How to Lead a Good Life in Divided Times - Jonathan Sacks

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I wonder if before I begin my talk you

might join me and a little prayer for

all those affected by the coronavirus

how their prey if you don't mind in

Hebrew and then in English

Misha Baraka vitinho the moti no Avraham

it's Katya Kaufman shiverin dou V dou

Sarah Rivka Raquel Vallejo we've already

repair at Cola column Ben Burke

coronavirus Ben Whishaw Mohammed

Mohammed - vocal Herod sought valve

ocean our Lumet palolem la kilometer

east as erica - Burcu he mother akka

Mima mayhem largely maneuverable Tom

lajas become lucky of Tom ish Locklear

Mara Rafale MO - my Min Ko Cola alum

report an official photobooth estaba

galavis man car even OMA a main god of

life who delights in life and teaches us

to choose and sanctify life here and

heed our prayers as we pray for those

infected by the corona virus along with

all the other sick and afflicted of the

world send them healing grown them

strength and help them to make a full


that they and we make you for honor to

your name Amen

friends that we'll come back to that

right at the end of my talk but in

between times let's change the subject

do you mind and invite you to join me on

a little journey as to why I undertook

to write this book and what I discovered

it along the way

and let me begin by saying that it's

always a little

risky when you undertake a book you

never know who or how you were going to

event my favorite story was told by tell

to us actually Elena myself by Alan

Dershowitz you know the Harvard lawyer

who is a very secular Jew but whose

uncle is a very very religious Jew and

on one occasion Alan wrote a book about

Lord Justice in the Bible called the

genesis of justice and thought he would

send it to his uncle who might be

pleased that he'd been occupying himself

with the holy book he waited for four

weeks and then phoned up his uncle and

said uncle how did you like the book and

his uncle replied there's only one word

I'd like you to change and Alan said

which word and his uncle replied


so you never know but there you are so a

little journey in five stages the

journey began in 2016 I don't know if

you remember 2016 the most divisive

American presidential election in

history and one of the most divisive

issues the brexit vote in England and I

was wondering what is going on here for

instance do you remember those

extraordinary years 2016 to 2019 when we

were yes knows hard soft now lot mouths

where the entire British government

seemed unable to make its own mind

whether to vote for itself

or not this was not politics as usual in

fact I don't know if you know about the

there's a Jewish University in America

in New York I ever was a professor there

recently called yeshiva university and

one year you should be university lost

all its rowing matches it decided we we

can't carry on like this we've got to

find out what we're doing wrong and so

they sent their coach to Harvard to look

at their rowing team the coach came back

three days later shell-shocked and he

told the team you wouldn't believe it

they do exactly the opposite of what we

do they have eight people rowing and

only one person shouting instructions

well I never thought that the British

government would look like the use of a

university rowing team and that was the

first thing that got me conserved the

second thing that got me concerned was

the sheer divisive nassif American

politics I don't know if you've followed

but last week a survey came out saying

that 45% of Americans will no longer

talk politics to a friend or a member of

their family because they're worried

that it will degenerate immediately and

they'll lose the friend or the

relationship within the family I asked

their friend of mine who lives in

Washington very bright political

analysts what it was like living through

that particular presidential election he

replied well it was like the man

standing on the deck of the Titanic

holding in his hand a glass of whiskey

and saying I know I asked for ice

but this is ridiculous

so the first question I asked was why

has politics suddenly become

dysfunctional the second question I

asked was why has economics become so

dysfunctional as you know we are in one

of the most extraordinary periods of

economic inequality in loving memory JP

Morgan of the bank that bears his name

said that the relationship between the

ratio between a CEO and the lowest paid

employee in a company should be twenty

to one and in 1965 that is what it was

20 to 1 now 312 to one and I think it

was lost last week that Bob Iger stepped

down as CEO of Disney and in 2018 his

salaries financial package was one

thousand four hundred and twenty four

times the median salary of a Disney

employee now how did this happen this is

not something that I you know that

somebody like me alone is concerned

about Ray Dalio head of Bridgewater

Capital which is the world's largest

hedge fund said last year that economic

inequality in the United States is a

national emergency and an existential

risk to the future of America and that

was said by the 57th wealthiest person

on the planet so how did economics

become so dysfunctional so inequity

inequitable thirdly I don't know if you

noticed again just before everything was

as it were displaced by the virus but

there was a very troubling news item

just two or three weeks ago that for the

first time in a century life expectancy

has ceased to increase it's it's now

static and for the poorest section of

the population it is actually decreasing

decreasing both in Britain and in

America and this is really extraordinary

