In this 60-second video, we see that narratives are all around us, describing and shaping our world. Many narratives are so normalised and internalised that we cannot see how they influence our view of the world and what we do.
To see them more clearly, narratives can be visualised as trees that together create the national narrative landscape. The roots of each narrative tree are facts, events and mythic stories about the collective past. These roots grow out of each society’s structural and institutional soil, anchoring people’s identity. The trunk is the visible narrative formed from shared roots, justifying people’s actions. And the branches are the policies, actions and other outcomes that emerge from that trunk.
In societies that manage their conflicts constructively, the narrative landscape looks like a ‘mixed’ forest, with different kinds of narrative trees growing together. It includes many diverse narratives that demonstrate the complexity of social and political groups and the conflicts that may arise among them. The core lesson is that lasting peace does not come from everyone telling the same story – it emerges in societies where many complex, diverse narratives are encouraged to thrive together.