ACEs Connection Members: Are You A Weaver? Know Root Cause of Loneliness, Division and Distrust?


Here’s a compelling interview with David Brooks, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, introducing his latest book,The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. In the interview Brooks discusses his nonprofit, Weave: The Social Fabric Project“a community of people who are helping each other answer this question: What can I do today and tomorrow to replace loneliness, division and distrust with relationship, community and purpose?”

On the Weave website Brooks says, "We seek to learn from those who are weaving communities everywhere, establishing connection, building relationships, offering care and creating intimacy and trust. We want to spread the values they live out every day. We want to be part of a cultural revolution that replaces a culture of hyper-individualism with a culture of relationalism, a way of living that puts our connections with one another at the center of our lives. The revolution will be moral or it will not be at all."

Brooks, a best-selling author, appears regularly on "PBS NewsHour," NPR's "All Things Considered" and NBC's "Meet the Press." His books also include The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement; Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There; and On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense.

During a candid interview with Judy Woodruff, PBS NewsHour anchor, Brooks opens up about realizations made during a hard and lonely time, a time that gave rise to changes in his life and thinking.

“I discovered you can either be broken or you can be broken open. And some people get broken. They turn fearful in their bad moments, and they lash out. They turn hostile and violent and tribal. And they're full of resentments.

“But some people get broken open. You just realize the depths of yourself, and you realize that only spiritual and emotional food is going to fill those depths. So, you think I got to change my world view. So, I spent five years looking at people who had done it and trying to learn from them,” he said.

In the wide-ranging interview Brooks touches on the distinction between happiness and joy, the joy of self-giving, the human need to feed the yearning to be good, how “the Trump moment is a spiritual and moral crisis. We just treat each other badly. We're not compassionate towards one another. We stereotype, rather than see the dignity of each human person.

“And I think it flows out of loneliness and disconnection. A lot of people who voted for him, their communities are falling apart. And they needed something new,” he adds.

What’s missing?

While Brooks shares stories "Weavers” – people  who’ve endured unbearable loss and are going on to live lives of service – he stops he stops short of naming the root cause of the loneliness, despair, schism, inequality, poverty, racism, disease, violence, addiction, abuse, waste, pollution, intensity, political insanity, homelessness, greed, war, and other seemingly intractable ills: adverse childhood experiences.  

Your thoughts?


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I understand that spiritual practice, whatever that may mean for an individual or community, can help build resilience to or recovery from trauma. I do think Brooks is speaking beyond a particular diety or moral code to a much deeper contact with life and humanity through experiencing  the deepest lows in life. However, I think one has to have an opportunity to process and make sense of those soul crushing experiences. His premise, if you take it to a logical conclusion (which he doesn't really;I think Brooks is still taking his baby steps to a more compassionate world view) is that one is ultimately called to fight to address the root causes and work in service of alleviating the suffering of others. 

I was introduced to this ACE's study and test during my trauma informed training for my current position as a foster parent recruiter, and educator.  I myself scored a 9 out of 10 on this exam, and as a newbie to this website I am thrilled to learn as much as I can to help the foster parents that I am working with. I too am a firm believer that Christ was and is my ultimate savior from the cycle of traumas and my reactions to them in my past, and certainly in my future. However, I also know Christ will use everything and everyone to protect his children, and I appreciate the wisdom shared above. Shame and guilt do separate the lost. It is through healthy community and open conversations that   people will begin to feel more connected and more valued.  

I don't believe ACE's are the root cause of loneliness, despair, etc.  We need to go deeper and ask what is the root cause of ACEs.  Why is there an epidemic of substance abuse and suicides?  What is the answer?  In my humble opinion it is the loss of relationship with our Creator.  I know, many of you just checked out of this comment.  I'm not talking church or religion; they've proven to be less than trustworthy.  I'm talking a simple, personal relationship with Jesus.  He spent his life reaching out to those who had no voice, who were poor, messy, broken.  In fact he felt more comfortable around them (me) then around the rich and religious.  He's changed my life and cut the cords to the anchors of ACEs that were wrapped around my legs so I can now soar like an eagle.  I hope you will consider him again.