because the story of the last hundred

years has been of an unbroken increase

in life expectancy

how did this happen and of course one of

the reasons is happening there are many

reasons there's poverty there's the

austerity program cutbacks and social

services but not least is the fact that

among those whose life expectancy is

declining there is a growth of isolation

and loneliness in parts of the country

and loneliness I mean after all in 2018

for the first time in history Britain

appointed a so-called Minister for

loneliness it never existed before now

the question is how did this happen all

of a sudden but the effect of it

happening is simple that loneliness is

as harmful to health as obesity or

smoking 15 cigarettes a day

so those things

I wondered what is happening to health

and to social life that we have seen

this sudden rise in loneliness and

fourthly something that you may have

been following it keeps coming up in the

news the assault on freedom of speech in


did you notice last week Selina Todd an

Oxford professor named Bharat were

actually barred from speaking at a

conference in Exeter Cole

Oxford and this is happening again and

again and again

the Canadian psychologist Jordan

Peterson was D barred from having a

fellowship at the Cambridge Divinity

School last summer we are seeing people

like Germaine Greer the feminist people

like Peter Tatchell the gay gay activist

being barred from universities on the

grounds that they must since they care

about women's rights and gay rights be

transfer what is happening I don't think

this is something that can be taken like

in 1927 a French intellectual Julian

bender wrote a book of famous a book

with a very famous title called the

Kaiser declare the betrayal of the

intellectuals I say the book titled his

famous because the book itself is fairly

unreadable but there is one wonderful

phrase in it in which he says the

universities used to be places with high

ideals now they've been come places for

the intellectual organization of

political hatreds

now he wrote that in 1927 within six

years universities were throwing out for

instance every Jewish academic and

nobody was protesting so when there is

the beginning of an assault on freedom

of speech universities we know things

are going very badly wrong so those

phenomena and many many others started

concerning me in the past four years why

are they suddenly appearing now the

political divisive news the economic

inequality the loneliness the assault on

freedom of speech and so on and what I

wanted to do was to ask are these

separate phenomena

or are they all part of a single

phenomenon so for instance if you think

about global warming climate change how

does that how does that express itself

the fascinating thing is it expresses

itself in all sorts of contradictory

ways last summer they had unprecedented

heat in Australia hence all the fires

they had unprecedented cold in Delhi in

India in some places climate change

expresses itself in terms of droughts in

other places flooding and inundation but

they are all part of a single phenomenon

namely climate change I want you to know

if the four phenomena and the many

others I deal with in the book are part

of the same phenomenon the way climate

changes and after several years of

really thinking hard about it and

researching it I came to the conclusion

that they are all linked and they are

expressions of what I call cultural

climate change and that is what the book

is all about what happens to our culture

to make this sudden change in the way we

relate to one another and here it is

number one let me show you what what I

think is that the big difference number

one have you noticed all the words that

suddenly came into force in the last two

generations let me ask you what do we

worship collectively nowadays

what celebrities yeah well we worship

celebrities except when we sacrifice

them on the altar of not being a

celebrity anymore

but might might since we don't worship

God we don't worship nationality we

don't worship race we don't worship

religion I think one candidate I put

forward is as follows think of the words

that are the buzzwords of our time self

fulfillment self realization self

actualization self respect self esteem

what is the religious ritual of our time

there selfie so that is my starting

point number one number two there is

this fantastic thing has anyone ever

tried this called a Google Engram Google

have digitized entire literature's among

them everything ever published in

Britain and America since 1800 and you

can do a search for the instance of any

words throughout the entire literature

for a given period of time

and professor Robert Putnam of Harvard

University did a Google Ngram and

followed discover the following that if

you look at the ratio between the words

we and I they remain fairly steady until

1964 when suddenly the word eye begins

to dominate over the word we and that is

the beginning not the full extent of it

but the beginning of this cultural

climate change less emphasis on we more

emphasis on eye and the same applies

because another American professor has

done this research

exercise two pop songs over the same

period pop songs used to be about us

together and love and all sorts of stuff

and today slightly gloomy oh I mean

there's a fairly long trajectory between

Simon and Garfunkel and Eminem would you

agree so all of a sudden you know again

that move from the wheat to the eye is

something you find in pop music as well

and that is extraordinary so I realized

that that was the nature of the climate

change less we more eye that's stage two

stage three I asked does this matter why

