The Grand New Narative

Written by: Bob Brinsmead

Wendell’s comments on this site have fired my imagination for the emergence of A Grand New Narrative.   A new grand narrative is essential for the emerge of a humanized future. This is the discussion we need to be involved in. Others have had this vision of hope, like Campbell and the author of the “Emergence of Everything”, but human society is still living by the old narratives of the last two thousand years.  A new narrative has not yet emerged in the human arena. Everything from Christianity, to Marxism (this includes all world religions including Islamic religions and world political movements) are rehashes of the old narrative based on myth and apocalyptic.

A new grand narrative will be based on reality not myth. It will grab the human imagination bringing hope and universal unconditional love. It will not be new wine in old bottles.  Religion of any form cannot hold the new narrative.  All religion puts conditions on love and acceptance.

Our first discussion needs to be why we need a new narrative.  We need to discuss the negatives of the old narrative in order to appreciate and understand the grandness of the New Narrative.  The New Narrative will excite the human imagination and humanize human existence. It will bring in a new human order. It will take away all fear of death while delivering contentment to live life to it’s fullest while serving in this physical state of existence.  Like those who have had a new death experience, human society will have an experience of ultimate love and know that everything will be alright in the end.  It has been well documented how the fear of death holds humanity captive.  The new narrative will deliver people from this fear of death.

A young lady asked me, “What is a new grand narrative and is God part of this narrative? Has this grand narrative ever been told before?”

My reply was, “Yes this narrative was told in a local sense by the Old Testament prophets.  The prophet’s narrative was based on the exodus.  The prophet’s story was a vision of hope not because of what was, but because of the potential of what could be.  They told their narrative against the backdrop of oppression and discouragement.  Their story was of the God who acted on behalf of the oppressed.  The land, this oppressed people were given, was a stony desert like country with the Jordon running through it like a miserable creek, compared to the mighty Tigris or Euphrates of the other prosperous nations.  This vision of the prophets for a better future eventually spread to the other nations, like the Greeks who had their vision of potential.  Socrates died because he tried to dispel the Greek myths in order to have a more realistic narrative.

Now another illustration of a narrative is my father coming to Queensland years ago.  You know to be human is to live in story.  For humanity to progress to a more human future, we must live in story and we need a Grand New Narrative as Wendell said.  I see even in the newspapers this end of year, there is comment that this Government needs a narrative to catch the vision of the people.  Well back to us coming to Queensland.   My father came back to where we were living in Victoria, from his visit to Queensland with a grand story of a land flowing with tropical fruit and mighty potential.  He packed us all up and in a hired truck sitting on a mattress with us boys in the back and Mum in the front beside the driver, we drove for two weeks to come to the bush farm in Numinbah.  The road got rougher and rougher and we eventually arrived to find rugged, stony hills and a bush shack with two rooms.  Mum shook her fist at Father and said, “You old brute what have you brought us to?”  Father told her again of the Grand story, it was a story of potential, of hope, of what could be.  The Grand Story of human potential is a story against what seems hopeless. This is a story against the dark backdrop of evolution.  It is the negative that makes the Grand Narrative shine so brightly and grab the imagination.  This is a story of the God who disappeared in the human arena to bring human society to its grand potential against all odds.

The Jewish history then became a history of discouragement that the Narrative of the prophets was not happening.  So apocalyptic was born to explain the disappointment and redefine the narrative as only having potential at the end of the age.  So this apocalyptic movement was born based on a story of a fall, a separation from God that destroyed the vision of the prophets.  Jesus rejected this apocalyptic and re-ignited the prophet’s narrative of human potential and rejected the notion of humanity separated from the Divine.

The world is waiting for the emergence of a new story.  Religion has been shown not to produce any better behavior than  non-religion.  Love and discipline is seen in the non-religious who don’t have the Christian narrative . When we were running institutes in USA, a Baptist guy was the caretaker and asked me did I believe in Hell.  When I said no, he was wild and responded that if what I believed was true then he might as well have all the fun he wanted.  His narrative controlled his behavior through fear of not pleasing a vengeful God.  This coercion can’t humanize for a future of human potential and freedom.