Constructing the Grand Narrative
The Grand Narrative
To explain, challenge and bind the world
Human civilisation begins with the creation of narratives that connect people to each other and to the world around them.
Narratives help make sense of the unknown, fight the fear of nature and build ever bigger projects and aspirations. Over the millennia, such narratives managed to unite from the initial tribe to cities, empires and nation states, as well as religious movements, multinational enterprises and international organisations. While their inclusiveness increased, so did their power to divide by excluding others.
At present we live in the best of times in terms of technological advances, wide literacy and shrinking poverty levels.
However, global challenges such as climate change, threats to peace and security, population dynamics, increasing social and health inequalities, as well as crises and fundamental flaws in the functioning of the economy and finance, each claims its own kind of victims creating a sense of insecurity.
Globalisation under the predominant economic development paradigm fails to provide a broadly acceptable narrative.
Attachment to culture, religion, language and territory continue to mobilise the energies of large numbers of people. Such narratives help us have collective memories and shape our identities. However, they carry an inherent danger if seen in isolation; they can be exploited by demagogues, who speak to the insecurities of those left behind, and threaten to negate from its foundation the notion of globalisation as a tool for shared prosperity and peace.
At FOGGS, we stand for a globalisation that is just.
We want to bridge the gap between its winners and losers. Instead of dividing, globalisation should connect. Instead of favouring a few, it should provide space for all to thrive in dignity and safety.
Attempts at building such a narrative already exist,
from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the Unites Nations Charter and the Sustainable Development Goals. These may well be pieces of the puzzle but cannot do the job by themselves. What is missing is a joint narrative that goes beyond narrow national and international power games, beyond the invisible hand of the market, beyond any ideology and religion, what at FOGGS we call the Grand Narrative.
The Grand Narrative explains: it is a story that brings together humankind and reconciles us with the planet we live on.
It speaks of common values, interests, needs and rights we have, but also common challenges we face and responsibilities we hold, placing our destiny at the centre of its plot.
The Grand Narrative challenges: it is a means to re-tool personal, business and political choices and apply in practice
an innovative and sustainable economy geared towards well-being, a society that respects diversity, a natural environment that is at balance and systems of governance that are transparent, inclusive and work for all.
The Grand Narrative binds: it is the meeting place of people and ideas to create solutions for a better world.
It is the repository of existing thinking and doing, ideas and facts, elements that are already there and others that will be discovered. At FOGGS we connect thinkers and practitioners, business people and civil servants, scientists and menial workers, artists, religious leaders and activists to discuss, cross-fertilise and synthesise these elements to achieve change.