Aspen Ideas to Go Podcast

Trust in civic, religious, and academic institutions is at an all-time low in America. But this phenomenon did not, as some Americans might believe, begin when President Trump was elected. It has been on the decline for decades, and while it has been falling, individualism and tribalism have been on the rise. And these tribes — tied to each other with ever fewer common threads — are moving farther and farther apart in almost every measurable way, from geography to politics to economic and educational achievement. Where do we go from here? Can any of this trust be restored, and what does this all mean for our communities and our democracy? Author of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart Bill Bishop speaks with former Congressman Mickey Edwards. Edwards is a vice president of the Aspen Institute.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 16:45

New York Times best-selling author Susan Orlean says ignorance about a subject is a powerful ignitor of curiosity. As someone who has written about bullfighters, orchid fanatics, and an African king who drives a taxi in New York City, she knows a thing or two about delving into far-flung topics. How can we learn to take in the world as an enthusiast and as a curious person? It’s especially important for writers, she says, but it’s more a state of mind than a professional tool. And in this heightened state of other, approaching people unlike ourselves with curiosity rather than judgement could serve us well in getting along and finding commonalities. Orlean joins radio host and “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” veteran Pete Dominick for a lively conversation.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 12:00

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is January 15. If Dr. King was still alive today, what would he think of the progress of the black community? How far have we come toward racial equality since the civil rights era? Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard professor and filmmaker, says there have been both steps forward, and steps backward. While America elected its first African American president, the number of black men behind bars is five times the number of white men. African American superstars like Oprah and Michael Jordan have emerged, but the class divide in the black community has deepened. Gates speaks with Aspen Institute President Walter Isaacson.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 15:15

What if you examined your life in the context of all of its stages? The annunciation and initiation phases in your youth and young adulthood are full of discovery and learning. Then, the odyssey years in your twenties bring wandering and loneliness and lead to a commitment-making phase in your thirties. David Brooks, author and New York Times op-ed columnist, says life’s mountains and valleys shape who we are and eventually lead us to a “second mountain.” This phase, later in life, often results in a feeling of true peace and happiness. In this lecture, Brooks uses examples from his own life and of others who encountered challenges along the way, like biologist E.O. Wilson, Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - 11:45

Though his grandparents were his primary caretakers, Eric Motley was raised by a community. The author, former White House staffer, and Aspen Institute vice president says the townspeople of Madison Park, Alabama, taught him everything he needed to know about love and faith. Madison Park was founded by freed slaves in 1880, and Motley learned early about his heritage and legacy. While he cleaned graves and left flowers at the local cemetery, his neighbors taught him about his past. Racial injustice and segregation were part of Motley’s growing up, but instead of resentment he took on resilience and determination. Motley talks with Joshua Johnson, host of the national public radio show “1A” about how Madison Park is a metaphor for the ties that bind us in a politically divisive time.

Thursday, December 28, 2017 - 11:15

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