How We Can Listen Across Divides

David Isay at the Aspen Ideas Festival in the summer of 2017.
David Isay, founder of the oral storytelling project StoryCorps, once said that in this moment where our country feels ripped down the middle, “there’s a way, I think, to have civil, thoughtful conversations.” Sometimes those discussions are most difficult with loved ones, many of whom we’ll be sitting next to at the Thanksgiving dinner table. So, along with the turkey, stuffing, and cranberries, what insights can we bring to the feast?
David Isay is in the conversation business. More than 400,000 people have recorded their stories via Storycorps. Now, in this particularly divided moment, the organization is working to highlight humanity. To have civil conversations with those you disagree with, he recommends skipping the politics, at least at first. Sit down and ask them about who they are in order to “build just a tiny bit of social capital,” he says, “so that maybe we can take one small step away from the abyss.” Below, watch Isay describe how we can work to connect with those we disagree with most.

Find the entire Aspen Ideas session featuring David Isay by clicking here.

Podcast: The Epidemic of Loneliness
A crisis is emerging that could pose as grave a threat to public health as obesity or substance abuse: social isolation. Research shows lonely people are more likely to become ill, experience cognitive decline, and die early. In this Aspen Ideas to Go episode, a panel of experts at Spotlight Health delve into how loneliness alters the brain. Does social media drive loneliness, or help cure it? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, listen on SiriusXM's Insight channel, or find us on NPR One.
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