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Keynote: Priya Parker with Anand Giridharadas | SXSW 2021

Anand Giridharadas
Author, Winners Take All
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SXSW 2021
March 20, 2021, Online, Austin, USA
SXSW 2021
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Keynote: Priya Parker with Anand Giridharadas | SXSW 2021
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About speakers

Anand Giridharadas
Author, Winners Take All
Priya Parker
Author

Anand Giridharadas is the author of The True American (soon to be a feature film), India Calling, and New York Times best seller Winners Take All. He was a foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times from 2005 to 2016, and has also written for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The New Republic. He is a former McKinsey analyst, an Aspen Institute fellow, a visiting scholar at New York University, an on-air political analyst for NBC News, and has spoken on the main stage of TED. His writing has been honored by the Society of Publishers in Asia, the Poynter Fellowship at Yale, and the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Award.

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Priya Parker is helping us take a deeper look at how anyone can create collective meaning in modern life, one gathering at a time. She is a master facilitator, strategic advisor, acclaimed author of The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters, and executive producer and host of the New York Times podcast, Together Apart. Trained in the field of conflict resolution, Parker has worked on race relations on American college campuses and on peace processes in the Arab world, southern Africa, and India. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and two children.

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About the talk

Priya Parker is helping us take a deeper look at how anyone can create collective meaning in modern life, one gathering at a time. She is a master facilitator, strategic advisor, acclaimed author of The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters, and executive producer and host of the New York Times podcast, Together Apart. Trained in the field of conflict resolution, Parker has worked on race relations on American college campuses and on peace processes in the Arab world, southern Africa, and India. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and two children.


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Hi everyone. Thank you so much. Who I am so excited to be here, interviewing? A very special guests. Like me is here, literally all the time. My wife Priya Parker, brilliant. All Star conflict, resolution, facilitator, and gatherers. So you have dedicated your working life to the question of how people come together and how they come apart. Because I'm your husband, as well as a close reader of your work. I know why you do that work. But can you talk about how your family background and early life prepared? You to be

the queen of gathering? The first, thank you for saying yes to interviewing me today and you considered a lot of other people are children. You know, I think like so many people. My work is deeply influenced by the way that I was raised in my experience as a young person and I do know I'm bi-racial bicultural, I have a mother who is Indian from the north and white American father and from Iowa and they were for the first twelve years of their marriage. The other source of Adventure every two years and pick up and move to another country.

I we went in the Maldives and Indonesia in India and back to the States and within a year, they, they separated and within two years, they divorced. And within three years, they, each remarried other people as And they adorable down and double down in a way that each one basket. Kind of the worlds that they originally came from, and I'm the only child and they have joint custody. Every two weeks, I will go back and forth and it was and still is a leaving my mother. And stepfather is home a Indian British goodest

vegetarian atheist or agnostic unhelpful Days, Inn landmark forum, e family. And I would travel 1.4 miles to my father and Stepmother's home and it was and still is a white American Evangelical, Christian Conservative, Republican twice a week, church-going climate, Skeptics family, and I was a part of both my name as you know, is pre up Parker and and a huge part of my, the way I was raised was literally every two weeks going back and forth between To

creative realities often denied. Each other's truth and I don't know your middle name is 1.4 miles actually and I've always been interested in why we come together and why we come apart and and in a sense because every two weeks, I had to almost very, very different ways to start dinner ways to have people over ways, to celebrate ways to Mark waste morn. I knew that there wasn't just one way to be and, and I became a group conflict resolution. I want to get into all that but I want to actually flash flash forward to a year ago. Things are a little more than a year

ago. Things are you know, what they are but they're not this and you're dedicated your life to this question of gathering. And then suddenly a pandemic hits. You remember the moment when you realized oh gosh, this thing that is my thing in the world is about to die. I started noticing that the word Gathering which is a word out there, but not often a lot of headlines was taking a lot of think I saw it. Like, I started seeing Gatherings cancelled governor of Washington

