The Openist - Podcast of Democracy Cafe/Socrates Cafe

The Openist - Podcast of Democracy Cafe/Socrates Cafe

socratescafe.podomatic.com
A Fresh Taste of World-Viewing & World Making


Socrates Cafe itself makes the world more peaceful — Hadi AlShaikhNasser
Oct 9 • 85 min
On John Lennon’s birthday, it made my heart soar that about 50 people of many walks of life and ages from around the globe (filling two computer screens) took the time to come together face to face via Zoom video to explore in a rigorous, insightful,…
If you can wonder about something, you can create something better — Paul Martin
Aug 19 • 23 min
Paul Martin, founder and CIO of Martin Capital Advisors (MartinCapital.com) — for which I am an Investment Advisor Representative of the Socratic kind — doesn’t just create worlds; he creates universes. The accomplished managing partner (MCA regularly…
Creating a world of bridges for disadvantaged youth — an exchange with Maria Cortes of Citizen University’s Youth Collaboratory
Jul 3 • 27 min
Maria Cortes, all of 17 years old, is dedicated to creating bridges of opportunity for all those disadvantaged youth who may not even be aware that such bridges exist. As the founder of EDYouth, based in the Houston area, Maria is singlehandedly seeing to…
Why we need less ‘heropreneurship’ and more collective action in the realm of community and social entrepreneurship — an exchange with Danielle Olson
Jun 18 • 33 min
If anyone was ever ‘meant’ for a certain professional position, it’s Danielle Olson, freshly minted Executive Director of Portland, Oregon-based Hatch Innovation (website at HatchTheFuture.org). Hatch is all about helping people create enterprises that…
Why Gary Lauder strives to live by the Golden Rule
May 29 • 20 min
Gary Lauder’s abiding ethos is that “everyone needs to look out for the interests of everyone.” “I want others to be treated the way I’d want to be treated,” he tells me. I had the pleasure to know Gary, a venture capitalist and venture philanthropist,…
Lessons about combatting global warming that the West can learn from the Middle East — an exchange with Peter Schoonmaker, PhD
May 26 • 26 min
Our intrepid Democracy Cafe advisory board member Peter Schoonmaker, PhD, has spent the better part of the last year in Dubai. Peter, who earned his PhD in biology at Harvard University, is a prominent environmental scientist and founding chair of the MFA…
La sabiduria de los ninos
May 10 • 7 min
Muy agradecido con Gina Jaramillo, periodista inigualable de Radio Ibero (90.9 FM en Mexico DF) por entrevistarme sobre mis exploraciones filosoficas con ninos de todas partes del mundo y mi nuevo libro ‘La filosofia de ser ninos’, publicado por Penguin…
Larry Lessig’s Rousing MayDay Democracy Distress Signal
May 1 • 29 min
What better day than May Day to have on our podcast, The Openist, the inimitable Larry Lessig, professor of law and leadership at Harvard University, and our nonprofit Democracy Cafe’s beloved advisory board member,. Larry remains deeply moved, indeed…
Socrates Cafe, Dublin Ireland — Where deep inquiry flourishes
Feb 9 • 33 min
For about eight years now, Dublin, Ireland has had a thriving Socrates Cafe, thanks to co-founders Paul Hartigan and Roy Angle. Both of these inordinately thoughtful people are dedicated to creating the kind of place and space where genuinely…
Bonito anuncio sobre mi evento el 22 de Enero
Jan 19 • 2 min
Mil gracias al programa exquisito Chayo Contigo de Radio FM 93.7 en Ciudad Mexico por este bonito anuncio sobre mi presentacion cultural el martes 22 de enero a la Cafebreria Pendulo en Colonia Roma.
