brought forth emotions. I went outside to breathe some fresh air and possibly cry some tears due to the stress relief. I stepped into a narrow gap between two buildings and there in front of me were three prepared abandoned canvasses. 

I have come to know that this type of deep inquiry, soliciting the body's reactions to projected outcomes, has aligned me to a strand of information beyond the intellectual. I have propelled my self past the snares of the intellect and into the web of relationships that the earth and its ever evolving and repeated cycles stitches all classes and forms of beings together at its prime vibration of Meaning. 

This practice of throwing oneself open to the possible coincidence is living the question.

Another way to gain direction, clarity and meaning is to engage the Metaphor. If, as the Buddhists say, we are living a dream then it would be helpful in our search for meaning to apply dream study techniques to our baffling western world.

Here is what I have come up with. 

Gold is the ultimate metaphor of value. It adorns all religious sacred objects no matter the denomination. In the study of dreams Carl Jung discovered that the psyche chose gold to symbolize the soul. And for close to 6000 years human kind has used the yellow metal for trade/money.

After WW2 the US was awash in Gold/Value and the world was awash in US dollars. The Bretton Woods agreement set the United States as the center organizing body for world/political trade, that being done the US was metaphorically the Ego of the world psyche.

Now along comes some wars for the US and a few social programs. The US closes the gold window. The ultimate value of gold is removed from the world monetary system. With that act the inflation of the US currency began its exponential rise into the stratosphere. This egoic center of the political world (US) begins its demise into an inflated ego. Jung comments:

An inflated consciousness is always egocentric and consciousness of nothing but its own existence. It is incapable of learning from the past, incapable of understanding contemporary events, and incapable of drawing the right conclusions about the future. It is hypnotized by itself and therefore cannot be argued with. It inevitably dooms itself to calamities that must strike it dead. 

Hmmmm sounds familiar when one pontificates the actions of any Government organization or the lack of action on the legal front. 

In closing thank you so much for your excellent commentary on the world as we see it now. I have been so impressed as your site continues the active question. When the world's egoic center is facing a psychological breakdown we are experiencing  a massive shift in which we all need to discover and live the question.

That question is different for each person, but asking others to answer it for us is NOT the answer. The situation requires consciousness. As the physical world asks us to elevate our own consciousness we must step into NOT knowing. From that place we shall all witness each other contribute what is needed to get us through this crisis in consciousness. 

I have attempted to answer many of the these questions and others in my offering, The Metaphor of Meltdown... check it out if you like.

Thank you again for all the great work and information.


Doug Hamel

This was a very different and enjoyable (satisfying)  podcast, Charles, Becca and Chris.  I really hope you have more such conversations together, addressing our larger narrative, and how our individual stories are shaped by this larger story.  I think it "scratches an itch" that many of us are experiencing; how do we proactively lay the framework to change things in a meaningful way, especially for our children and those who come after us?  The alternative is to just passively wait for collapse to force the change to our conceptual framework, in an ad hoc manner.  (Not that the collapse still won't happen -it is too late to stop that I think- but at least we can try to help seed a healthier conceptual framework/narrative).
Best wishes this coming weekend at the New Story Festival!


Left PP several years back but caught this on my PP newsletter e-mail.
Now very familiar with Charles E. so didn't read.  But loved the comments! For me it was a journey starting 2007 of increased awareness. Beginning with the seemingly intractable situation of biosphere destruction. Then PP type sites/books  revealing economic/energy situation ect.

But eventually reaching a place that is more in line with above discussion/comments. Always more of a feeling rather than thinking type personalty. So PP no longer seemed to help me in my journey. Not surprised though that that this resonates with Chris/Becca ( could sense it all along despite all the talk of survival prepping, guns and gold ).

I now boil it down to the choice we all make individually and collectively between Love and Fear.

Believe all I can do is to try my best to focus on, and always choose the former. It's the only thing that makes any sense to me in this insane situation. J.





I've just learnt a new curse word. 'Functionary'. This is just another way of saying 'my ego is bigger than my morality'.  I'm not as forgiving as Charles.

I recently saw this article posted on FB in the Regrarians group.

After downloading and skimming the report  I was struck by how closely it parallels the idea of creating a new narrative.

"The universal patterns and principles the cosmos uses to build stable, healthy, and
sustainable systems throughout the real world can and must be used as a model for
economic-system design." John Fullerton

The report engages the idea of biomimicry as an approach to finding an economic system that works. I believe the error in that is that our collective intellect has somehow contrived to take us out of the "bio". Granted we can mimic parts of the natural world, moving one successful systemic model to another application where it isn't yet present. But we are deeply, inextricably and fatally intertwined with the natural systems the Capital Institute suggests we mimic.

We have aplauded ourselves for being the only (known) creatures that are capable of abstract thought but it seems that capability has lead us to believe we are outside the biological systems of our planet. Aren't we actually just living through another form of natural succession? My hope is that when the 3E fire burns through our biome there are a few tall trees left standing and we don't have to begin again with nothing but weeds to lead the way.