A conversation with journalist, author and Braver Angels director Mónica Guzmán
I heard the polarization term referenced on a CBC interview as proof of something wrong with our democracy in Canada. The CBC was trying to address some of the concerns the Trucker protest was raising about mandates, and the corresponding agreement in a sizable section of the population. As per normal the CBC interviewed one side of the debate, and the vaccine researcher said that there was only one correct viewpoint, and that polarization was the problem.
But the researcher was partly correct, back in the Cold War era, Canada was not nearly so polarized on most issues, there was a common cause and a solidarity for living in one of the Free countries. A person could choose how to live, what job to do, what religion (or science) to believe in. Science is about studying, analyzing data, it is not about following orders. Back in the Cold War era, following political rules was a no no. People in government were afraid to appear totalitarian, now of course it is Woke culture. There is much science against the validity of the mandates, by some highly credentialed scientists and medical doctors, none of whom work for the federal government as it turns out.
If we can no longer choose what religion and culture to follow any more, does a certain segment of Canada still have a country any more?
Good discussion. I've taken this type of thinking into most situations but particularly how people have responded to the pandemic. I never assume malevolence in why people are doing the things they're doing. It's too easy to look at others through such a simplistic lens.
My favourite comment from Mónica is "conversation is a super power" and the fact that our assumptions get in the way of relevant conversation. Knowledge is power and when we do not have enough knowledge then our assumptions are misusing our super power. This is so evident with the conversations in the media where people feel they know enough to have a conversation about various subjects. How can we discuss things where the opposing views are not even raised to relevant? One needs to search deeply into history or have direct experience to understand and take part in conversation. Over the past two years I have listened to Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying have respectful conversation on their podcast DarkHorse. When they have a different side to the conversation they preface with the statement 'let me push back on that'. Their conversations have been an interesting slice of sanity in what seems like an insane world. Thank you Tara for your on going leaning out.
This right here is the problem, "our own confirmation bias. " I don't have such a thing, it is a made up problem with liberals who are feeling guilt. I am who I am and have no one to apologize for my existence and the wonderful parents who brought me into this world.
"As I got deeper into my reading of Mill, I also began to learn more about the Jewish tradition of Talmudic study in pairs, called “hevruta.” Jews long ago put into practice the idea that we need a partner to question us, criticize us, and help us overcome our own confirmation bias. "
When I found the Braver Angels Organization in February 2021 (and became an enthusiastic and proud Member), Mónica Guzmán and Alexandra Hudson were the first Speakers that I signed up to hear for a Braver Angels Event (my first BA Event was a RED/BLUE WORKSHOP which trains both sides the method for speaking across the aisle with Civility and Curiosity).
Devastated over the unbelievable and, at times, vitriolic divide I was watching play out on my television screen on a daily basis, coupled by the loss of a 50 year friendship (which was TOTALLY CONFUSING to me) due to my vote for President, I was so thankful to find an Organization working to heal these divides.
As I heard Monica speak about her love for her Mom and Dad, despite their political differences, my heart found comfort and hope in her sincere story and that she was a human being who knew what it meant to love people with whom she had a difference of opinion. She spoke, with a true depth of understanding, on how humans can often be attached to their own beliefs to the detriment of exploring (not necessarily embracing) others perspectives.
I felt that I had met a kindred spirit, despite our differing political leanings. I felt that Mónica Guzmán was someone I could trust to think more deeply and critically, allowing my personal understanding to be a part of a larger whole that makes me who I am. As the old saying goes, "You can't always judge a book by it's cover" (or political leanings).
My siblings and I were raised by an Italian Mama who taught us that each human being is of IMMEASURABLE VALUE. Created by God, Who gives life, imbued with individual gifts, potential and purpose specific to each person and relative to our personal time on this earth, RESPECT for that fact alone required that we remember that we are ALL God's children. Regardless of color of skin, place of birth, religion, education, the home we live in, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, our station in life, etc., etc., God loves each person and has created them with purpose far beyond our personal understanding. Respecting God means understanding that our understanding is limited and far below His own, and being humbled by that fact.
The thought that anyone would choose to measure others solely by their political differences was such a foreign and confusing idea; shallow and narrow minded, not to mention bordering on arrogant.
I am so thankful for Monica, her association with Braver Angels and her talent for meeting people right where they are. Congratulations on the publication of this work, Monica, which, I have no doubt, will help to change hearts and perspectives on how to view others who may not share our own.
Wishing you great Success and a sense of Meaningful Accomplishment!
Outstanding interview! I appreciate the work both of you are doing to address polarization and enhance mutual understanding. I thought the article below by Jonathan Haidt (who happens to be on the advisory board of Braver Angels - www.braverangels.org) and the rabbi's sermon embedded in the article capture well the potential power of conversations. Specifically, the rabbi's discussion of the meaning of the saying about "two Jews" and "three opinions" is revelatory.
You think they squawk about having gas go from three to four dollars a gallon?” says Riensche. “Wait until the grocery bill is $1,000 a month.”
Russia is a major low-cost exporter of many kinds of crop nutrients. “No other nation has the same breadth of readily exportable fertilizer supply,” says Alexis Maxwell, an analyst with Bloomberg’s fertilizer analysis and news publication Green Markets.
any chance of written transcript please ? Ta