Why mutual listening and shared inquiry should trump argument in these divisive times — an exchange with my former student Chad Adams
Jan 17 • 34 min
Once upon a time, nearly a decade ago, a student of mine by the name of Chad Adams, in a course I developed and taught called “Deliberative Traditions and Democracy,” wrote a brilliant paper on Socratic inquiry. I gained new insights from it, even though…
Jeffrey Sachs’ crusade to make ours an equitable, connected and sustainable world
Jan 14 • 27 min
Jeffrey Sachs is a leading crusader to make ours a globally sustainable planet, and as a consequence, eradicate the extreme poverty that exists in a world of abundance. The world-renowned economist, senior United Nations advisor, prolific bestselling…
The art and necessity of breaking down existential and physical walls
Jan 11 • 35 min
Justin Stone is all about tearing down walls — between one person and another, between man and nature, man and machine, between and among the knowledge disciplines. I had the pleasure of getting to know Justin, a one-of-a-kind professor of the Humanities…
Sailing through life bound to the mast of the ship of inquiry — an exchange with Paul Martin
Jan 8 • 42 min
By his own reckoning, Paul Martin’s nature has remained essentially unchanged since he was about 7 years old. Far from making him someone “like stone,” as Jean-Paul Sartre characterized those who did not change in the passing years, it is what has led…
To be rooted in ways that give you wings — an exchange with Adam Garnick
Jan 7 • 29 min
I consider Adam Garnick, my former student at Penn (now in law school there after rich work and study experiences these past years in far-flung places), well on the way to becoming a citizen of the world. Adam is in many respects rooted in Philly, but in…
On sculpting a healthy and sustainable life — an inquiry with Dr. Thomas Doherty
Jan 5 • 31 min
How can you sculpt a life that’s as healthy as it is sustainable? How do you meet the challenge of finding a meaningful balance in your relationship with nature and technology? Dr. Thomas Doherty (website SelfSustain.com), a licensed psychologist in…
A life worth living
Jan 3 • 42 min
What makes for a life worth living? That’s the rich question I explore in this latest Socratic tete-a-tete with Claire Diao, who became familiar with my writings while at University of Vermont, and with whom I have been in sporadic touch since she decided…
On Ethical and Conscientious Planning, and Its Converse — a New Year’s Day exchange with Dennis Dienst
Jan 1 • 34 min
The photo for this podcast features yours truly and dearest friend Dennis Dienst plotting out a business venture together over cups of tea. Dennis carefully records what we are hatching in a notebook, while I scribble my patented illegible notes on a…
The Continuing Promise and Potential of Socrates Cafe to Bridge Divides — a conversation with Richard Bernstein, MD
Dec 27, 2018 • 28 min
Dr. Richard Bernstein has not only been a generous supporter of our nonprofit Democracy Cafe, but is the organizer and facilitator of one of our longest-running Socrates Cafes, at the Ethical Culture Society in Teaneck, New Jersey. He related in a New…
The burning, heretical mind of philosopher Walter Kaufmann — an exchange with Dr. Stanley Corngold
Dec 23, 2018 • 55 min
Anyone who has read any of my books (e.g. Six Questions of Socrates, Socrates Cafe, A Child at Heart, among others) knows that no one played more of a pivotal role in my decision to dramatically change my life in 1996 and establish Socrates Cafe…
Why All Is Not Lost By a Longshot in This Age of Political Bullshit — a conversation with Steve Duncombe
Dec 20, 2018 • 24 min
If ever a book was crying out to be updated and re-issued, it’s Stephen Duncombe’s timely and timeless guide to creating a far more imaginative, inclusive and (dare I use the word) progressive politics in all its dazzling array of colorful manifestations.…
At Socrates Cafe, we live philosophy to make the world a family - Noor Al-Hajji, organizer of Socrates Cafe in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain
Dec 13, 2018 • 33 min
Our latest podcast is with Noor Al-Hajji, organizer and facilitator of the Socrates Cafes in her hometown of Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia, as well as at Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain, where both men and women from a number of countries in the Middle East…
How Ron Nirenberg strives to build bridges on local and global scales - an exchange with the Mayor of San Antonio, Texas
Dec 3, 2018 • 28 min
