Our Growth Edges Are at Our Fractured Places
Hello to you from Maryland!
We just wrapped up our live event with tech entrepreneur Anil Dash at the Avalon Theater in Easton. As technologies become a deeper part of our social fabric, he’s asking much-needed questions of his colleagues in Silicon Valley about the moral implications of these apps and services:
“What we do, and what we make, shapes culture and society, deeply influencing everything from artistic expression to policy and regulation to the way we see our friends, family, and selves. But we haven’t taken responsibility for ourselves in a manner that befits the wealthiest and most powerful industry that’s ever been created. We fancy ourselves outlaws while we shape laws, and consider ourselves disruptive without sufficient consideration for the people and institutions we disrupt. We have to do better, and we will.”
A little over two years ago, Omid wrote one of his first columns for On Being. And it continues to be our most read, most shared, most commented-on essay. To see how simple words from the heart have touched millions of people speaks to our need to live more fully human lives:
“Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart. Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being, a human being who also craves a human touch.”
A lovely post about Leonard Cohen and where we’re at as a society in the United States at this moment. And, as Parker says, “You can never get enough of LC, right?!”
“I’d add only this: it’s in our brokenness, not our illusions of ‘perfection,’ that we connect most deeply with one another. So at this historical moment, when so many are feeling broken, we have a chance to renew our civic community — if we’re willing to forget our ‘perfect offering’ and ‘ring the bells that still can ring.'”
Is our political instinct also a quest for identity and worthiness? Courtney explores the desire for belonging that is at the heart of our voting impulse:
“I’ve been trying to turn from fear and blame to self-examination. … If I own, humbling as it may be, that my identification with and vote for Obama was not primarily about his policies, but my own projection, then why am I so confused that a quarter of Americans found a parallel projection in Trump?”
“What marks us as human is not so much whether we are or are not afraid, but rather whether we allow fear to have the last word.”
Healing our nation’s wounds will require us to be prisoners of hope, as Omid points out. Read this robust comment thread on our Facebook page too.
What Else We’re Watching and Reading
Our senior producer Lily Percy has been listening to Eric Marcus’ excellent new podcast, which draws on his years chronicling the stories of the LGBTQ movement. It’s an audio time machine of forgotten and unsung heroes who had the undeniable power to make change possible.
The Federalist offers this perspective on why the Electoral College belongs — because the U.S. is not a pure democracy.
Akhil Reed Amar, a specialist in constitutional law at Yale University, offers a fascinating perspective on the origins and function of the Electoral College — and why it continues today:
“The real divisions in America have never been big and small states; they’re between North and South, and between coasts and the center.”
From The Civil Conversations Project
With all the suffering and uncertainty in our world, we’re expanding The Civil Conversations Project in fresh ways. On Being Fellows Angie Thurston and Casper ter Kuile have crafted a short-form guide, Ask Three Questions, to help you host a small gathering in this post-election moment. And we’ve also launched Better Conversations: A Starter Guide. It’s a more robust resource, built on what Krista has learned over a lifetime of listening and conversation. She provides a great introduction, which is worth a read in and of itself! Check it out and let us know what you think.
From the On Being Tumblr
Leonard’s death overshadowed the passing of another great musician, Leon Russell, the man who spread “the gospel of the Tulsa Sound” and made our lives ever better.
We always look forward to engaging with you. Krista is finding Twitter (@kristatippett) an important place to be present right now to have those conversations. I am finding deep intimacy and friendship on Facebook and Twitter (@trentgilliss). Engage us in any of these spaces or via email at email@example.com. We’d love to talk to you.
May the wind always be at your back!