limiting size of gatherings. Like, all of this discourse that often public policy officials, the CDC arguing about the size of gatherings, which is usually the domain of like, nerdy facilitators and sociologists arguing about group size, all of a sudden, like arguing about public house and and becoming dangerous, buddy legal. And I think the moment that I started to realize that this is going to be huge and all of us was actually watching the, the fight, the argument tension about South by Southwest canceling or not. Like, I remember reading those headlines, I remember watching like the

standoff between the City of Austin and the organizers of South by Southwest basically debating like, As a facilitator who has the authority to cancel something with such high-stakes if it's like your people calculating, the local, Austin budget and how it was no good. The economy bump 50 million dollars from South by Southwest and you cancel this thing and when they finally called it that was the moment. And then also the NBA being canceled that was when I started to realize, that's the way that the ways in which we have been coming together for a very long time. We're going to

be massively massively interrupted. I remember that also last year, but I will say for, you know, people who know the way to Texas history is something nice about the fact that it was at least a non-violent standoff, which is interesting, twists for Texas. So What did you do when you realized that people were about to go through a very long spell? A fun Gathering. Did you just Did your first reaction, guess imma take the next year off. I guess, I've nothing to offer these people or did you think there was a way

to help people on gather the way you dedicated yourself to helping them gather? You know, I as a facilitator, the way I think about my work is I am somebody who understand how to help, or who tries to help a group despite significant obstacles. And my training is often those obstacles could be erased or power or gender or different Visions in a company. And I realize that some of that not being able to come together physically, in person is a significant obstacles to meaningful connection and into. The first thing I did

was fortunately, I'm not tied to the, for the Gathering is called, the are gathering and that was a bit awkward. And I also understood exactly Time I was working on a podcast with, in your times that was supposed to be called was supposed to be called Gathering. We had 4 6, 4 9 months, our team had like rides with voice memo app turned on walking into the audio of their weddings, ready till about to practice, like, a different way of getting married.

We had we had like audio teams, going through school re-imaginings or Galas to have them more Equitable and, but had lunch yet and it's a producer called me and texted me that we can, he said a show about a show called Gathering Is now going to sound like a horror film. We have to pause, we have to stop the meaning of this word is is completely different over the course of 5 days. You have to stop. And, and I remember talking to you, we went on a walk and I, but I noticed that in my inbox in my DMs and my like

Instagram is that called the end. Also getting a lot of, I'm still getting a lot of questions to questions were turning go in the question for things like we planned our wedding to last three years is supposed to be in two months. Do we cancel it? Do we do it on the teachers asking like how do I teach virtually? How do I connect with my students when when I can't physically touch? And so we paused and I and I realized we still need to figure out how to meaningfully navigate together and we will be coming together, just not physically, how do we actually do this? And

so, We coming in and we launched a podcast live in a distributed team called together apart every episode. Answering one person's question about how to navigate this moment in a way with a group that you care about when you can't all be in the same room. So so here's one thing I wanted to do for the good people listening to this. I think it's been such a year like a head down year of just trying to figure out. What's the next thing in front of you, just trying to get through the day, just trying to get through the week, just trying to do your

job, feed your children, whatever it is. And this year's eventually going to take a lot of processing. Cultural processing. Like, what is it that we really live through. What is it that we did? How did we change? I would think about it. So I wonder if we can just go to like a, like a lightning round up, some of the cultural phenomenon, shared cultural phenomenon of this year. And if you can kind of helped, give us the first draft of gathering histories as we goes, I want to start with the 7 p.m. hot clanking in New York City

for First Responders. Of course, they were versions of this around the world. What do you, what do you make of the meaning of that, kind of phenomenon and things like it in this past year? 7 p.m. ranking was a interesting Lee. It was actually started by a PR firm, it was ends and Amanda house. And I actually took videos, you can still see them in the West Village in, the Upper West Side in Brooklyn, all at 8 like massively at 7 p.m. walk out in Brooklyn.

