Police or scientific investigations bent on uncovering “objective facts” often generate cultural stories that are, in the long term and the big picture, profoundly untrue. They might discern only a superficial or incidental truth, while leaving deeper truths invisible. Investigating a case of property crime, for example, might seem like a simple inquiry into “Who dun it?” But any “facts of the case” discerned at this level are likely to eliminate awareness of race, gender and class-based relationships with property, and the theft of bodies, land and labour on larger timescales. People in conflict can be encouraged to give their stories a better spin by reaching down into an inquiry:
By unearthing deeper, older, slower-moving, softer-speaking truths, we can begin to see a bigger picture and tell a better story. We go from “just the facts” to spinning the gold of stories with capacity for sustainable relationships and transformative change.
We may wish to exit from the map at this point, and share a conversation with the people or community we are in conflict with. We might find, through the process, we become deeply curious about others’ stories, too.