Over this past month I’ve been able to expand my research largely due to the resources that I’ve gained through a few awesome one-to-one meetings. The one-to-one’s have really allowed me to look at everything I’ve been doing from a different point of view and expand my knowledge on the topic to form a more well rounded understanding. Recently, my focus has been on the Marshall Ganz storytelling format and how it can be connected to the psychological processes that result from the transmission of collective trauma from generation to generation. The phenomenon referred to as time collapse occurs when conscious and unconscious connections are made between a past trauma and a current conflict or threat. The result of this is the reactivation of the trauma which can increase feelings of vengefulness and victimization while magnifying the present threat. In Ganz’s “Public Narrative, Collective Action, and Power”, he mentions George Marcus and his findings on two neurophysiologic systems. The surveillance system which compares expectation to reality and sparks anxiety when the two don’t align and the dispositional system that deals with the anxiety depending on what feelings accompany it. Anxiety with despair creates fear, withdrawal, rage, or freezing. Anxiety with hope creates curiosity, learning, and problem solving. When a leader is telling their story with the goal of motivating people to action, they must utilize those feelings that facilitate action. This is where time collapse can become either an action inhibitor or an action facilitator. When past collective trauma is reactivated, the vengeful or victimized mindset can be transformed into a hopeful, urgent, goal oriented mindset that facilitates action. A leader who has been a victim of transgenerational trauma has the power to produce a time collapse in a specific way that pairs anxiety with hope, motivating people to believe that their action will make a difference. 

Much of the research I have done so far has been related to values, identity, transmission, and leadership. Going forward, I would like to do more research on the topics of epigenetics, toxic stress, and pseudoscience as well as look at more personal stories and examples of this kind of leadership and storytelling. 

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Kira will be sharing more in the coming months!


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The Power of Pairing our Climate Anxiety with Hope (by EcoFaith Intern Kira Saito)

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