People would play like cello the base snow base on their, porches on it became a viral sensation and the well beyond the pennant in part because it hit a collective need. And what that, that moment was every evening was a collective mechanism to help people named face process acknowledge this chaotic scary moment. And as I watched it, In part because I think particular in the US we are so like resistance to an idea of like anyting Collective at the same time, I think

we're like a couple drinks way from communism as a facilitator. It was one of the healthiest expressions of a of a daily ritual. I spoke with people as they as they come across as the day today and they said it was it's a way to end the work day when there's actually no commute home. It's a way to Ashley exit when there are no more packages are cars to get in a car to get out. It's a way to come out and see, even though I'm in my head or on my computer, oh my goodness, I have neighbors all around me. And many people who don't actually

didn't know their neighbors, ahead of time to actually visit visibly physically have a moment in time to be together but with a purpose and it's remember the clanking was it wasn't just thinking it was planking to think First Responders And and so there was a social contract every evening again. And again to say thank you that was grounded in gratitude. And so, and to even sociologically original does grounded in gratitude. All of this research shows basically, helps us build resilience, helps us build Collective will and for the First Responders coming home helps us. Help them know

that they are being seen Zoom. So many of us spent so much time on Zoom this past year at no one, no one feels good having stuff, but it, it happened. I wonder how you process that kind of cultural meaning of Zoom as it evolved from this kind of friend, you think of something everybody was doing in the cultural practices of gathering that you saw the developing in it on it. Zoom, zoom kind of as a verb as a technology but fill in the synonym of whether it's in a Microsoft

teams are sky, but Zoom kind of is I don't really use is Microsoft. Microsoft teams has not at the most commented-on too. Many of these Technologies are rapidly trying to figure out what they're for. And because and zoom like, so many Technologies was not created for all of the use cases. That was demanded of it over the last 12 months, right? It was really a workplace, kind of a place for formal me and people have used it for choir practice which they discovered quite early. That the way that the algorithm was built with not imagining that people would want to hear each other at the same time

and put the mic chooses which word, and it almost sounds like switched with screens and prioritize in a narwhal, sounds like a solo. I think we've used it for funerals. We've used it for a wedding. So you and I have attended multiple weddings on. We use it for meeting conferences for interview, and I think a couple of things I think, overall Zoom is not a place. That sounds kind of fun is like, Zoom is not a place, isn't, it's a contest with place, there's a little bit of context, the

squares, the exits, the room enter the room, but it's placed from a facilitators i in which you as the type of people have to create the context, you don't have a door to come in. So you don't have almonds on the table, you don't have music playing. You don't have a decision to choose which chairs to sit in the front of the wrong person, in the back of the room person. And so I think a couple of things one is as I think about the year in review it's really hard to hide a bad meeting on Zoom because there's no distractions, right?

I like the great chocolate covered almonds in the middle of the table or by like grabbing the person. I actually want to talk to you on the way out of the room, I like to do the 25-minute bathroom break in a bad meeting. When you can sort of like you and like to chat with him still here but it's really hard to hide a bad meeting. And so I think one of the things that happen quickly for a lot of companies and organizations is like it revealed bad meeting without them

for actually made much more explicit. I remember reading an article early on about how mansplaining was actually even more pronounce on him because the way that I could just get fired, if you don't like, just get in there. Zoom is not going to help you get in there. So, but what is it good for? I think it's overall. It's like, decent for a formal structured conversations. It's, it's kind of mimics, Robert's Rules of Order. There's elements where I've heard from

diplomats and facilitators, we're actually in store. Context of a lot of hierarchy, where's The Equalizer in the breakout rooms with snow can be created but you need to be able to do it well and and learn like how do you create a doorway? How do you how do you enter the space? How do you exit? What is really bad for is spontaneity in for Melody. And actually in my field conflict, it's really hard to have like productive healthy tense conversation because it's easier to exit, right? You don't have the different mechanisms of like

