Why Heart of a Nation?
“This is the business we’ve chosen.” — Hyman Roth to Michael Corleone, The Godfather, Part 2
By Rabbi Irwin Kula for Heart of a Nation
The hard stuff — by which I mean new thinking that is upstream from daily politics — requires investment of time, and social, intellectual, relational, and financial capital. All of us need to be very honest, however smart we are: our ideologies/solutions are not sufficient to the challenges we face. We need to invest in people across the liberal/progressive divides — and even include some people from the right — who start with the painful assumption that their own takes/conceptualizations are flawed and are committed to collaborate to develop new understandings of the challenges and emergent solutions.
This intellectual work will need to draw on areas that present thought leaders in this space do not draw on — psychology, evolutionary theory, complexity theory, literary theory, neuroscience. At present almost all the thinking on these issues draws on political science or political philosophy. This work is difficult and we do not simply come up with fully developed ideas. The intellectual process itself is emergent with most of the early work actually getting at the right questions and applying new lenses to the issues. The writing can happen individually or jointly and needs to be put out in the world as thinking in progress. And given the polarization in our culture, people will need to be protected at least a little bit. In fact, if the writing does not produce new mixes and blends and does not challenge conventional thinking — including our own — it will not be important. Think about how much investment there is in conventional liberal, progressive, and right wing analysis let alone Hasbara. And think how little R&D investment there is in new thinking.
And I can also make an argument that the relationship between ideas and actions is actually unclear and the most important investment is in cultivating and nurturing new webs of relationships between people who create facts on the ground… and ideas will follow.
Rabbi Irwin Kula is on the Advisory Committee of Heart of a Nation. He is a 7th generation Rabbi and a disruptive social innovator who serves as President of CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. For information about Heart of a Nation visit: heartofanation.io