The longtime host of On Being, one of the country’s most popular radio shows and podcasts, Krista Tippett is also the author of Becoming Wise, a book that cuts right through the noise of today’s nonstop media machine and makes you consider what it means to live a thoughtful life in 2017. Krista’s gracious yet provocative interview style—she doesn’t believe in gotcha questions—is one of the inspirations for the Longform Podcast. Hear her on episode #215.
Excerpt from Becoming Wise
I take it as an elemental truth of life that words matter. This is so plain that we can ignore it a thousand times a day. The words we use shape how we understand ourselves, how we interpret the world, how we treat other, human beings have forever perceived that naming brings the essence of things into being. The ancient rabbis understood books, texts, the very letters of certain words as living breathing entities. Words make worlds.
We chose too small a word in the decade of my birth—tolerance—to make the world we want to live in now. We opened to the racial difference that had been there all along, separate but equal, and to a new infusion of religions, ethnicities, and values. But tolerance doesn’t welcome. It allows, endures, indulges. In the medical lexicon, it is about the limits of thriving in an unfavorable environment. Tolerance was a baby step to make pluralism possible, and pluralism, like every ism, holds an illusion of control. It doesn’t ask us to care for the stranger. It doesn’t even invite us to know each other, to be curious, to be open to be moved or surprised by each other.