everyone's in here together and and so I think that as a as an entire technology if it blew up at a moment where it had enough bandwidth and infrastructure for us to use it and now there's a lot of companies trying to solve a lot of its problem, what good use case I will mention that were in together is that we start taking an improv class and I wasn't Do you think would be bad on Zoom? But that could turns out to be great on sewing. It's a class with friends of ours from across the country who would never otherwise take the class with an

extra because you can turn off that video, you can just get it fixed. Today. I'm actually surprising things that are good. Open to we've been to weddings on zoom and they're somewhat is it the same technology and there's some weddings and I some of this is my research is not my friend but there's some weddings with a chat is totally silent like violence and you're just watching. You're watching two people get married and there's other weddings where the chat is like a peanut gallery and a baseball game and like church and people are laughing at us shouting at each other

and a huge part of that is how the whole set up the contact for the first few minutes. It'll beloved cousin like something in and so you can have the same category done really well or done in a way that feels like you're watching a show another Define anything of this year that in some ways was separate and apart from the pandemic, another wave intersected with it was black lives matter protests last summer and onward. Do you think? They were a historical event that happened because of George. Floyd breonna Taylor, an Ahmad Arbury another

cases. But do you think they unfolded the way they did or have the galvanizing targeted? Because of the plague year we were in Yes. And I'm speaking with activists who are part of those movements? They would agree, you know, I think it's a combination of both six months. However long it was eight months of people in quarantine and end end and actually not the danger of coming into physical public. Space wasn't worth it somewhere and I think that the specifically, the consulates around in the

attention around everybody's at home like watching their screens, the murder of George. Floyd was a individual and Collective calculation that this is worth putting myself In Harm's Way for, right? It's almost like this is worth going out onto the streets for and, and there was a, there was a collective Focus moment that then that the end end many years building up to it. This is already a very successful movement but as a friend of mine, said to me, if I don't go out on the streets for this than what like what

is my body for. I'm on a very different note sea shanties. That was another kind of collaborative Tik-Tok things have been various versions of it but we make of the sea shanties phenomenon disease like Collective artistic things. This year I love, you know, I would like to play the sea shanties on YouTube on, repeat in our car, for our children. Like me and our children would like singing an NSYNC song Hum the song again and again and again and I think one of the reasons why that like I think of him as Nation Evans

Elementary song to thaw. One is like, it's like a very simple notes and a very simple beats that anyone can learn, it's in the form of a collective song, like, what is a shanty? What is a sea chantey? It was, it was a song that people sing Passing the time when they were in passage and when I saw the sea shanty, in particular of the remix thing of our first, Nathan Evans and then like, eventually people all over the world and like a cat and then like an electronic DJ like introducing the different beat to the song. It was this

Collective moments of Tamia saying like we're passing together like it's a song if you like hunting music. It's a very old tooth and it's a promise of like one day when the weather man come you know they'll bring us sugar and tea and rum is so it's like this. It is felt to me like a collective moment of like singing and marking time together in a way that still like Tik-Tok allows allowed people to express their, they're like wide interpretations of this one. Simple Collective expression of being together in a passage and waiting for

Like future promise. In your work. You've a very clear that Gathering is a morally neutral tool like the internet or a spoon. It can be used by bad people by the people for bad for good. An awesome, the bad guys are better at it. I'll send the bad guys. Actually, when you think about the worst movements in history often involved, real Gathering intelligence, I think about January 6th another Cancel event of the Year, gone by that Insurrection. And you said, I think that Trump understood gathering in a way too many good people in American public life is not you talk about Trump

as Gathering may be with people who are on the other side of that, kind of politics need to learn about Gathering. So I'll just a gathering is a tool, it sits and I do find a gathering at anytime 3 or more people come together with a purpose for the beginning. Middle and end isn't it's an event? And well before January 6, I'll just be Tangled Series 6, and, and Donald Trump, like, back in 2016. I remember saying to you, Trump understands Gathering his rallies were like 10 revivals. And I'm not the first one to say that. Like,

