Johnnie Moore

A Colditz story

A story about storytelling and the impact on the storyteller
Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

the stories we tell, and the price we pay for them

Transcript of this video:

When I was a kid growing up, one of my dad’s favourite TV shows was Colditz, set in the World War II prisoner of war camp, and I used to enjoy watching it with him.
 
And in each episode, somebody was trying to escape by building a glider on the roof or disguising himself as a German officer, digging a tunnel, whatever.
 
And I remember one very memorable episode where a British prisoner of war came up with a scheme of
 
acting to get himself classified, in the language of the time, as insane, which would lead to him being repatriated compassionately by the Red Cross.
 
And eventually in the course of the episode, he succeeded in persuading the German officers that he was clinically insane and he got sent home.
 
But at the end of the episode it was revealed in a letter from his wife that he had actually been classified as insane back home.
 
Quite a disturbing outcome.
 
Decades later I remember in a therapy group the guy running it saying, as a kind of casual aside, of course that when we try to manipulate others we first have to manipulate ourselves and I thought of that episode of Colditz
 
I think in our world where we’re often making arguments and telling stories in organisations in order to persuade other people, we also need to pay attention to the impact that our story is having on ourself.

Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

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