David Brooks is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic Monthly and writes an opinion column for The New York Times. He is a regular commentator on National Public Radio and the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer. His book, Bobos in Paradise, looked at the bourgeois Bohemians of upscale America. His newest book, On Paradise Drive, looks at Americans' spiritual drive to create paradise on earth. Brooks spoke recently at Seattle Pacific University's Greater Seattle Community Breakfast. We thank the University for the opportunity to speak to Brooks.
You have this phrase, "We used to talk about knowing thyself, now it's over-rating thyself," and that is only possible in isolation.
We're all the lords of self-esteem. We talk about diversity a lot, but our own lives, I think we all don't honor them too much. Human beings are really good at finding people like themselves and moving into neighborhoods. When people find there are people like themselves moving into a place, they move in there.
We live in little clustered worlds. And we can reinforce that by getting in little media clusters where everything we hear or watch or read reinforces our basic view of the world.
You also talk about a town that had a parade but no place to hold it because there was no center of the town.
All through our history, human history, we've lived around a center, or a harbor, or a port, or a factory. In New England villages there's always a town square. But you drive through much of American suburbia, there's no center. Everybody has their own centers. They go to their own school, their own church, their own soccer field. But there's no one place where the whole community can go together.
The one common theme ...1