California, Where Whatever You Do, You Will Be Wrong

We're All in This Together—But Please, Keep Your Distance

Our politics may be paranoid, our society may be paralyzed, our police may be irredeemable, and our skies may be on fire, but don’t fear! At least we Californians can see clearly how to navigate all our crises.

We Californians are fortunate that we receive so much guidance, official and unofficial, about how to respond to these emergencies. All we have to do is follow it. Which is easy-peasy, if you are broad-minded (and we do have a reputation for being broad-minded).

For starters, go outside. You must avoid the indoors, because …

Is Forgiveness the Basis of a Healthy Democracy?

An Iranian Philosopher Posits That Only Absolving Others of Blame Can Open Dialogue and Rebuild Decency

Why do we have such difficulty thinking about forgiveness? Read the news on any day and you’ll find stories of war, injustices present and past, and attacks on democracy. It’s …

The Austrian Philosopher Who Showed That Words Can Spark Humanism—or Barbarism

Ludwig Wittgenstein Saw Language as a "Game," and Whoever Makes the Rules Holds the Power

Ludwig Wittgenstein, the Austrian-British philosopher and logician, famously coined the term “language-game”—a term meant, as he writes in his Philosophical Investigations (1953), “to bring into prominence the fact that the …

Why America Should Be Bullish About Wall Street

A Dynamic Stock Market Fuels a More Open Society

You should be celebrating the fact that the stock market is soaring.

Yes, I’m talking to you, even if you are not a trust fund baby—make that especially if you are …

Can We Close the Empathy Gap?

Sixth Annual Zócalo Book Prize Winner Sherry Turkle Thinks We Can Learn How to Talk—and Connect—Again as Humans

Zócalo Publisher Gregory Rodriguez said he was terrified as he opened a discussion onstage at MOCA Grand Avenue with MIT’s Sherry Turkle.

It wasn’t, however, because he was moderating in …

To Start Talking, Stop Texting

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

Text messages can make us feel constantly connected to the people we care about. But texting, and the ubiquitous presence of our phones, can also have the opposite effect. Who …