The Public Conversations Project prevents and transforms conflicts driven by deep differences in identity, beliefs, or values.
September 29, 2011 — Earlier this month, I joined sixteen colleagues and friends of the Public Conversations Project to mark the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. We met at Conversation Place, PCP’s annex across Kondazian Street to pause, reflect and share some of our thoughts and feelings about that historic, terrifying and tragic event and what has happened since.
September 9, 2011 — When faced with a hungry cougar, our distant ancestors didn’t engage in complex thinking about the situation. If they had, they would have been eaten, and we 21st century humans might not be here to reflect on our ancestors or anything else. Fortunately, our ancestors’ brains, like ours, excelled at rapid response in times of threat. Such a response mechanism, so well suited to living in the wild, is still useful to us 21st century humans.
January 13, 2011 — Almost a decade ago, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, I was haunted by unanswerable questions. At that time, I was reminded of an exchange in Elie Wiesel’s Night, his memoir about the Holocaust. Young Elie’s spiritual master, Moche, tells him that every question possesses a power that does not lie in its answer. "Man raises himself toward God by the questions he asks Him," Moche explains.
The beginning of baseball season has me remembering. Most of the important lessons of my life happened to me when I was much younger. It’s just taken me all these years to get their meaning. I’m still discovering, for instance, the lessons I learned—good and bad—about how to treat other people.
I hate it when people talk at me. Since childhood, when a parent or other authority figure assaults me with words, sentences, paragraphs… they fail to communicate and I shut down.
When my children were young, I tried to remember that sensation and to avoid doing the same thing to them. Sometimes I fell short. Lectures, tirades…whatever you call them… if I couldn’t resist the temptation, words were said and meaning was lost.
The news that Melinda Duckett’s family has brought a wrongful death suit against CNN and its host Nancy Grace has me thinking anew about the power of questions and the responsibility of those who ask questions. In 2006, Melinda Duckett's son Trenton disappeared. As in most such cases, a parent—in this case twenty-one-year-old Melinda—immediately became a suspect.