The most powerful stories are those that allow us to see ourselves and our potential in each other's personal narratives. These stories are what we gravitate toward in pop culture: From Disney Pixar films to Nike ads to songs by Beyoncé, we gravitate toward content that inspires us and leads to greater human connection.
But the themes in these stories are not just fictions. They speak to the deepest truths about who we are as a species. What if we used these themes from the stories that connect us to make conflict -- the things that separate us -- go away? The Theory of Enchantment is a new framework that aims to do just that.
Polarization on social media and in our culture of mass consumption has increasingly led to a lack of genuine connection with one another. We are more isolated and experience feelings of loneliness, depression, and alienation with those around us, especially those who are different in some ways from us.
This can lead to an inability to deal productively with interpersonal conflict, whether that's in our personal lives, the workplace, or in society at large.
The Theory of Enchantment is a new framework that solves the problem of human connection by probing two questions: What is the psychology of connection and can we use that psychology to heal and avoid conflict? The first question is answered by first studying pop culture — the various things we as a society deeply connect to, from literature to music to corporate social capital, like Nike’s Just Do It mantra — which is attractive to people who desire to reach maximum potential.
From there, I take the question of why we connect to these things and present how to generate connection in everyday human interactions. This takes the form of three principles that can guide us to create deeper relationships, each of which are supplemented by lessons found in pop culture and real-world stories of reconciliation and conflict-mitigation.
We have forgotten that to be a human being means that we are complex paradoxes, contradictory, messy, and unable to be pidgeon-holed into ready-made boxes or paradigms.
It is this realization that is a critical first step for transformative change.
If we want someone to change, we must believe in their capacity to change.
In other words, if we want someone to change, ultimately, we have to demonstrate that we believe in them. It is by anchoring our criticism in a desire to see another human be successful that changes the interaction for all involved.
This is ultimately the summation of the Theory of Enchantment. When we are aware of the complexity of what it means to be a human being, and the need to criticize in order to bring about flourishing, we are more likely to lead with love and compassion.
This will enrich our relationships and our sense of self in the long-run.
How can we internalize the three principles in our life? By looking deeply at pop culture narratives, music, film, and literature, as well as real-life stories of conflict transformation around the world, The Theory of Enchantment General Overview can provide you with practical solutions to solve areas of conflict in your own life.
What do movies like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and the Toy Story franchise teach us about orienting human behavior toward the good? Are there any principles we can take from The Lion King or Frozen that we can use to stave off the sense of social alienation that leads to poor relationships? In this presentation, I'll show you how.
Can the themes promoted by musical artists like Nina Simone, Jay Z, & Mumford & Sons teach us about how to recognize complexity in each other, lead with love, and have deeper relationships? In this presentation, I show why there's a reason we gravitate toward certain artists and why it's so critical to look for lessons in the lyrical content produced by musicians we call superstars.
After having lectured in communities around the world on conflict resolution, interpersonal growth, and reconciliation in previously polarized spaces, Chloé Valdary is taking her innovative theory of change, the ‘Theory of Enchantment’ from the non-profit sector to the corporate world. Combining the psychology of persuasion with profound insights from household names in pop culture, Chloé’s ‘Theory of Enchantment’ is a philosophy that can help change agents and corporate leaders navigate an increasingly polarized world and help untapped human potential along the way.
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