Posted: 10th March 2023
The photo album of discarded stories or a universe of stars
By Jenni Schüßler
Imagine a photo album which contains only blurred or strangely shot photos. This was my photo album when I was a child and I loved it dearly. For me, these were MY pictures, great pictures that told me stories. I looked at the album over and over.
When I was in my mid-20s, I suddenly noticed that the selection of pictures was weird. I wondered why have chosen these pictures in particular. Since I was very young when I have chosen this selection, I asked my mom. She told me that I grabbed the pictures that she or my grandma didn’t want to stick in her own photo albums because they hadn’t turned out well. So, I had put together an album of discarded stories.
Future Narratives made me think about this album years later. A speaker told us that our life is like a universe full of stars. Every star is a story of our lives. When we tell who we are, we usually tell the same story(s). Over the years, we have connected individual stars in this universe with a red thread and have repeated the stories over and over. As a result we forget the thousand other stories that make us who we are. We were invited to open our eyes, to search for lost stories and to reshape our life story in a self-determined way – a process of self-empowerment. This narrative is also allowed to change, because biography is always a potential, process and product at the same time. How we tell our biography has a huge impact on how we feel and make decisions today. This look into the past can also be applied to the future. There is not only one future, there are multiple possible futures. No one can predict with certainty what will happen. The future is like a universe full of stars. Every star is a possible story of our lives. Our biography narrative, our socialization and social events lead us to think that we can only take certain paths in the future, that there are only one or two possible red threads that determine our path. But that is not true. We are invited to become aware of why we have certain ideas about our future and where they come from. This journey takes us from individual beliefs to social myths. If we are able to describe the narratives that shape our idea of the future, then we can break through them, leave the avoidable thread, look for alternative stories and shape our life story in a self-determined way. What possibilities we see for ourselves in the future has a great influence on how we feel today and make decisions. This is an enormous innovative power for each individual and society. Not only the past, but also the future is a powerful resource for the now.
As in my photo album of discarded images and narratives, we should go in search of new narratives for the future – no matter how strange and blurred they may seem at first, let’s not throw them away carelessly.
Future Narratives – discover your past and your possible futures. Find out what drives you and what shapes your world view. Create a powerful present by telling alternative past and new future narratives.
Connect with each other by telling these stories.