Show Notes

How Feeling Unseen Perpetuates Polarization

In this episode, host Wilk Wilkinson is joined by New York Times columnist, political commentator and best-selling author David Brooks to discuss the issue of societal disconnection and its consequences. They explore the rise of loneliness, sadness, and hostility in modern communities, as well as the damaging effects of siloing and othering. The conversation touches on topics such as the rural-urban divide, the feeling of invisibility, and the power of storytelling in fostering empathy. They also discuss the polarization in politics and the role of emotions in shaping people's beliefs and actions. The conversation explores the themes of political anger, personal stories, moral formation, and community building. In response to a question from David, Wilk shares his personal experience of feeling angry and disillusioned during the Obama administration and his own feelings about the 2016 election. David goes on to emphasize the importance of storytelling and understanding others' perspectives to depolarize conversations. They discuss the decline of moral formation in society and the need for kindness and consideration in interpersonal relationships. Brooks introduces the organization Weave, which supports local community leaders called 'weavers' who work to build social connections and trust. David also mentions Braver Angels as being one of the greatest examples today of a "Weaver Organization".


  • Societal disconnection is a pressing issue that leads to loneliness, sadness, and hostility in communities.
  • The rural-urban divide and the feeling of invisibility contribute to the sense of disconnection.
  • Polarization in politics is fueled by siloing and othering, where people only engage with those who think alike.
  • Emotions play a significant role in shaping people's beliefs and actions, often leading to voting based on hate or anger rather than policy. Political anger can stem from feeling unheard or misrepresented by the government.
  • Storytelling and understanding others' perspectives can help depolarize conversations.
  • Moral formation and the practice of kindness and consideration are essential for a healthy society.
  • Weave is an organization that supports local community leaders who work to build social connections and trust.


Who is David Brooks?

David Brooks is a columnist for The New York Times and a contributor to The Atlantic. He is a commentator on “The PBS Newshour." His latest book is “How To Know A Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen.” His previous three books were “The Second Mountain,” “The Road to Character,” and “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement,” all #1 New York Times bestsellers. Mr. Brooks has taught at Yale and Duke and now teaches at the University of Chicago. He has received over 30 honorary degrees from American universities and is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. 


Learn more about and connect with David Brooks online:

Follow him on Twitter @nytdavidbrooks

Learn more about Weave: The Social Fabric Project


What have you done today to make your life a better life? What have you done today to make the world a better place? The world is a better place if we are better people. That begins with each of us as individuals. Be kind to one another. Be grateful for everything you’ve got. Make each and every day the day that you want it to be!

Please follow The Derate The Hate podcast on:

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter(X) , YouTube

Subscribe to us wherever you enjoy your audio or directly from our site. Please leave us a rating and feedback on Apple podcasts or other platforms. Not on social media? You can share your thoughts or request Wilk for a speaking engagement on our site’s contact page: DerateTheHate.com/Contact

If you would like to support the show, you’re welcome to DONATE or shop Amazon by going through our Support Us page and I’ll earn through qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Comments & Upvotes