Voyageur Storytelling: Fourfold Vision, Tetrads, Œvirsagas, etc.

Thursday April 29th 2021

• Founded in Yellowknife NWT in 1998, since 2001 located in Northern Bruce Peninsula, Ontario;

• Since 1998 home to classic Canadian storytelling;

• From 2002 to 2016 home of Country Supper Storytelling Concerts;

• Since 2017 preoccupied with Social Justice & associated Unsolved Riddles;

• From 2017 to 2019 home of the multifarious Stephen Leacock Project;

• Since 2020 associated with KnICH Magazine and in vigorous pursuit of Fourfold Vision aided by Tetrads.

• This web site will vanish on December 12 2021. The future of Voyageur Storytelling itself remains uncertain, but quite possibly its time too has passed.

This Week's Tetrad Pictoverbicon

SPEAKING 100% WITH HINDSIGHT: I wonder if, when the epidemic is over and evaluation comes, we will conclude the authoritarian approach worked best in the long haul. I think prior indoctrination might have worked better, but it would have to start earlier. Contagious epidemics are exceptional. They over-ride normal rights. I do not have the right to infect you, nor to spur infection by becoming infected myself. Period. It's too late for that approach in this epidemic. Distrust, while not universal, is widespread. Maybe it is not too late for the next one.
Press upon the Pictoverbicon to see the full 2021 array.

In 2021 Voyageur Storytelling will align itself with Paul Conway's projects:


Fourfold Vision and associated prophetics applied to public affairs.

Complex Thinking for Complex Times.

Pursuing the Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice through

Resolute, Sane, Orderly, Continuous Social Reform.

A work in progress on Paul Conway's blog.

Three Threads woven with KnICH MAGAZINE:


My country is not a land, it's a story ... a song, a poem, an epic, a hymn, a chant, a ramble, a rant, a tall tale, a wide tale, a deep tale, a long tale ...

GLOBAL GIRDLING in Labyrinthine Style

Seeking Unity in Diversity, Fusion amidst Division, and a different way of looking at Canada's geographic place in the world.

Jules Verne's LAND OF FURS

A rollicking epic adventure in the far-northern fur trade of the 1860's, as vividly imagined by the great French teller of tall tales, presented serially in a new translation.


Paul Conway's Blog

Notes made in 2020, soon to be up-dated and supplemented for 2021:


Fourfold Vision and associated prophetics applied to public affairs.

See recalled pictoverbicon below.

Twofold, Threefold, Fourfold, and Morefold = Fourfold Vision

Complex Thinking for Complex Times

Onefold = Single Vision: Inadequate

Tis fourfold in my supreme delight

And three fold in soft Beulahs night

And twofold Always. May God us keep

From Single Vision ... (William Blake)


Earth + Water + Air + Fire

Life + Beauty + Grace + Choice

Nature + Culture + Unity + Diversity

Prosperity + Health + Security + Freedom

Pluralism + Idealism + Pragmatism + Wisdom

Knowledge + Imagination + Compassion + Humour

Fourfold Vision + Unsolved Riddles + Both-And + Muddle


Fourfold Vision in Public Affairs:

(Tetrationality Forever!)


To Benefit the Common Weal

To Advance Social Justice, Unsolved Riddles and all;

To Nourish Human Contentment;

To pursue sane, orderly and continuous Social Reform.

the Prosperity necessary to it

the Society necessary to it

the Culture necessary to it

the Environment necessary to it

the Democracy necessary to it

the Government necessary to it

the Security necessary to it

the Education necessary to it

the Understandings necessary to it

in particular of

Pluralism :: Complexity (Muddle) :: Overview :: Both-And

and the consequent need to cultivate

Knowledge + Imagination + Compassion + Humour

(the Stephen Leacock Tetrad)

Other Useful, Attractive, but Insufficient Casts of Mind

The Mariposan

Fragmented, Incomplete, Inconclusive

Muddled, Sometimes Inefficient, Democratic

The Ideological

Clear, Convinced, Sometimes Closed

Enticing, Unworkable, Inclined to be Authoritarian

The Scientific

Intensely Focussed, Rigorously Disciplined, Fragmented

Enticing, Impatient with Context, Sometimes Dogmatic

The Literary Cast of Mind, properly mobilized, retains the advantages of all three

while avoiding the traps.