Ron Nirenberg, who in June 2017 became Mayor of our nation’s seventh largest city, believes that a blend of pragmatic, progressive and visionary bottom-up governance stands the best chance of having a kind of spillover effect that can make our world more…
Why Socrates Cafe in Berlin helps forge greater connection and commonality
Nov 27, 2018 • 25 min
About a year ago, Tobiasz BudzyƄski, who is from Poland but is living in Berlin, started a Socrates Cafe at a Polish-German bookstore there. He first learned about our gatherings through a childhood friend who has a Socrates Cafe in Krakow. He decided it…
A Life Worth Living, and Dying For — Cornel West’s Quest to Eradicate Man’s Inhumanity to Man
Nov 21, 2018 • 34 min
In this latest episode of ‘The Openist,’ Chris is joined by the towering public intellectual and human rights activist Cornel West, an Honorary Board Member of the nonprofit Democracy Cafe (democracycafe.org) of which Chris serves as Executive Director.…
How #MeToo and Latina Artists Are Driving Gender Equality and American Democracy — an exchange with music journalist Isabela Raygoza
Nov 13, 2018 • 33 min
Rock and Latin music writer and curator Isabela Raygoza has opened my world to an array of artists and great music that I otherwise would not be privy to. She provides vistas, contexts and perspectives that help me and many others see how this rich…
Why the American vision for civic ideals and identity remains so conflicted — an inquiry with Rogers Smith
Oct 8, 2018 • 24 min
In 1998, ‘Civic ideals: Conflicting Visions of citizenship in U. S. History,’ was a finalist for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in History. If anything, the comprehensively insightful award-winning book — authored by Rogers Smith, who until 2001 was Alfred…
A Socrates Cafe tete-a-tete on knowledge and understanding
Oct 1, 2018 • 34 min
“A question for you: knowledge and understanding — how do the words and concepts themselves differ in your eyes?” That was the message I received from Claire Diao, a very thoughtful former student at University of Vermont who is now applying to study at…
Democracy is under threat around the world — Michael Abramowitz, President of Freedom House
Sep 21, 2018 • 27 min
Democratic freedoms are on the decline. What can be done to arrest this pernicious development and make sure freedom rings the world over? Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House (freedomhouse.org), an independent watchdog organization that…
Why Joaquin Gonzalez has joined the all-out effort to overhaul the Electoral College
Sep 14, 2018 • 30 min
When Joaquin Gonzalez heard about the effort of Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig and other compatriots to challenge and prospectively overhaul the ‘unrepresentative’ way Electoral College votes are distributed via a winner-take-all system, he…
Lawrence Lessig’s Mission to Overhaul the Electoral College
Sep 13, 2018 • 20 min
Our representative democracy is more and more unrepresentative. As Lawrence Lessig asserts, American voters are being “essentially silenced by constitutional inequality.” This is made abundantly evident by the winner take all system that pervades the way…
How Kathy Cadwell Is Revolutionizing Education
Sep 10, 2018 • 26 min
Kathy Cadwell is my kind of educator — she is dynamic, passionate, curious, and best of all, equips her charges not just to lead the classroom, but to take leadership roles in the community. A teacher at Harwood Union High School in Moretown, Vermont,…
Where the heart of America still beats strongly
Sep 6, 2018 • 30 min
I had the great pleasure and honor of picking the brain of the celebrated, award-winning journalist and author James Fallows, who with his wife Deborah co-scribed Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America. It is a sumptuous read, as…
The virtues of wonder and the bane of stupidity - an inquiry with Paul Martin
Aug 28, 2018 • 35 min
Paul Martin is a beloved mentor. He is the founder and Chief Investment Officer of Martin Capital Advisors (MartinCapital.com), for which I’m an Investment Advisor Representative, an inveterate Socratic questioner, philanthropist, and all-around fabulous…
Why Socrates Cafe makes one better able to appreciate what others think
Aug 27, 2018 • 24 min
For many moons there has been an ongoing Socrates Cafe in Pasadena, California, and for nearly the last ten years, Brian Yoder has been its organizer and on most occasions its facilitator. Listen in as he describes how and why it is a boon for all those…
How Socrates Cafe fills a vital need in San Antonio
Aug 23, 2018 • 27 min