Watching exit, interviews leaving Trump rallies and people saying like, I don't know, just something happens, right? There's this expression of emotion of ice of identity, the hats like physical symbols or rituals of actually like wearing a tribal artifacts of standing in line of having an out proof, right? Like the press behind and actually, having at the focus of a threat. They are not us. We are not. And I think. And as we were you, as we were preparing for the top selection, looking at the different candidates and looking at, you know, how beyond that

you don't create Gathering is not an intellectual sport, right? It's a way of coming together, ideally, by the form that of gathering you change people, people leave change, they leave feeling hope they leave intellectually, but physiologically, emotionally people experience. That's what I, that's what America should be. Yo man I got to be a diverse group of people committed, fiercely to pluralism doing something else. But part of what I'm looking at something else and I think Trump as a as a gatherer and cheese, understood had a host how to create how to respond

and it's almost like watching a really good comedian interact with an audience. You know, there's a there's a flow between host and guest as there should be but it can be used for for all ask. Why do you think it is? Someone like Trump who is so misanthropic hate Humanity wants to you know frankly like is going to make the lives of everybody even in his own rallies worse. Why is someone like that even able to do that? Whereas people want to bring people to get into politics, has a politics of bringing people together but off and don't create a Goosebumps 3 rally, don't you know? It's

it's like wonky and it's like the policy. No one has no feelings strategy. I think it's because meaning lies and specificity and and rituals that are really powerful 10 to historically. Come from groups that believe the same thing that dress in the same way that spray the same God that you the same food. So that when the Red Thread is tied around your left wrist, you know, in Southern India, everyone burst into tears and the understand what the Red Thread means of it, and I think part of The Challenge on the left and then I need modern diverse Society is

that were afraid of offending each other and so you don't have any you're like not we need to actually reinvent. Modern ritual is around values, not around you race, or it or specific religion and and it's a huge opportunity to do. You have to be okay with like deeply thinking about who are we? And how do we actually create rituals around who we want to be? We don't actually have it till they need to be invented in creative. That's a Big Lots. So what's the modern version of crafting? The Joe Biden Rally or the

Kamala Harris or Pete buttigieg or Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders rally of the future or past? What could they do? That is not chest-thumping, tribal nationalism chauvinism but that would make people feel those kind of feelings and then they don't do right now. So I think the DNC this year was a good example of, of some of this in practice, I was very impressed by the ritual DNC. It was set up to be like I would think totally awkward stale. Conservatives like safe and the policy, and if you think about like the

roll-call write the roll-call, which was an event existed in all other dnc's, where are people? I mean, I don't even know what how do, you know what state you're in. Remember, what they actually did was that they each state got a moment number. The calamari Road, Rhode, Island, Alaska, Wyoming. And each person uses like a person. Or I will never forget to smile. I think Montana's like it's really hard to participate things. When your Wi-Fi is that, I like 8-day

reinvented a ritual that everybody where they were in the state, you could see how complicated a country is. Each person got a moment to say who they were and it visually. But yet, it was a beautiful image of like, how improbable it is. That we are a country. Wonder what? You get escaping from the lightning round. Now, what you? What You observe some of the most interesting experiments that people engaged in this year? When they couldn't gather over the head together

differently, what what are the newest, strangest, things, particular things that may actually outlive this year. If I was one of the first ones were, people were like, whoa. What is happening was exactly a year ago. This weekend was Dean Isis. Like DJ set notification today that he's now doing a 24-hour like anniversary. DJ set, Taylor mask style right now, starting, starting this weekend. So, that moment was at some point. A hundred thousand people who entered the Instagram room and