Much more could be said, and will be.

Since Stephen Leacock's book (The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice, 1919-20), and maybe earlier (Henry George, Progress and Poverty, 1879) the cohabitation of Social Justice and Unsolved Riddles has been known, effective, and sometimes deplored. Conversations surrounding the attempt to marry them officially and thus make their relationship respectable yielded the following ideas, general in scope, specific in application, and blessed by their mutual attraction:

(1) Make a Mantra of Social Justice. At present it seems that the words we hear most often in public discourse are "The Economy", meaning economic growth of the common, quantitative kind, measured by a very small number of indicators, such as GDP, the stock market indices, or (un)employment. We should elevate 'Social Justice' into that dominant position, and think of economic affairs as simply one tool in the box.

(2) Complex Thinking for Complex Reality. The cumulative effect of democratic, industrial, and commercial progress in the past few centuries has been a hugely complex, interactive society, or set of societies, seeking to satisfy individual, local, national, regional, and global imperatives. In order to make those our servants rather than our masters we need to think as complexly as they are. Simplicities, however consoling, cannot do the job.

(3) Sane, Orderly, and Continuous Social Reform. There is no magic formula. If something needs improvement, work to improve it. If we try something that works, we should do more of it. If we try something that doesn't work, we should try something different. We may in fact work that way naturally. We need to trust the process, and distrust those who are impatient, dogmatic, or authoritarian.

(4) Education. All advancement of any kind begins here, and not only with schooling, important as that is. The humanaculture of learning and teaching needs to permeate public discourse and private aspiration.

(5) Social Safety. We cannot call ourselves socially just as long as anyone is in distress through no fault of their own, and we need to be very careful in our judgements about fault. What looks like fault is often our lack of understanding. In particular children should not inherit the misfortunes of their parents.

(6) Fitting Taxation. In order to provide the public services and protections so essential to Social Justice, we need to tax whatever creates or manifests material wealth for individuals and corporations, using a set of largest possible bases and at steeply progressive rates.

(7) Guaranteed Incomes. The Big Four pillars of Social Justce are, or ought to be: Income, Housing, Health Care, Education. If people have incomes they can help with the other three. If we don't guarantee the income we pay a huge price trying to provide the others.

(8) Right Œvirsagas. Œvirsagas are the macro-stories we tell ourselves in order to know who we are, where we are, where we have been, and where we ought to be going. They are the propaganda we generate for ourselves, in order to keep us focussed and energized.


A Tetrad of Post-Covid19 Specific Measures

based on lessons learned

(1) A Guaranteed Annual Income. If we had had that from the beginning the social safety net it would represent would kick in automatically for those in need.This measure would require higher taxation of the progressive redistributive kind.

(2) Massive Reform of Elder Care. Towards Home Care and minimally institutional forms of residence; away from large institutions especially those of the warehousing kind.

(3) Sophisticated Understanding of Risk. Covid19 is a new risk and we don't know how to think about it. We take risks all the time in our daily lives, especially with disease and accidents, and we know how to think about them. We need to apply the same kind of understanding.

(4) Journalism for Our Time. The present whip-saw oscillation between sensationalism and sentimentalism, along with grotesquely inadequate expertise in statistical interpretation on the part of journalists, is making any kind of contextual thinking extremely difficult for those who rely on regular journalism for understanding.

Voyageur Storytelling: 1998-Present

We formed in Yellowknife in 1998 and performed there.

For 15 years, from 2002 to 2016, we performed Country Supper Storytelling Concerts at our home on Saugeen-Bruce Peninsula.

In 2017 performed our Stephen Leacock tour of western Canada, from Lion's Head to Nanaimo and back.

The links below are from those earlier times. Click on the buttons to find out more.

Since 2018 we have gone literary, mostly on-line.



Contact Us

Our Recipes

Country Supper Storytelling Concerts

Our Ideas

Our Repertoire

Stephen Leacock

Bear Walls of Ferndale

Your Hosts: Leslie Robbins-Conway and Paul Conway

56 Brinkman's Road, R.R. 1

Miller Lake , Ontario N0H 1Z0 Canada


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Voyageur Storytelling 2020

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