Humans not only inhabit the physical world, they inhabit an abstract world of ideas. Good and bad, complex and simple, ideas have a way of coalescing into narratives that provide a common thematic thread for art, music, conversation and other forms of interaction within a given culture.
Cultural narratives are a repository for common assumptions, and as such, help maintain social cohesion. They influence interpersonal behaviour, prioritize the content of the media universe, and guide social policy.
Cultural narratives are a mixture of accepted facts and prevailing myths about reality and humanity’s relationship to it. At their worst, they codify war, inequality, and abuse of the natural world. At their best, they promote cooperation, creativity and engagement at all levels of society: governments, business, individuals, the environment.
When cultural narratives are factual, clear and unbiased – and disseminate accurate assessments and practical solutions to social problems – they help society become aware of common aspirations and the steps required to fulfill them.