fungus, but there was a, but Janet Jackson was Michelle, Obama made an appearance, Bernie Sanders, apparently meeting as soon as Mark Zuckerberg main experience than someone just like you should buy a run about round of beers. Right? And and and and and and the nice was reacting in real-time like See his head, kind of exploding Jackson came in and he's, like, freaking out and he stops. And he likes plays Janet Jackson concert for me as to honor this, honor his guests and so that it was fascinating because it was a simultaneous example

of both know anyone to access this Democratic space while still having actually a sense of like a Velvet Rope in the sense that like, it was a weird beautiful Democratic experience of exclusion and inclusion simultaneously, existing, what? I mean, it's cool, isn't it? It's like it was exclusive enough that our our or safe enough is made me a better word that our heads of state were willing to like enter for a second. And yet it, literally anyone with an internet connection to join that. That was a fascinating

experience. Second one that I will always remember us a tweet that I read Buy, I think his handle is Jimmy wrist, and the Tweet was something like last night. I experienced something that felt uniquely digitally native. I was in a party and I was in the zoom room and I ended up in the hot tub room, and everybody was sitting in their own tubs. I got home and it turned into a game of naughty Truth or Dare. And I remember seeing this tweet, like blew my mind in part, because an end in part because it was weird that

wasn't that, the zoom Jeffrey. Toobin was supposed to be on, I think he liked Christian wrong and cousin, the calendar, you can just. And and so one it was it was an experiment of of a bubble party, but but it was his idea offer that we have been thinking, we need to block out all of the life behind us. What about when appropriate centering it? And so, like, if you're a Lamaze teacher and you're all of which is which and you have couples or individuals

all over the country, like learning to give birth there. Now, actually, in their own homes right there where you can actually see where they might practice breathing, right? If you're a chef for a teacher of cooking, you can actually see people's pantries if you think about it. So I think like that are interesting. Another one that I've been really moved by is a group, I think they're now called girls track. They I learned about them in June right after white during the original Uprising, a member of its member of them told me about it at the time it was

60,000 black women and girls all across the country. What are mental health simultaneously, listening to a podcast about black female history, black women, history while walking. And I just thought, like, what are like, beautiful gorgeous collective experience in my empowering, self care in, in navigating like the dangers of being outside and moving. It also that you can synchronistically listen to a podcast with the same time. That's a good question. I want to ask you about this

right now, beyond the protest about summer rays in many ways by questions of those protests but you know, really gone beyond into every organization. Newsrooms companies universities, you actually do, public-facing work is more than Gathering but you do a lot of conflict work in your practice and a lot of this racial Reckoning work one way or another. Can you talk about what you think is happening there? People who feel like we're actually getting somewhere on the verge of this you know, exciting

mom. These are the people who feel like this is cancel culture, run, amok and usually those people are just like scared because they are on the wrong side of a lot of things. I just wonder how you think about this racial Reckoning moment. you know, I I've been I work with in some of these organizations but I also just, I just like wash in the news what's happening with organizations around the country. And there's there's a pattern that I've seen that in those first two weeks after George Floyd's murder there. There were a number

basically, it was what I would call a triggering event. It was an event that was unignorable both as a country, but also, within organizations, family systems groups. And there was this Dynamic. I think, probably the most famous example of this is the wing, women's social club have an organization wanting to put out as a set of a statement in support of black lives and employees staff internally saying, basically, like don't do that until you get your house cleaned inside, right? And and and

you read this Like this has happened in Moulton the near times. The Tom Cotton op-ed was sort of a similar moment. If you remember that, there is a decision to publish and then there and then enter black staff and other staff on Twitter. I think it was bad and dangerous. My colleagues or something like that. It was better for some internal Reckoning and I think it's a good thing. Like, I think, overall, as a facilitator, we are in a moment of National Group, family systems grappling, and grappling,

