The partisan divide in the United States has widened to a chasm. Legislators vote on party lines and rarely cross the aisle. Political polarization is personal too—and it is making us miserable. Surveys show that Americans have become more fearful and hateful of supporters of the opposing political party and imagine that they hold much more extreme views than they actually do. We have cordoned ourselves off; we prefer to date and marry those with similar opinions and are less willing to spend time with people on the other side.
How can we loosen the grip of this toxic polarization and start working on our most pressing problems? The Way Out offers an escape from this morass, a guide to breaking free from the cycle of mutual contempt in order to better our lives, relationships, and country.
Peter Coleman explores how conflict resolution and complexity science provide guidance for dealing with seemingly intractable political differences. Deploying the concept of attractors in dynamical systems, he explains why we are stuck in this rut as well as the unexpected ways that deeply entrenched oppositions can and do change.
Coleman meticulously details principles and practices for navigating and healing the difficult divides in our homes, workplaces, and communities, blending compelling personal accounts from his years of working on entrenched conflicts with lessons from leading-edge research.
Peter T. Coleman is professor of psychology and education at Columbia University, where he holds a joint appointment at Teachers College and the Earth Institute and directs two research centers. In addition to recently published The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization, he is the author of Making Conflict Work: Navigating Disagreement Up and Down Your Organization and The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts, among other books.
Presider: Leader Nori Rost
Shared Charity: West Side Federation for Senior and Supported Housing
Sunday Platform is our most important and long-standing community event. These gatherings educate, stimulate personal growth, inspire reflection and action, and strengthen our community. Sunday meetings usually begin with music, followed by greetings and a talk given by a Society Leader, member, or guest. Platforms cover a variety of topics that reflect current events, pressing social issues, and Ethical Culture philosophy. A collection basket is passed and money is shared between the Society and a charity selected for that day. While contributions are always appreciated, Sunday meetings are free and open to the public. Each Sunday meeting is followed by a luncheon and social hour.