UNDER the TREE: A Seminar on Freedom

Episode # 30: Hearing the Voices of Witness

There’s a vast delusional gulf between the world as it is, and the world as each one of us thinks it is. I’m not being negative or accusatory, but simply stating the obvious: here we go, mistaking our self-constructed little world for the whole wide world. If you believe emphatically enough that the world of your perception and mental construction is in fact the whole wide world, and if you’re willing to act with full force upon that misperception—well, god help us all. Arrogance and self-righteousness, bossiness and obnoxiousness, authoritarianism, autocracy, fascism, and more. What to do? We start by recognizing the obstacle, and continuing to wonder, reflect, discuss, debate, and keep on wondering. We can talk to strangers, and assume that everyone we meet is a three-dimensional creature, just like ourselves.  We can learn to listen to other voices, and we can attune ourselves to ambiguity, doubt, skepticism, agnosticism, and uncertainty—always willing to question, and question, and then question some more. To help us along the way, we’re joined in conversation by two dazzling teachers, writers, activists, and Oral Historians, Cliff Mayotte and Claire Kiefer from Voice of Witness, editors of Say it Forward: A Guide to Social Justice Storytelling.

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