when done, well, ask the fundamental questions of like, or we wouldn't be think we are. Who has it been revealed that we actually are? And how do we go about? Fixing that and the fixing its extraordinary messy in part because this gets more to your work. Like we are the first Multicultural multi-race democracy in history and inventions answers. And so I think it's extraordinary Li messy, but I think that there are these moments that that it's not like what would happen with CLM is not just the protest and not just a memory of

the protest. It is fundamentally shifted, the conversation that is forced facing in every level of every roof. Like in the country. One of the Status and Strange's aspect to the past year that so many people died. But died alone, suffer it, alone, died alone in some cases for buried alone because of the difficulties during funerals. And it sometimes feels like on witness those, hundreds of thousands of death work. Comparative comparative Lee Rich families have had their deaths in. Their families are collectively from the

gigantic loss of life. What have you observed that the practice of grease in this time? And what Collective? Grieving do you think we're going to still have to do once we're able to actually do everything? We are experiencing both Collective and individual levels of grief. At a level that we never at least been aware of before. And I'm in to the point where I was sort of joking earlier that the field of arguing about group buys used to be just to fill taters. And then by the public debate, like

grief, experts, which I am not are now having op-eds about the different types of grief, educating the public doesn't Issa Batory grief, right? Which is like in March and April, all the people we may lose now. There's like anniversary grief right there. All of the elements that are coming up as you get notifications of where you were one year ago and you start using the collapse of like this, you know, the pictures over two weeks and I think. So, first of all, there is expertise and wisdom in fields that exists to help us with this moment. There's groups, like

the dinner party that was started as almost a decade over ago, that just produced a PDF to help and has helped create Collective grief. what I would, I would say just overall is Like heart and facilitation Gathering ritual, the act of making the implicit explicit. So so what do I mean by that? There was a beautiful article. I think my voice has recently in Japan like 300, kilometres north of Tokyo, and if it's called the The, the wind sound of the, the phone booth of the Winds, something like that to actually originally deal

with two faced to help survivors of the 2011, and it's a phone booth in a field with a black phone, like an old-school rotary phone, and it's an unconnected line. And it's a way for people grieving the loss, the survivors grieving the loss of their loved ones to go, pick up the phone and have a conversation with those big lost. And it's a beautiful piece and end part of an end. They are now looking at that phone booth, and Brennan, and I read that people are wanting to bring it to London, to New York and other cities to deal with covid-19 part of the act of

what the process is. As you can go into a physical space, this ritual I spaced you pick up the phone and people speak to those. They've lost and I think it's their experiments happening all over the country right now to understand, how do we bring some the inside-outside to be able to face it, to be able to grieve it snow in the art of gathering. I interviewed a funeral director named Amy Cunningham is well before covid, and she said, you know, it says it's a one of the danger is is there's a trend in America that people don't want funerals. Are they want to know to be a celebration of life?

And it's a dangerous Trend and I and I asked her. Why is it in just 10? And she said, because if we do not grieve, we cannot be true. Transformed by our grief. And, and so, heart of the moment as weary as we emerge, as we re-emerged slowly is, to be able to be transformed. We all have lived just such different lives than we have before this year. And many of the new things we practice were terrible. We're just Necessities, we can't wait to get back to normal on many of those to mention some of the new things. I think people will have laid tracks for

themselves if they actually want to stay on to some extent. I think a lot of people who didn't fly a lot this year for the first time and we're flying a hundred thousand miles a year as Lydia polgreen. Recently, tweeted a year when they can assemble. I know I will cook more with the frequency that I did in the plague year than I did in Prior years, when I can while I cleaned our New York take-out options prior, and this year, like I cooked, then I kind of want to keep that. What do you think? People will keep from this year? I think that they will I think it'll be different for

