On Monday morning I woke up to a message from a friend that read, “I am sorry to hear about your lockdown!” I had literally just woken up moments before picking up my phone (I know, I know, I’m a millennial), so the fact that we were going into lockdown was news to me. When I’d gone to bed 8 hours earlier, I expected to wake up to another normal day. Instead, I found out from an interstate friend that Brisbane was going into a snap lockdown to control the spread of some new covid cases.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the power of narrative and the way sharing stories reveals our values. Telling stories helps people understand how we experience the world, and they help us imagine what our world could—or should—look like. If you read my blog, it's no surprise to you that I think this. But lately I’ve been thinking particularly about the insidious potential for weaponising narratives: the potential for telling stories in a way that seeks to control or subvert someone else’s experience of the world. Perhaps the most subtle but powerful form of this is when people take stories that were originally told with innocence, good intent, and truth, and then weaponise those stories to control others.