should it be important and that is where

I suddenly realized the significance of

the Darwin problem do you know the

Darwin problem let me let me give you a

simple way into the Darwin problem have

you seen the imitation game do you know

the film Benedict Cumberbatch playing

Alan Turing with a and Alan Turing is

not did not score high on emotional

intelligence so Keira Knightley the

well-known mathematician suggests to

Alan Turing alias Benedict Cumberbatch

Tom a joke so he tells his team who are

trying to crack the Enigma code a joke

and this is the joke he tells them two

explorers are in the jungle when they

hear the roar of a lion one of them the

first one immediately starts searching

for a place where they can be safe the

second one starts putting on his running

shoes the first one says to the second

one you're crazy you can't run faster

than a lion and the second one says to

the first one I don't need to run faster


Lyonne I just need to run faster than

you now which of the two survives the

one who is self interested in only

thinking about himself or the first one

who's the altruist who wants to save

both of them it is the self-interested

one the ego is two survives and the

altruist who doesn't this is what

bothered Charles Darwin Darwin realized

that if natural selection is the whole

story and that everything that lives is

in competition with everything else for

scarce resources the altruist should go

extinct as he put it

those who retake risk their lives for

the sake of others will die

disproportionately young and therefore

no altruism altruist should be left but

Darwin knew that in every society he had

ever come across altruists were admired

as was our truest and this really

bothered him because it threatened to

undermine his entire theory until he

came up with the solution which is this

any group think of two groups one group

in which everyone's an altruist prepared

to take risks for the sake of the group

and another group in which everyone's

Nega is only concerned with their own

interest which group wins the altruist

win because they're the stronger group

or imagine a football team of eleven

divas they can be brilliant footballers

but they're never going to win a match

because they don't put the team ahead of

their self so Darwin realized that

natural selection is in fact quite a

complex thing because we need to be able

to compete but we need to be able to

cooperate as well with the members of

our group

or as we would put it today we pass on

our genes as individuals but we survive

as members of groups so we need to

cooperate as well as compete it's that

clear when we compete we're thinking

about I when we cooperate we're thinking

about we Darwin understood and this has

now become the subject of major research

in sociobiology evolutionary psychology

and game theory what they call the

evolution of cooperation huge amount of

research has been done on that in the

last 40 years and any group needs to be

able to compete and to cooperate

it needs the eye and it needs the way

and now I want to suggest what has gone

wrong in the liberal democracies of the

West in the past period of time we have

believed that all you need to have to

sustain a free society is two things a

market economy and a democratic state

that's all you need and that has been a

colossal mistake because if you think

about it a market economy and a

democratic state are both about

competition the market economy is about

competition for wealth and the

democratic state is about the

competition for power and those things

are important and necessary and really

really essential but thumb something is

missing and I want you to see this by

way of a simple thought experiment if

you have a thousand pounds and you

decide to share it with nine others how

much do you have left

hundred pounds what 1/10 of what you

began with if you have

total power like the synagogue president

who said all those in favor say aye

all those against say I resign if you

have total power and you decide to share

that with nine others how much do you

have left

1/10 of what you began with now tell me

this if you have a certain amount of

knowledge or influence or love and you

share that with nine others how much do

you have do you have less yeah why

because wealth and power are in the

short-term zero-sum games the more I

shared the less I have but love of

influence or knowledge of friendship are

social goods and those social goods the

more I share the more I have they are

not zero-sum games they are nonzero they

multiply why because they are the arenas

not of competition but of cooperation

and where do you find them you find them

in families in communities in

congregations in charities in voluntary

associations in all of those places you

are not a lonely self in pursuit of

self-interest you are a member of the

family the community you care about the

way and that is what makes a family or a

community you were there for others they

are there for you they are the way in

which we've become literate in the

emotions and the habits of the heart

they constitute morality morality is

what happens when we subordinate

self-interest to the common good where

we care about others not just ourselves

and those places are the places where we

speak the emotional and practical line

which have we what has happened over the

last 50 years has been a weakening of

families and communities and everything

associate and congregations for that

matter why for three he came in three

waves number one was the social

revolution of the 1960's which we said

forget about a shared moral code

morality is whatever works for you

then came the 1980s and the economic

