Be A Weaver, Not A Ripper

Be A Weaver, Not A Ripper

As the pandemic continues, Dr. Hallowell checks in with listeners and encourages everyone to put aside differences and come together to get thru this. Be a “weaver,” as David Brooks put it in his recent NY Times op-ed.

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Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Episode image by ATC Comm Photo from Pexels

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A transcript of this episode can be found below.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. In our series of what we’ve been calling mental health updates as this pandemic roles on day after day, week after week, and I wanted today to talk about a very upbeat note in a very downbeat era. It was stirred in me by David Brooks’s op-ed in the New York Times on Friday, May 1st where Brooks talked about, in the world there are weavers and there are rippers. Weavers are people who, no matter what, are always trying to make something good out of whatever’s going on, and then the rippers are the people who delight in tearing things apart and dividing us. Brooks was saying the good thing about this pandemic is the weavers are winning. It suggested to me what I’ve been feeling, and I bet almost all of you have been feeling, that, enough of this hatred, enough of this division, enough of this ripping. Let’s start weaving.

Let’s start taking this disastrous situation and letting it be the watershed moment. Just as Kent State was a watershed moment, let’s let this period, this pandemic be a watershed moment of us coming together. Enough of this blue state/red state, enough of this good guy/bad guy, enough of this white and black and no gray zone in between. Let’s unite. Let’s be weavers, to use David Brooks’ wonderful term, and let the day of the ripper be gone. I’m quoting now from his op-ed. “If you want to be there at one harbinger of the new world, I suggest you tune into the call to unite, a 24-hour global stream-a-thon, which starts Friday,” that was last Friday, May 1st, “at 8:00 PM, in various digital platforms. It was created by Tim Shriver and the organization Unite. There will be appearances by world leaders, musicians, religious leaders, actors, philosophers, everybody from Oprah and George W. Bush to Yoyo Ma and the emotion scholar Mark Bracket.”

He goes on to say, “When the stream-a-thon was first being organized,” and he said he played an extremely minor role, “the idea was to let the world give itself a group hug. But, as the thing evolved, it became clear that people are not only reflecting on the current pain, they’re also eager to build a different future. If you tune in, you’ll see surprising layers of depth and vulnerability. You’ll see people hungering for,” in caps, “THE GREAT RESET, the idea that we have to identify 10 unifying ideas like national service and focus energy around them. Americans have responded to this with more generosity and solidarity than we had any right to expect.” That, to me, just, it’s so wonderful, the call to unite on But, I think there’ll be many more similar efforts, platforms, but I think we’re all feeling this.

Isn’t this what we’ve been hungering for? Been trying to find a way to come together to create, and it’s terrible that it took a pandemic and it took, what are we now, about 70,000 deaths to get us to this point. But, I do think the rippers, it’s time for them to go rip somewhere else and let the weavers weave together the kind of connectedness, the kind of tapestry, the kind of well knit society that we really want. That’s who we are as a country. We’re a country of very disparate, different off-beat, out of place, out of whack folks, but we unite around the common theme of togetherness, of freedom, of the right for everyone to be whoever they are. The day of ripping and hating, we don’t have time for that. Life truly is fleeting, as we’ve been seeing, and what we do want, every single one of us I am convinced, deep within our soul, deep within our heart is to love one another, or at least to like one another.

We can’t love one another, that’s too tall of an order. But, we can treat each other as if we loved one another. We can treat each other as if we were loving each other, and then we can call upon ourselves to like each other. Anyone can like someone who was just like you, but it takes a special person to like someone who’s pretty different. But, that’s what we weavers are all about. We weave a way to bring people together. My hope for you today, echoing David Brooks and echoing, I think, probably all of you, is let’s come together. Let’s put the rippers to route and let them go rip each other if they must. But, let’s us set about weaving, and if any of you are rippers and want to join us, please do. Become a weaver and weave the connected, harmonious, loving society that all of us really want. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell for Distraction.

Share your thoughts, questions, and show ideas by emailing us at [email protected]. We love hearing from you. We often devote entire shows to your questions, your comments, and certainly we create shows around the ideas you send us. So, please, we’re a growing and building community. We would love to hear from you. Be a weaver and come to us. [email protected]. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the illustrious and incredibly literate Pat Keogh, and our producer is the constantly creative, always coming up with new ideas Sarah Guertin.


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