If you walk into the Twig Book Shop, a idyllic bookstore situated in the Pearl District of San Antonio, in the afternoon on just about any second Tuesday of the month, you’ll see a group of thoughtful souls clustered in a circle pondering timely and…
Why Democracy Cafe is becoming a community mainstay at a New England library
Aug 20, 2018 • 27 min
For many years, there has been a thriving Socrates Cafe at Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, a figurative stone’s throw from Portland. Then, they kindly invited me to give a presentation about how my Socrates Cafe initiative, where I…
Why the Worlds of Humanity and Finance Are (or Should Be) Bedfellows — an exchange with Mihir Desair
Aug 14, 2018 • 30 min
Can we discover, or rediscover, our humanity in the world of finance? Are there stores of essential wisdom embedded at their core in financial matters? Is there even a nobility to finance, and of a sort that can nurture the ascent of open societies? So…
This is a little intentional community that we have created and been part of — participant in Socrates Cafe, Edinburgh, Scotland
Aug 11, 2018 • 49 min
For a dozen years, twice a month there has been a Socrates Cafe gathering in beautiful Edinburgh, Scotland, where according to my mom part of our family genealogy extends. I recently had the opportunity to chat with four of the group’s close-knit devotees…
Socrates Cafe is a sign of empowerment for women in India - Mayuri Talia, organizer of Socrates Cafe in Gujarat, India
Aug 9, 2018 • 26 min
A thriving Socrates Cafe has taken hold in Gujurat, India. According to 31-year-old Mayuri Talia, a writer, student, mother of a 4-year-old, and the organizer of the Socrates Cafe, it is helping cultivate a more flourishing participatory democracy in her…
Investing in the Markets, and in Democracy, in an Age of Stridentness, Fanaticism, and Colorlessness
Aug 7, 2018 • 30 min
Peter Atwater, president of Financial Insights (financial-insights.com), has made it his bailiwick to understand how changes in confidence affect our preferences, decisions and actions. His acclaimed book ‘Moods and Markets’ gives investors keen insights…
You are making philosophy more tangible, accessible, and fun. — June Seong, 18, Socrates Cafe founder, Seoul, Rep.of Korea
Aug 5, 2018 • 28 min
Of late, there has been been what I’d call almost an explosion of new or renewed interest in Socrates Cafe and Democracy Cafe, in the U.S. and around the globe. Imagine my delight in receiving a message from a young woman in Seoul, Republic of Korea, to…
A Librarian for All Seasons
Aug 2, 2018 • 29 min
Rivkah Sass is to me the ideal librarian — imbued with creativity, curiosity, openness, social conscience, as well as an abiding, passionate sense of mission. Rivkah is determined to make the libraries in the Sacramento, CA, library system (the fourth…
A Dear and Philosophical Physician
Jul 31, 2018 • 37 min
For nearly two decades, Dr. Richard Bernstein has had a thriving Socrates Cafe at the Ethical Culture Society in Teaneck, New Jersey. As he said in a New York Times feature about Socrates Cafe, “Everybody has to deal with ultimate questions about why…
Celebrating Democracy Cafe Around a World of Observances — the Ultimate Challenge, with Christopher McGown
Jul 18, 2018 • 32 min
Nearly every day of the week features an observance day of some sort. So I picked several out of the hat, threw down the gauntlet, and asked the peerless donor engagement expert Christopher McGown to work his magic in coming up with ways to connect our…
We cannot protect our rights if we do not know what they are - Stewart Harris, host, Your Weekly Constitutional
Jun 30, 2018 • 44 min
Stewart Harris, law professor extraordinaire and host of the wildly popular syndicated public radio program and podcast, Your Weekly Constitutional, believes we all need to be steeped in our supreme law of the land. Why? Here’s how Stewart eloquently puts…
It is not just others who do bad things…We are capable of doing them, too — Rev. Rob Schenck
Jun 18, 2018 • 29 min
What compellingly comes through in a give-and-take with Reverend Rob Schenck, author of the recently published ‘Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister’s Rediscovery of Faith, Hope and Love,’ is his singular thoughtfulness and exceptional introspective…
There are no limits to what we can discuss and question at a Socrates Cafe — Jenan Abdullah, Qatif, Saudia Arabia
May 29, 2018 • 26 min
Imagine you are a woman and live in a country in which you have no rights. None. Not the right to vote, nor even the right to drive a car (while that will change next month at long last, the government — an absolute monarchy — has arrested many who led…
