The greatest inventions that will ever be made have already been made.
There are two.
Communities and stories.
The lives that we have built, the interactions we have with other human beings, every single advancement we’ve made, every life saved, every glorious moment — we owe them all to those two inventions.
Without communities, we don’t have the ability to combine our resources, combine our abilities and combine our efforts. Without communities, we are destined to fail at many of our endeavours, simply because there are great things that cannot be done alone.
When we visited the moon, it was the work of a community.
When we eventually cure cancer — and I firmly believe that we will — it will be through the work of a community. When Fugazi released their music and jumped in the van, they built a community.
It’s been this way ever since we first realised that we were warmer, safer, stronger, bolder and more likely to survive together rather than apart.
And stories are the foundation of strong communities.
The stories that we tell are what bind people together. The stories that we tell, that we are a part of and that we identify with, are hugely powerful. Every war in history has been fought by stories as much as by weapons. And so has every great movement for peace.
Stories are how we’ve passed down our knowledge through the ages, from year to year, discovery to discovery. Every family has stories that give them their identity, just as every street does, and every suburb and city and state and country.
I believe that we need to be careful about the communities we build and the stories we tell.
All technology needs to be wielded carefully. All technology needs to be respected and considered before it’s applied. And the same goes for the communities we form, and the stories that we spread and tell and create. Because their impact is massive, it’s incredible, and it can — and will — shape our world.
When authorities want to keep people down, they control the communities they form and the stories they tell. Because they know that if the right people in the right communities tell the right stories — their power will come to an end.
It’s incredibly exciting to think that we can effect change and move towards progress by gathering into tribes and communities and groups and sharing. We should be embracing that.
I guess I’m an optimist; I look at some of the communities that surround me, and I listen to their stories, and through the shit and the pain and the agony that’s everywhere right now, I see a lot of hope because I see a lot of strength.
I can’t wait to join the communities we will build.
And I can’t wait to hear the stories that we use to build them.