revolution Thatcherism Reaganomics well

this was never the intention but the

result was I don't know if you can

remember that far back Michael Douglas

in wall street wearing those wonderful

red braces and saying in so many words

greed is good

suddenly economics became about the

pursuit of self-interest and not just

and not the interests of the group as a

whole and then finally came the

technological revolution of our time

smartphones and social media which are

all about the presentation of self about

my facebook profile they it's all about

me selling myself at the combination of

those three revolutions unprecedented in

their power and their proximity has

tilted the balance of our society away

from the way to the eye and the result

is our arenas of competition the market

economy and the democratic state are

fine they're strong but the weed that

brings us together in cooperation not

competition that has grown very weak how

does that play out in the four areas

that I mentioned politics economics and

so on

have you noticed how politics has

stopped being about policies and become

about personalities did you notice that

and in that kind of politics

the most effective thing you can

possibly do is character assassination

of your opponents and when you do that

it's the person with the strongest eggo

who wins and the messages vote for me

not vote for this party or that policy

or that vision but vote for me that is

what happens then the week becomes the I

in politics what happens when the we

becomes the I in economics there was a

murder I wonder if anyone remembers the

name Arnold

Weinstock IVA Weinstock was for four

decades the leading industrialists in

Britain he built up GE C to be an

enormous enormous company and he was the

textbook example that everyone wrote

about in the 1990s you wanted a

successful industrialist he was the he

was the ideal three months before he

died he phoned me up and said I'd like

to come and see him

and he came to see me he was a broken

man and he told me the following he told

me how he built up GE C and he told me

how much he paid himself and he adhered

to the 20 to one rule he felt that's

what a CEO is paid he said to me my

successor is paying himself ten times

what I paid myself

and is destroying everything I built if

you look up the history of GE C you'll

see that that is exactly what happened

and I suddenly realized when I had that

conversation what was happening there so

long Weinstock was a wee person he cared

about the company that he was building

not just his shareholders not just the

profit and loss accounts he cared about

his employees he cared about his

customers he cared about the communities

in which his factories were said he

cared about all of that but when he left

his successor was already inhabited

another kind of world not a we but an I

approach to economics and that is

unsustainable luckily some serious human

beings that are proposing a different

way of doing economics Sir Ronald Cohen

created what are the first venture

capitalists in Britain and one of the

most successful who was asked by Gordon

Brown when Gordon Brown was Prime

Minister to behead the head of the first

social bank social capital bank in

Britain is has been persuading over this

last couple of years g7 are now working

on g20 to accept a new kind of economics

called impact economics in which a

company is to be valued not only by its

profit and loss account but by a

precisely quantified account of its

impact on the environment and he's

worked out and he's got expert

economists to work out the algorithms

that will do this Raghu Ram Rajan was

the chief economist of the International

Monetary Fund and he is proposing

something called social economics in

which economic policies of the World

Bank and of

of the global economy be based not only

on profit and loss but on impact on

communities are they enhancing all are

they destroying communities so here you

have two one really successful venture

capitalists one outstanding economist

saying there is a way of bringing the

Wii back into economics and looking at

companies to benefit not only the not

only the company itself and its

shareholders but the people affected by


number three universities in freedom of

speech have you been following the logic

of banning people the logic of barring

people from universities I'll tell you

in how it happened and I'll tell you the

answer to it it happened because I was

actually a philosophy student back in

the end of the 60s beginning of the 70s

and the leading moral philosophy of the

time was called emotivism and emotivism

said that morality isn't really an

objective science what it is is an

expression of your feelings

so when you say X is good what you're

saying is I like X now what happens when

you believe that the first thing that

happens is you can no longer have a

moral argument anymore because you like

T I like coffee there's not a lot to

argue about so how do you win an

argument the short answer is this you

win an argument by saying morality is

about feelings

you are just upsetting my feelings once

you've said that then you've defined

yourself as the victim it follows that

the other person is the victimizer and

therefore you can ban the other person

as that as a victimizer that's how we

got to where we are now what's the

solution to

universities are calling places where

you won't hear something distressing to

you safe space I think the meaning of

safe space should be exactly the

opposite and I read the reason I say

this is because my doctoral supervisor

was a philosopher called Sir Bernard

Williams Bernhard Williams was known as