I will do all in my power to stay in the U.S. This is my home - Yuleymi Mariano, 17, DACA program Dreamer
May 3, 2018 • 22 min
At age 5, Yuleymi Mariano, originally from Acapulco, Mexico, was separated from her mom as she travelled north to cross the border into Mexico. Yuleymi’s indelible memory, when at last reunited with her mom days later, is of seeing her mom, who crossed…
‘Evil is on the run’ — winners of the Alexander Phillips Arete Award
Apr 25, 2018 • 35 min
When my dad’s birthday (he would have been 85 on March 20) rolled around this year, I decided to do something special. I decided upon an award competition in my dad’s honor — and launched the inaugural Alexander Phillips Arete Award. Even though there was…
The Story Behind ‘Silicon Valley: The Untold Story’
Apr 24, 2018 • 29 min
What accounts for Silicon Valley’s virtually unrivaled history of innovation on the technology front? Well, it’s storied history for one big thing. “What other places don’t have is Silicon Valley’s history,” according to Michael Schwarz, the Peabody- and…
Eric Liu’s quest to make America (great) again, through the art of powerful citizenship
Apr 19, 2018 • 26 min
There is simply no one whom I’ve had the privilege to know who is doing more to bring about democratic revival and renewal than Eric Liu, founder and CEO of Citizen University — www.CitizenUniversity.us Citizen University itself is peerless in its…
We could not leave slavery in the past; we had to bring that conversation into the world today - Kat Imhoff, President & CEO, Montpelier Foundation
Apr 16, 2018 • 24 min
Kat Imhoff hit the ground running when she became President and CEO of The Montpelier Foundation in 2013. Among the first generation of women to oversee all aspects of a national historic site. Kat has spearheaded the extraordinary efforts that have made…
Philosophy is about justifying our beliefs through reason, not merely emotions or appeals to authority - London’s Socrates Cafe organizer, Austin Caffrey
Apr 13, 2018 • 28 min
If you look at the Meetup page for this thriving ongoing Socrates Cafe in London, you’ll see the “Imagine,” photo we’ve uploaded here for this podcast. Their dedicated organizer, Austin Caffrey, tells me in this thoughtful exchange that Socrates Cafe is…
At Socrates Cafe, you talk in a deep and thoughtful way with people from different backgrounds - Midori Yao, Socrates Cafe in Kyoto, Japan
Apr 10, 2018 • 39 min
A thriving Socrates Cafe in historic Kyoto, Japan? Yes, indeed. It never occurred to me, when I first started Socrates Cafe in September 1996, that it would touch such a chord across the fruited plain in the U.S. My only aim was to start one ongoing…
Achieving worldly wisdom should be a goal for most everyone - Robert G. Hagstrom
Mar 12, 2018 • 30 min
Robert G. Hagstrom is my kind of thinker and doer and questioner. He has a peerless and contagious intellectual honesty and integrity and openness, and he draws from and builds on the worldly wisdom of thinkers from across the ages and disciplines — as…
Why Socrates Cafe thrives in Fiji
Mar 3, 2018 • 37 min
Why do people love getting together on a particular day at a particular hour to Socratize in Fiji? “To find out what other people are thinking,” says one of the Fijian Socrates Cafe participants who participated in this exchange. This is the first time…
From disagreement we can come up with new solutions — Jakub Kocikowski, Democracy Cafe/Socrates Cafe organizer in Poland
Mar 1, 2018 • 23 min
At a time when Poland is at a critical crossroad in its experiment with democracy, our Socrates Cafe and Democracy Cafe initiatives are burgeoning throughout the country — from Krakow, to Konstancin-Jeziorna, to Poznan to Warsaw to Wracow to Zielona Gora…
For most of our nation’s history, gun laws were not viewed as in competition with or opposition to gun rights, but went hand in — Robert J. Spitzer
Feb 28, 2018 • 17 min
Only in the last 40 years or so have gun laws and gun rights become viewed as a zero sum relationship, according to Robert Spitzer, noted scholar and author of five acclaimed books on gun policy, including most recently the acclaimed ‘Guns across America:…
The history of our country and of our democratic practice is that we are an unbelievably resilient democracy — Christopher T. Gates
Feb 26, 2018 • 31 min
Our democracy is experiencing a singular moment, no doubt about it. Chris Gates, for one, our latest Democracy Cafe guest, has faith that we’ll get through this and that just perhaps the outcome of what we’re experiencing right now is that we the people…
Talk to me…please?
