Five Train the Trainer Tools for True Storytelling

A protreptic is a kind of guide. The Protreptic Guide (facilitator, trainer, coach, mentor) works with events of dialogue, to bring about an ethically mastered life by becoming master of one’s own inner dialogue (Kirkeby, 2009: 13). Ole Kirkeby and Jens Larsen rediscovered protreptic in the Socratic dialogue. They did hundreds of protreptic sessions, then Jens, David, and Lena wrote True Storytelling (2021) book. Protreptic was created 400 B.C., and became neglected about 320 B.C. (Kirkeby, 2009: 9). In reviving Socratic Dialogue, the ‘new protreptic’ contends with the limits of Kant’s individualism ethics that degenerated into Ego-centric and the Corporate-centric ethics that can’t seem to get beyond hierarchy, command-and-control. Where Ole and Jens take protreptic is to deeper levels of the social and the economic that are community and place-based. We call them We-centric and Eco-centric. We call it going from the abstract of BENEATH Heart to the grounding in BEYOND Heart. The 7 True Storytelling Principles are associated with 7 Antenarrative Processes that together change dialogues.

True Storytelling Ethics moves Beneath the subjective and the opinions and fact polarities. There are 6 ‘Great Events’ (aka Eventums) of Protreptic Guiding (Kirkeby, 2009: 132-135).

Five Tools From the Foundation Ethics Module

This is Your Refresher for Fuoundational Train the Trainers Tools

True Storytelling Begins & Ends with Ethical Foundation

At True Storytelling Institute we are committed to providing the highest level of Ethics Training for our clients. We train in tools to develop each client’s unique ethical balance of four ethical traditions.

  1. Kant’s Categorical Imperative Ethics is how Individuals can conform to a set of norms or commandments. Good start, but can miss the social and economic ethics of the next three.
  2. Utilitarian Ethics has Corporate norms that coral individual self-interest. This leaves out the next two.
  3. Answerability Ethics encourages person to stop Being the bystander, and intervene when there is social misery in the event. This is pretty solid, but leaves out the last ethic.
  4. Tribal Wisdom (aka Indigenous Ways of Knowing, IWOK) is both the We-centric of answerability, and the Eco-centric practical solutions to living in sustainable balance with the Ecosystems of the planet.

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Four True Storytelling Tools That Make Ethics Come to Life

Foundation Ethics Module Tool 1 — Alignments Tool

Alignments tool begins with the inner dialogue between You and the Internalized Other. The alignment of mind, heart, and speech of the Self. Then we look at dialogues with other people in True Storytelling Circles. How a small group of very different people, can do story-listening, sharing mind-heart-speech that is about their own experience of the world, without giving advice, or shoulding the other persons in the Circle. By deep active story-listening the Circle finds its own common ground. It is NOT an exercise in consensus. It is the basics of Bakhtin’s Answerability ethics of dialogisms. There are four basic dialogisms, and a fifth, their combination.

  1. Polyphonic – inner and outer voices, each standing in their own Truth, listening to Other’s Truths.
  2. Stylistics – written, oral, or performed theatrics (aka multi-modalities) are found in together-telling. there is intertextuality of written, oral, and performed storytelling that we cover in the DEI 2.0 module. For now consider your formal and informal oral and written conversations, and your embodied ways of Being in the world. We multi-style in our events.
  3. Chronotopes – ten kinds of spacetime in our narratives that are sprinkled across TSI modules. Four are adventure spacetimes (romantic, everyday, biographical, chivalric) and six take a more Ontological Turn to spacetime breaking into the world (recovering historical realism in BEFORE heart, carnival of resistance (e.g. clown-rogue-fool masks to speak to power), humor to purge the shallowness revealing essence of truth in BEING, Rabelisian Basis, the generative spacetime of labor and consumption, reclaiming the Idyllic of Indigenous Ways of Knowing (IWOK) places of aliveness, and Rooms in Tamara-Land.
  4. Architectonics – this is Immanuel Kant’s word for cognitive systems (the Beneath heart). Bakhtin reformed it into the BEYOND heart of a dialogism that interanimates three discourses, not just the one. The three are Cognitive, Aesthetic (what is beautiful) and Ethics (what is Good, Just, and True) in or Freedom (see Greek Square tool #3).
  5. Polypi – A name Boje (2008, Storytelling Organizations book) gave to the above 4 dialogisms in their combination, since they are rarely solo. Polypi is a word Hans Christian Anderson used in the original version of Little Mermaid, before it became DIsneyfied, dumbed down, so its spiritual less was lost.

Foundations Ethics Module Tool 2 – From WWOK to IWOK

Foundations Ethics Module

Two persons insider ourselves are in dialogue. Are we listening, or is the Ego (the I-1 in Tool 4) taking over? Dialogue with the Other (inner & outer dialogues) helps use fill in the gaps. We learn with practice, to do storytelling-listening with attention. This opens an inner door to a room of our hidden conversation, and we notices the voice coming out of our mouth, its tone, what it feels like to be in dialogue (tool 1).

3 I’s


Ole Kirkeby (2009, chapter 5 in The New Protreptic), the ‘I-1’ is the Attunement (aka mood) of the Inner Self using 5 senses of inner dialogue (discursive articulation), sensing of the experience-world transforming memory of EVENTS (faces, fear, joy, pain, pleasure, & dreams) into concepts, mental images, and motives provide propensity for body to act (move) in Space. We call this the BENEATH Heart. Going BENEATH the facts, opinions, concepts, etc. and getting into dialogue about ‘What is True.’


I-2 Eventing of inner dialogue when the Other of inner dialogue speaks and answers back to I-1 (Ego). I2 is reflecting on content of I-1 (Ego). I-2 (Other voice) is reproaching admonishing, advising to go BENEATH ego. Kant ethics the I-2 is inner dialogue of opposing attorneys in court.


I-3 is a third instance of the Event. There is a Third I level of deeper dialogue, in the atmosphere of the dream. Third I, the inner witness (or even a judge). Or even infinite regressions of judges of judges. I-3 is a level beyond the inner dialogues of I-2 (self & Other). I-3 is the level of the BEYOND Heart, a huge abyss. It is I-3 of Bakhtin’s Answerability Ethics & IWOK wisdom. What Grace Ann Rosile calls horsesense or 6th sense, or intuitive, or Peirce’s abduction (flash of insight that needs testing in world of action).

Tool 5 the Greek Square

Ole Kirkeby (2009, The New Protreptic book, p. 50) introduces the four core values of True Storytelling: True, Good, Just, & Beautiful. We find our Freedom in the the search for the ‘essence of truth’ (title of Heidegger’s classic essay): “The essence of truth is freedom.” The ground of truth is human freedom. The Greek Square begins with an analysis and understanding of one’s own inner and outer dialogical practices of Freedom to find what is True, Good, Just, and Beautiful (Tool 1: Alignments). We find the essence of truth in Freedom of moving from BENEATH Heart to BEYOND Heart, going beneath concepts, opinions, facts to BEING-in-the-world, and another leap into the BEYOND of horsesense, 6th sense, abduction, flashes of insight that need testing in domain of Freedom.

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