Every time I listen to Krista Tippet’s show On Being, either “live” on an NPR station, or by catching up through the podcasts, I come away feeling I have broadened my soul. Each week she interviews people on the journey towards a more enlightened understanding of our shared existence as the human race; the only “race” that actually exists genetically. Subjects generally enlighten and inform, and often revolve around a subjects related to the organizations “Civil Conversations project”. From this project I took the following three step method to being able to reach across Third Rail issues and have a conversation:
- Be polite. Just because you disagree with someone is no reason to belittle or insult them. Be nice.
- Embrace doubt. You may believe you know the right path and the only just path, but remember, the only problem with Fanaticism is an unshakable believe in The Answer. The problem in that “The Answer” is not “Answer”; it is “The”. There are rarely single correct solutions, life is more complex than single answers suggest or support. Believe you may not know everything (unless you’re already a Goddess or God, in which case why are you reading blogs?).
- See the argument from the point of view of the other party. What to they have to gain or lose in this argument? How does their world view function? Put yourself in their place, not as sympathy or empathy, but as close to seeing the world from their perspective as possible. Try to be as compassionate as possible.
Here is what their website says about the show:
On Being is a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast, a Webby Award-winning website and online exploration, a publisher and public event convener. On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? We explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and endeavors. We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact.
On Being is the home of the Civil Conversations Project, an emergent approach to new conversation and relationship across the differences of our age. On Being’s listeners, readers, and online communities cross boundaries that separate them in the culture at large: generational, socioeconomic, political, religious. They report that On Being equips them to relate in fresh, new ways to different others, and emboldens them to engage in new kinds of service.