Feb 23, 2018 • 29 min
How can we bring together Americans in ways in which they’ll feel compelled to explore in meaningful ways our most pressing political issues — and to consider an array of perspectives and possible solutions? Enter an amazing project on civic engagement…
I need good citizens to help take care of me when I am older, so I need to help train them. — Dennis Dienst, board chair, Democracy Cafe
Feb 22, 2018 • 26 min
The road to responsible and involved citizenship was not a straight one for Dennis Dienst, our Democracy Cafe nonprofit board chair. Over 32 years ago, Dennis overcame drug and alcohol addiction to become not only an accomplished professional, but an…
If the profession of philosophy wants to survive, let alone grow and flourish, it needs to diversify its portfolio - David E. Storey, PhD
Feb 21, 2018 • 35 min
David Storey, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Philosophy at Boston College, is my kind of philosopher — an accomplished scholar and dynamic teacher who also is dedicated to bringing philosophy to the public. Indeed, David asserts, if the profession…
People want to be free and they want to have liberty — Ethan Randleas, teenager and candidate for governor in Kansas
Feb 19, 2018 • 23 min
Ethan Randleas is one of six teenagers vying to be the next governor of Kansas. Ethan — whose campaign website is https://ethanrandleas.com/about/ — is running as a Libertarian candidate. Ethan insists he’s not doing this for any sort of any gimmicky…
Changes in confidence are having a real impact in real time in America — Peter Atwater, President, Financial Insyghts
Feb 18, 2018 • 28 min
Peter Atwater, a sought after financial consultant, and author of the acclaimed book ‘Moods and Markets,’ believes that moods drive the market rather than the other way around. Right now, Americans are at an ebb in confidence. And yet, he asserts what FDR…
I would love to put my arms around all the people in Florida who are going through this right now. I hurt for them. — Lynette Thetford
Feb 17, 2018 • 35 min
Nearly twenty years ago, there was a tragic school shooting at Westfield Middle School in rural Jonesboro, Arkansas. On March 24, 1998, Andrew Golden, then 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, opened fire on their teachers and fellow students. Four students and…
We need to come up with a new political vocabulary — David Palumbo-Liu
Feb 16, 2018 • 27 min
David Palumbo-Liu, a respected Stanford University professor and scholar, is caught in the vortex of a Kafkesque predicament; he’s accused by right-wing media outlets of being part of a ‘terrorist group’ because he helped organize the Campus Anti-Fascist…
Activism can and should be enlivening and life giving instead of life draining — Steve Lambert
Feb 14, 2018 • 34 min
Steve Lambert, co-founder with Steve Duncombe of the Center for Artistic Activism (artisticactivism.org), believes that art and artistry have an unrivaled role to play in ending oppression, sparking greater equality, and making ours more a world in which…
Golf, entrepreneurialism, democracy, and transforming young lives
Feb 10, 2018 • 34 min
Steve Hornsby, one of my best and oldest friends (since at least 1975), is as young at heart, entrepreneurial and democratic in spirit, as they come. If you wanted to engage in great Socratic conversation, and absorb the best in family values, his home in…
It is time to transcend labels and find common ground so we can create a more sustainable future - Charles Massiatte
Feb 9, 2018 • 26 min
Charles Massiatte, founder of New Scholars of Texas (scholarsoftexas.org), soon to be a graduate of Harvard Extension School, and an associate at Martin Capital Advisors, strives to mitigate socioeconomic equality and eradicate ‘this huge yawning chasm…
‘People who come to Socrates Cafe are, deep down, the same everywhere.’
