Just read a fascinating and resonant (to me anyway) article by Frank A. Mills in the online Urban Paradoxes magazine (reprinted from the blog Flaneur). (Beware that some of the links in the article are a bit funky).
In the article, “Quantum Storytelling: The New Way of Thinking,” Mills asserts that “old linear, left-brained thinking” (which “reduces new products, new technology, and new solutions, to just another version of the same old thing”) needs to yield to “a new model of right-brained thinking — Creative and conceptual.” (much like Dan Pink’s proclamation that we are in the Conceptual Age).
For me, the most striking line in Mills’ article is this one:
Whatever you call it, the “new economy” is at its core, a storytelling economy.
That statement is a preface to this:
This is not storytelling in the same linear fashion we use today … The new storytelling model is web-weaving, histological storytelling. In truth, there is nothing new about it; it is a return to a form of storytelling lost to the Enlightenment and its subsequent 1 + 1=2 objective logic. Over the years we have come to believe that the only way to think logically is the linear way. If Quantum Theory has taught anything, it is that there are logic constructs other than linear.
As you can guess from the article’s title and the foregoing, Mills then compares storytelling with Quantum Theory. Here’s a snippet of that comparison:
Each and every story contains, contains other stories, each opening up, if we but see and hear, potential and possibilities for even more stories, stories hereto unknown. In classic Newtonian logic, the observer is always a neutral and objective external agent. In quantum logic, the observer is always involved in the process of observing, and will in spite of efforts to the contrary always influence the eventual outcome. I just stated this linearly, but what we must grasp is that the eventual outcome is not fixed, not even singular, but rather has the potential to be one or more of many possibilities, perhaps even hereto unobserved. Every story has a backstory, middle, and end. In quantum storytelling, it is the middle, not the backstory nor the end that is important.
(I’m not sure Mills really explains why the middle is most important).
He goes on to discuss how our brains think in “wholes,” not parts; thus, “The natural result of the mind processing the ‘whole story,’ i.e., the quantum story.”
Mills ends with this powerful call to action:
Let us tell the stories that need to be told, and in the telling and the conversations, discover brand new, hereto unrealized solutions. Quantum storytelling is our last hope for a better future.
[Image credit: From The Daily Galaxy, http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/parallel_worlds_multiverse_quantum_physics/, depicting quantum theory]