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.
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.