Feb 8, 2018 • 30 min
Hadi Alshaikhnasser is the founder and coordinator of a thriving Socrates Cafe in a place you might like least expect it to take hold — Saihat, Saudi Arabia. He first became smitten with Socrates Cafe when, as a medical school student, he attended…
‘Children are truly and truthfully a mirror into you’
Feb 6, 2018 • 31 min
How do we raise children who reflect the best of us — and how can they, in a sense, help raise us so we continue to grow as humans? No one on this planet better to pose such a question to than Meghan Leahy, immensely popular and acclaimed essayist for the…
We are seeing in the whole social sphere a renewed interest in connecting for a better future that is for everyone’
Feb 1, 2018 • 35 min
Odin Halvorson is the epitome of an enlightened generalist — open, honest, impassioned, curious, imbued with social and politic conscience, civically involved and dedicated to bringing together diverse Americans. Odin started a thriving Democracy Cafe in…
“There but for the grace of God go I”: How charitable giving helps an open society flourish
Jan 30, 2018 • 35 min
Chris McGown, an accomplished consultant and Divisional Director of Communications and Donor Engagement for The Salvation Army’s Kentucky/Tennessee Division, was in the thick of things during Hurricane Harvey. Though the ongoing relief effort was…
‘We need to learn to separate our political views from our constitutional views’
Jan 25, 2018 • 23 min
No one I’ve had the privilege to know and collaborate with speaks more eloquently and passionately about our nation’s successful and durable Constitution than Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center (ConstitutionCenter.org),…
How Socrates Cafe improves democracy and enhances our military
Jan 25, 2018 • 26 min
How is our longtime Socrates Cafe endeavor a vital way to advance our democracy within our military? Captain Alex Carlier of the U.S. Army can tell you firsthand. He was inspired by my works and deeds to hold Socrates Cafes on a regular basis not only at…
The road to political enlightenment and participation
Jan 23, 2018 • 36 min
When I first met Nahui Ludekens many moons ago in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, she was doing impressive work as a photographer and with Gravity Works, an aerial acrobatic dance company. Now Nahui, who has dual Mexican-Australian citizenship, is back in…
The Democracy Game and the Money Game
Jan 20, 2018 • 34 min
How does the ‘democracy game’ (as New Yorker editor David Remnick put it in an essay) drive the money game (the title of a famous book by Adam Smith) in general and the stock market game in particular? How are they entwined, and where might they part…
Where has all the (good) political and protest music gone?
Jan 15, 2018 • 33 min
On the day we celebrate the legacy of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rollingstone magazine contributor extraordinaire Isabela Raygoza opens my eyes to the fact that there’s still a lot of good political and even overt protest music out…
‘The best form of protest is to become a better person’
Jan 8, 2018 • 31 min
Anthoula Katsimatides has experienced both tragedy and triumph like few others. A remarkably accomplished actor (she has recently appeared in the acclaimed movie ‘Kazantzakis’ as well as an episode of the drama ‘Law and Order), Anthoula didn’t start…
Part 2 — ‘The best form of protest is to become a better person’
Jan 8, 2018 • 6 min
After a brief technical hiccup, I continue my exploration with Anthoula Katsimatides (be sure to check out her website at http://anthoulakatsimatides.com/
A democracy where citizens care about and for one another
Dec 28, 2017 • 36 min
To the extent that citizens don’t care for and about one another, and don’t have one another’s backs, can a supposedly democratic country really be said to be ‘democratic’? High school senior and all-around thoughtful and engaged democratic citizen Skyler…
‘This is no way to run a democracy’
Dec 21, 2017 • 26 min
The military-industrial complex is growing at a rampant and exponential pace, sensible gun safety measures remain ever elusive, and Americans are more polarized than ever. Not only that, there seem to be deliberate efforts by those at the top of the…
Democracy Now?