the cleverest man in England and was

probably the greatest philosopher in his

time he was a lapsed Catholic and a

wonderfully wonderfully brilliant

atheist I mean a serious atheist you

know we just don't have faces of that

quality anymore and Here I am wearing my

thing you know my yarmulke and quite

religious and the world's most brilliant

atheist and we're sitting in his room in

Kings and in all our encounters never

once did he rubbish or ridicule my

opinions all he ever asked was that I be

coherent and consistent I found that the

most extraordinarily liberating

experience here is a man who listened

respectfully to my views even though

they were diametrically opposed to his

own and I realized that that's what a

university is it's a place where you

listen respectfully to the people who

disagree with you in the knowledge that

they will listen respectfully to you and

that meant that I could go out into the

world confident that despite the fact

that 99% of the people I meet might

disagree with me nonetheless we can be

respectful to one another that was safe

space but if you incubate people and say

we will never let you hear something

that's going to upset you you have

rendered them totally vulnerable when


the university that's completely

unprepared for a world of diverse views

unlike their own so that is how you deal

with universities you allow them to be

places of civil disagreement

after all Judaism is a place of uncivil

disagreements other people have

conversations we only have arguments but

that is how you learn to cope with the

world to be able to argue with one

another and to encounter and not be

fazed by the realization that not

everyone agrees with you and finally you

know in terms of loneliness we have just

got to have the courage to say that

families matter that communities matter

and we have to rebuild them I had the

great privilege being asked by Gordon

Brown at the time to help him launch his

child poverty action program because the

breakdown of marriage in Britain meant

that there were even in an age of

affluence 3.4 million children living

below the poverty line and all of that

poverty almost all of it came not from

economics but from the social breakdown

and the multiplication of single-parent

families and I don't what a stigmatized

anyone but it does seem to me that you

can do this kind of thing if you care

enough about it

it's not easy does anyone remember a

Secretary of State for the environment

back in the 1990s called Johnson Selwyn

Gummer John Selwyn gamma on one occasion

invited George Carey the Archbishop of

Canterbury's the lates about the late

basil Hume cardinal archbishop of

westminster myself for lunch and we were

trying to guess why he was inviting us

for lunch we weren't even close because

over lunch he said because of the

breakdown of marriage

I'm gonna have to build an extra four

hundred thousand housing units in the

South of England because more people are

living on their own

we need more marriage can't you do

something about it I've never heard such

an expression of faith in religious

leaders before it was terrific but I

mean I think we can do something about

it but first of all we have to decide

that we want to and so we can strengthen

families and communities we can make the

economy much more equitable we can make

politics more about service than about

self and we can make universities places

that are robust but intellectually open

and we can do all this if we are willing

to take the Wii seriously that an

essential element of our being is the

eye we're all individuals were all

different than that matters and it

counts but we're also social animals and

that we really really matters and

therefore we have to be able to conceive

of places as communities as communities

of diversity a university is a community

an economy is in is set in the midst of

communities that you can strengthen or

weaken politics is about a national

community and all of these things need a

recovery of the way and slightly less

emphasis on the eye and this therefore

is what I hope you might consider if you

have a chance to read the book it's this

simple do a search and replace operation

in your mind and whenever you find the

word self delete and insert the word

other so instead of self is

deme other esteem instead of


other respect and you will find that

your whole life is turned out wood you

will feel better

those around you will certainly feel

better and he will begun to change the

world friends I said I would just end by

a little word about the coronavirus

situation the situation is of course

really disturbing nothing like it in my

lifetime in our lifetime I think first

and foremost we have to be thankful that

the speedy action on behalf of most

countries in the world will mean

hopefully that the impact will be

nothing like the terrible pandemics of

the past the Spanish flu pandemic of

1918 to 1920 which cost between 20

million and 50 million lives the

hiv/aids pandemic of 2005 to 2012 which

took 36 million lives hopefully the

sheer reliance or medical expertise will

make sure that this one is much less

damaging and will tell us that despite

everything we do make progress in

civilization I think the 2008 financial

crisis was horrendous but it was nothing

like the 1929 great crash and the

subsequent depression that caused misery

and poverty throughout the 1930s so

little by little we get better at these

things but

in terms of the we Ida stinky I think

we've seen this playing out very clearly

number one there has been hoarding and

stockpiling at an emptying of shelves at

supermarkets and everyone who does that

is putting the I ahead of the Wii and

