“To a worm in horseradish, the whole world is horseradish.” — Yiddish Proverb.

We are the worm. And most will live and perish in that jar of horseradish, without ever having never having imagined a possibility of a world beyond. We are the worm caught in a lack of imagination, implacable in our persistence to make do with what we got, because we minimize on the fact, that now, in this very moment in time, it’s all we got.

We’ve seen generations of injustice, hostility, and oppression. So we acquiesce in our relief that it could be worse, as it had been one time. But so long as we continue to live in horseradish, the suffering will never end. After all, how could the suffering end, when the worm is not meant to live its life in horseradish?

We are the worm, but the horseradish, which has mired our potential since, and blinded us to our universal truths — are the constructed narratives. These are the narratives which have unquestionably oppressed us in a life of extraction, servility, scarcity, and competition — yet remained unquestioned. (These narratives have been bedizened by the color of culture, but culture simply represents the bright lights adorning the dead tree.)

As humans, there is one truth that we cannot question: life on planet earth. This truth serves as the blank canvas we’ve been given the opportunity to etch. Life on planet earth is the truth. Everything else is imagined. Everything else is a story:

From continents to the countries that make up those continents. From the prayers to the gods to whom we pray. From the homes in which we live, to the careers we choose to purchase those homes. From the systems of exchange to the structure of power that those systems support. From our wildest dreams, to the reasons they can remain only dreams. From oppression to the categorization which helps determine where oppression can concentrate. From our sense of self worth, to the nodes that determine our worth. From thoughts to the language that constructs the complex make up of our thoughts. Stories bequeath new stories, bequeath new stories.

Home is an ocean of stories.

Home is a series of stories which we’ve told time after time — until like horseradish to a worm, we’ve come to accept them as an undeterred and intransigent truth. These narratives are the marks we’ve etched the canvas that was given to us. The stories limit our perception of agency, cause us to forget the importance of collective power, give institutions superordinate power over people, and manufacture irreconcilable divisiveness.

PopShift is a project born out of a desire to rewrite the narrative on a massive scale — by bringing together some of the most advanced thought-leaders together with influential storytellers — to tell new stories which make the old ones obsolete, and to predispose us to a better imagined reality. Reality follows imagination.

The PopShift summit will be happening virtually as a massive collaborative bringing together leaders in the narrative change, representation and equity spaces to work with the leading storytellers to help engineer a new cultural and social norm that dismantles and challenges the narratives that keep our home from being a place where our fellow denizens feel like family, and where we never dare to think beyond the horseradish.

at the nexus of media and behavior change, founder @PathosLabs