Dec 14, 2017 • 25 min
Whither democracy? Does it still exist? What can we the people do to resuscitate it? On the very day that the FCC voted to do away with net neutrality — which so many across the political spectrum consider a linchpin for a vibrant democracy today — I had…
When tragedy strikes — a loving and determined mother’s philosophy for moving forward
May 31, 2017 • 37 min
When the unthinkable happened to Liz Tullis’ son Conrad, the loving and determined mother moved forward in a way that is both an inspiration and a roadmap for all of us who experience tragedy in our lives. When Conrad was 17 months old, he fell into a…
A World in which there are no “Others”
May 4, 2017 • 53 min
Why do most live in a “consciousness of separation,” in which “I am I, and from my skin outward, I am not?” How can we transcend this notion of separation, and come to realize there is one continuous consciousness and energy, and that we are one with…
Reinventing Education — A Way Forward
Apr 29, 2017 • 39 min
Jeff Sandefer shakes things up, in the best sense. The Harvard Business School graduate, Socratic Method maestro, and Austin-based entrepreneurial wunderkind is front and center in the effort to reinvent the way we go about educating one another.…
Why We Must Embrace Big, Scary Ideas
Apr 24, 2017 • 32 min
Kris Kimel is a believer in and embracer of big, scary, wonderfully dangerous, potentially world-changing ideas. And he lives what he believes in and embraces. Kris is co-founder and board chairman of Space Tango (SpaceTango.com), a company that “utilizes…
All the Good Coaches
Apr 23, 2017 • 38 min
There are now, at last official count, 999 million billion gazillion coaches of all sorts, in the U.S. alone. But what virtues and best practices does the cream of the crop among coaches embody and exemplify? Jeremy Colb is a stand-out All-Star Cheer and…
The Fearless Balanced Badass
Apr 21, 2017 • 46 min
Amanda Kathryn Roman (AmandaKathrynRoman.com) has some news for you — you have it within you to radically change your life and become the fearless balanced badass you’ve always wanted to be in this fretful imbalanced world. Amanda knows of what she…
A Compact with America
Apr 18, 2017 • 44 min
America, at its earliest formative stages, was forged by compacts such as the Mayflower Compact that bound people together as they strived to create a bold new form of government. What kind of compact would we Americans need today to come together as a…
Rediscovering and recovering ‘Nature’s God’
Apr 16, 2017 • 54 min
What if we the American people returned to our heretical origins? What if we rediscovered and recovered Nature’s God — the Nature’s God that was front and center in our Declaration of Independence? What if we engaged again as citizens of our…
The Power of Persuasion and Dialogue
Apr 14, 2017 • 36 min
How can we harness the power of persuasion and dialogue to change the way we interact with one another, and ultimately to make our democracy more vibrant? Anna Kern, a former student of mine who went on to study Health Communication at Emerson College and…
One teacher’s wondrous learning harbor
Apr 12, 2017 • 28 min
In his song “One Particular Harbor,” Jimmy Buffett could be describing the classroom of Todd Carstenn, Vanguard High School’s teacher extraordinaire — “a mysterious calling harbor, sheltered from the wind, where the children play, on the shore each day,…
The Promise of Every Human Being
Apr 10, 2017 • 26 min
How do we make sure that every human being, no matter the circumstances in which she starts out her life, has the opportunity to fulfill her promise? Adam Braun (AdamBraun.com) is an extraordinary young entrepreneur, father of twins, civic mover and…
Part 1 - The Value of Values-Based Education
Apr 9, 2017 • 31 min
Is it possible to interlace young people’s learning experiences and educational curricula with a decidedly values-based approach and ethos? And if so, what’s the best way — and the best values to inculcate (and what do we mean by ‘values’)? Dr Neil Hawkes…
Part 2: The Value of Values-Based Education
Apr 9, 2017 • 14 min
We continue, with Dr. Neil Hawkes, our Socratic exploration of the value of values-based education (valuesbasededucation.com)
Transgender Matters
Apr 7, 2017 • 37 min
Should gender matter? And if so, how, and in what way? Through what lenses of empathy and understanding and open-mindedness should we consider gender, whether we are parents or childless, young or old — but democratic citizens one and all, dedicated to…
And ‘Youthkind’ Shall Lead us
Apr 4, 2017 • 30 min
Any adult who has had the privilege to take part, once or regularly, in the Constitution Cafe — a Socratic scrutiny of our Supreme Law of the Land — sponsored and organized by East Central Independent School District in San Antonio over the last five-plus…