saying you know I will have more money

despite the fact that I mean be taking

away from people who have less than they

need and that is a victory of I over we

and it's dangerous a second victory of I

over we were through it's very dangerous

was you remember a few days ago Italy

put 16 million people into quarantine in

the north of Italy but as soon as that

news was heard tens of thousands of

people tried to escape to the south of

Italy putting their own personal

convenience over the safety of others

and the result was that Italy had to log

down the whole of Italy are not just the

north and that was another bad instance

of i triumphing over we thirdly I'm

afraid I have to say that the whole

relationship of the West to one another

has not been good I think the American

ban on travel from Europe was done

without any consultation with the

leaders of Europe and constituted a

failure of moral leadership when all

that matters to a politician is I then

you get that kind of chaos in which

everyone suffers so we have seen too

much I and too little we do great damage

in the last few days and weeks what do I

hope to emerge from this when we come

out of this very very difficult period

number one I hope we'll understand that

there is such a thing as a covenant of

global responsibility

here we all are across the world in

every single country suffering the same

fate in the same danger in the same

risks we are a global we and this is

showing it showing us is nothing else as

in our time we are part of a global we

the we of humanity secondly one tiny

little microscopic virus can bring the

whole world to its knees despite all our

technological and scientific advance I

hope that teaches us the way of humility

as well

we have humility maybe we'll take more

care of the environment

it'll be a little less anthropocentric

and willing to understand that we are a

small part of this planet and we'd

better take care of it as a home and

thirdly I really want to thank you all

for coming out here this evening very

moving very moving but when this is all

over I want you to think of all those

hundreds of thousands of people around

the world who've endured quarantine and

self-imposed isolation sitting on their

own lonely eyes and understand what a

gift it is at normal times to be able to

come together to sit together to shake

one another's hand let us realize what a

gift it is of being together as a we not

just as isolated eyes and that will be

our redemption of Solitude

thank you very much indeed




ladies and gents we have some time for

questions if you would like to ask rabbi

sacks a question please pop up your hand

and someone will come to you with a

microphone yes the lady over here please

in the white jumper Lord Sachs thank you

so much for such an inspirational talk I

can't wait to read your book and I

totally agree with what you've said but

looking forward I'm thinking you know

what is the solution here what can we do

to tackle this social climate change or

cultural cultural and social climate

change and I'm wondering whether one of

the key things we can do is to look at

our education system and how we what we

teach young people you know from my age

for up and it would seem to me that it's

we really need to look at the grassroots

of of teaching and nurturing and and

showing young people you know that you

you need to share and you need to think

in terms of we and cooperation and

collaboration and love for one another I

just wondered if you have a few on that

what a really really good question and

suggestion you are I am late and I at

some stage many years ago had the

privilege of coming to know a remarkable


no longer alive a letter name was Lena

Ruston and she was a speech therapist

but a much better speech therapist not

that I wish to make invidious

comparisons than the one you saw in the

film The King's Speech did you watch

that film the speech therapist in The

King's Speech just taught technique you

know how to deal with hard consonants

now do you know construct the rhythm of

a sentence

Leena did more than that because she

realized that within any family and she

was dealing with five-year-old kids

stammerers have a particular role within

the family dynamic you with my own

families get used to dynamics that each

member of the family has a certain role

to play and she realized that if she

wanted children to lose a stammer they

had to renegotiate all the relationships

within the family she had to turn

Families into fluid and growth oriented

places and she did extraordinary things

she worked out that you had to be able

to do the following things number one

it's scary to change even if you've got

a stammer it's scary to lose it because

it's scary to lose anything you've built

it into yourself image so how do you get

kids not to be scared and this is the

solution she came to everyone in the

family had to praise others in the

family every single day for one simple

thing that they did because when you

have praise within a family everyone

feels good and confident and they're

able to change she realized that you

have to learn how to listen because a

stammering child takes time to get a

sentence out so everyone in the family

has to learn how to listen she realized

that in the family you have to learn how

to negotiate because otherwise you have

rao's right I want to go you know I

don't want to go to bed etc you you get

rid of all the roles by teaching

everyone in the family how to negotiate

she taught them how to collectively

problem myself because people in a

family can get stuck in a particular you

know they only have one solution to a


somebody once said to someone with a

Hammer Every Problem looks like a nail

so she taught them how as a family to

solve problems together and she taught

them also how to make contracts together

those five skills I suddenly realised

were not just skills that helped

stammering children they helped everyone

because I made a documentary program

about her work for the BBC and I was

getting visiting families and one after

the other I would ask did Lena solve

your cure your child stammered and one

after the other that we're saying oh yes

sure she cured our child stammer but

more importantly she saved our marriage

something amazing about this these

techniques I had for the only time in my

life a dysfunctional camera crew there

were bickering the whole time and they

spent one evenings filming Lena teaching

parents standing in a circle to give and

receive praise now it's quite hard for

some people to give praise for other

people it's quite hard to receive praise

oh it was nothing

oh they were giving you a present you

just threw it away and I suddenly

realized that these five techniques that

she was teaching five-year-old children

were sufficient to keep and sustain

relationships for a lifetime and they

were stunning and they were taught by

game playing so there was no moral

judgment so you know nobody was saying

get married okay there are only five

year old kids but these were incredible

techniques and they were life-changing I

mean oh sorry I forgot to say about the

camera crew they spent one evening

filming Lena teaching parents given

receive praise the next day

they started praising one another and

all the act rimoni vanished it

disappeared they'd suddenly all started

loving each other I mean it's crazy so I

sat with three consecutive secretaries

of State for Education telling them this

story and saying please it's worth doing

one little pilot project I did not

succeed with any of any of those sailors

of State for education but this I can

guarantee you we can teach children of

five years old to become we people in a

way that will make them happier for life

and it is so simple and it breaks my

heart that we're not yet doing it who

else I'd like to ask a question let me

show you a gentleman at the front

I rather sacked you you mentioned in

terms of learning loneliness under and

the social climate change the breakdown

a family very important going back to

the 60s etc there's obviously been a lot

of social change and in terms of trying

to recover that what do we mean now by

family because the traditional nuclear

family is very broken and whilst

individual relationships perhaps could

improve they're not going to come back

in the way they used to be so what do

you mean in the 21st century in 2020 by

family and what is it that can be done

to try and recover a sense of family

given that we have blended families we

have gay families there's all sorts of

different types of family very different

to the one you're perhaps suggesting is

a type that whose breakdown has has led

to some of the problems you've outlined

I'm very non prescriptive on that I

don't think you can get up and say one

particular model of family what is going

to work for everyone in a society as

diverse and complex as ours I think it

is incredibly important not to load

people with a burden of guilt because

your view of what makes a marriage is

different from their view so I feel very

very non-judgmental about how you do it

but I do commend to you a very long but

very interesting article in the Atlantic

Monthly in in the States you get it on

online by David Brooks this month or

last month David Brooks of New York

Times the argument of which is the

nuclear family isn't it anymore

we need extended families we need

blended families we need you know it's

it's it's it's a it's a very powerful

case because he does feel the nuclear


is not strong enough it's been it's

fractured and it just isn't so please he

says it's so much better than I can and

but there it is to to to come together

well you know sorry disclosure here I

know buried from way way back and but

bury you know they you know the answer

one answer is that you have to

generalize from our experience we've

just had a festival called for him we're

just running up to a festival called

pacer you have festivals you come

together I was very interested that

somebody just did a profile the Irish

Catholic you've seen this of the of the

book and and the the priest the

journalist the Irish journalist who came

into our house the first thing he noted

most people noticed it's full of books

he completely ignored the books he said

the first thing I noticed is a big

dining table and I suddenly realized

that not everyone has a dining table

anymore so the family that eats together

stays together that is my theory and I

think you have to create celebrations

moments when you eat together and you

celebrate together and the exact form of

the family I am NOT going to prescribe


it's such a risk-averse world that we

live in that we fright to even push and

the teachers now won't even talk about

are too scared to talk about

radicalization or anything within the

school because they're frightened that

they might be seen as radicalizing young

people what young people is saying to me

is we want to discuss it want to talk

about it but there's just no spectacle

you start this at the souks the safe

space is what I was thinking about that

there isn't a space that they can do

that because the teachers are scared the

young people are scared to talk about

it's wondered I know it's kind of

different to what you talked about

whether it fits in at all or one of the

issues the answer is peanuts let me


kids today lots of kids have peanut

allergies no Israeli kid has peanut


why because the most popular snack for

Israeli kids has peanuts in it so once

you expose kids to it they become immune

to the allergy now if you're risk averse

you never let a kid anywhere near a

peanut and the end result is they all

have peanut allergies

in other words risk aversion creates

risk it doesn't cure risk if you can't

talk about radicalization you will get

radicalization so being risk-averse

is a self-destructive trait to have

and the end result is that you have to

have sufficient trust in people to

realize that if you tell them something

that's difficult they can handle it and

therefore you should be averse to risk



thank you very much for the talk the the

idea of that people individuals are very

lonely and reaching out for a grander we

really resonated with me

but what about when some of those we

communities are built on hatred or on

irrationality as I would think that you

know some of the identity politics

around supporters of Donald Trump in the

States for instance are built around

hatred as a common we and how would you

respond to people who build community in

those things it's a really really good


and I'm embarrassed to say I wrote a

book about it not in God's name in which

I argue that our group is myths is the

source of a great deal of comfort and

strength but it's also a source of

conflict and hatred it really is and

that's why it's terribly important

always to go for the largest possible we

right in other words the simplest way I

put it is the team is always bigger than

the player but the game is bigger than

the team yeah so we're all part of teams

it could be the white supremacist team

or whatever you know it's very very

important to realize the game is bigger

than the team when you lose sight of the

game the end result is you have a lot of

teams that turn into hostile tribes now

it so happens that we have lost a sense

of national identity we have an America


I was astonished to discover that

America had I was given an award in in

Kennedy Center in Washington and I made

a little speech about how America does

identity so much better than Britain

does because America tells the American

story you just walk around Washington

and you can't fail to see it you know

have you ever walked around Washington

you see the memorials you know what what

what it says on the Lincoln Memorial the

Lincoln Memorial one on one wall the

Gettysburg Address on the other wall the

second inaugural you go to the Jefferson

Memorial that Apollonian Greek theater

and you've got screeds of text you look

at the Roosevelt Memorial has got six

chambers for the six decades in which

was in public life and in each case the

key sentences from those decades and

that is you know we have nothing to fear

except fear itself etc etc the Martin

Luther King memorial which has more than

a dozen quotes from from Martin Luther

King brilliant brilliant things so in

Washington memorials are something you

read you go to Parliament Square in

London do you know how many words on the

Statue for David Lloyd George three

David Lloyd George

Nelson Mandela gates to Nelson Amanda

Churchill who wrote some of the most

unforgettable sentences in all of

literature one Churchill that's it

then in London monuments to something

you see in Washington monuments to

something you read because they tell a

story the American story so I said in

Washington you tell the story and we

don't and so you got a stronger identity

when I got down from the stage they all

came up to me and said we used to tell

the story we've stopped telling it why

because you no sense of national shame

about treatment of indigenous peoples

nor the rest it's not not wrong to have

that shame but you have to tell the

story indeed I don't know if you've seen

this but a brilliant guy from a Puerto

Rican family called lin-manuel Miranda

showed us a new way of telling the

national story completely in a musical

called Hamilton you know we don't have

an English equivalent of that but

Hamilton is a brilliant way of casting

against type ethnically and religiously

and using music that's blend a bit a lot

of rap music there yeah so as soon as

America stopped telling the story it

lost the game and all it had was teams

and that's when you got identity

politics which is bad politics it's

politics of one minority against another

and so you had the Democrats taking off

their boxes you know and then you had

Donald Trump's supporters taking off the

disenfranchised male inhabitants of the

flyover States in other words you lose

that national story you are gonna get

society crumbling from within into

hostile try

and that's a bad place to be

I've been arguing for years now for

years for a way of telling the British

story and it's doable and you know who

did it

Danny Boyle in the 2012 you remember the

opening ceremony of the London Olympics

he showed what it is to be British that

the hundred ways of showing it but he

showed it could be done with panache and

with humour and so on because without it

we see brexit splitting the country into

two and we forget what are we doing this

for and who are we so I think your

questions is a really really good

question but it's a soluble one and we

must solve it without ever forgetting

the distinction made by George Orwell

between patriotism and nationalism

nationalism is dangerous have nothing to

do with it but patriotism pride in who

we are without putting down other

nations and other cultures that is

something real something important and

that is the greater way

thank you so much for joining us tonight

Jonathan Sacks