each person. I think the heart of the relationship expert Esther perel talk calls. Call Vincent Our Moment Like a relationship accelerator, right? And so there was like there was a huge amount of divorces this year but there were also marriages right there is and so I think what they what they are not keep I think it. What will what actually happened was a lot of collective and individual Clarity of actually asking that question. What do we keep and what to leave behind? I know for me travel and motion is one of them. I think also as a facilitator and and a lot

of people who are in the kind of practitioner field, many of us are our minds have been changed by what can be done for actually. Can you create an action for actually can serapis to what want to keep doing virtual Caldwell after covid-19? And I think I put individual questions for each person watching you this year and watch you cooking and benefiting from that. I think also one thing and just thank you for asking Turn the tables a little bit, you watching you and you are a cultural commentator. And

I've always enjoyed watching you experiment with new forms and as an artist. And so this year, you use, watch a TV show. You also cancel all alarms and cancel it and it was cancelled or canceled TV shows of such a huge experiment with it. And now you are experimenting with playing with a 10ft as an artist than as a writer like what have you learned But will you keep until so what you're doing and how you like, I didn't think of nice houses in all three of those things in this year, but it's true. And I think, and I don't know,

I'm kind of, like, I read like, certain kinds of narrative nonfiction books when I was like, in my twenties, realize, I wanted to do that, and I think it was a year of experiments in the year of less motion, the year of less travel. I was stuck at home and able to try things. Newsletters are really interested and newsletters, I think it's interesting people, there, so much discourse our unsub stack and was everybody pretends Glenn Greenwald. The only person I know who exists which is said of replicating, the problem and by I think the reason newsletters have taken on

for both the people who create them in the people who receive them is like we were call just doing less than the world. We were out there less and so that kind of like maybe the news delivered of a cherry flavor for a recipient but also for the creators like I wasn't going to meeting people in the world and so writing for write an op-ed in the New York Times is a prestigious Solace experience with soulless because it's like so many people that is no one has Obama is Grand anse line and everybody's family, nobody's family, you know, like when

you make it letters or not, get letters but it's not an intimate. There's no connectivity. It's not like you know where you at? Are you in Brooklyn? Only 25 people show up. It's the one in like the white necks of your life. Maybe is is in between thing. I just attempted this experiment with this thing called and asked he's South by Southwest audience. If I'm more familiar with what they are with them, I am their controversial. I have followed along. There's an

environmental problem with the article working to fix that. I'm working with the company that I listed on open to fix it. But I basically was interested in this idea of artists and I wanted to include Riders by definition even though they hadn't been in this technology that much to share digital. Because so much of the stuff that we produce today is digital and it just vanishes or just as your laptop and then one day you die in your laptop close to landfill and like writers of all the cabbies like boxes of paper and they would donate them to the attachment.

I have no papers, I have like a Dropbox account. I don't think I'm going to donate it. My Dropbox account, the University of Michigan, when I die. I mean maybe so I thought this NFC. That was an interesting way to take out. Takes from my work. Fragments might have been directions. Even a piece of cover art that I'd ruined and didn't we didn't use, like put them in a very limited way where bunch of them but generally one person at a time or five people to do

all these things. These are like, decisions you make about what part of your writing art that wasn't published. That you want to put out in another form, that might be interesting to people in part-time this conversation in part because I think for a lot of different types of artistic creation quitting writing to be a space in between burial and Broadcasting. Right? Like when you write something some words and generally it either gets buried or it gets broadcast to everyone and the social media world were like broadcast to. Everyone means like

you can't have a single sentence of error in it. You know, like I wrote passengers of winners. Take all that. We're like a little vicious. Little me like they didn't belong in the book. They made the book, let's hear what you are. One of the people who were like, don't include, it's good trench, a bit like, make it less durable plastic. And I just put some of, this is a terrible idea, we'll find out. Today, I'm going to jump in a clubhouse and talk about it with folks and talk about the

good and bad of it. It's something I'm very interested in. I'm not entirely sold on but I'm trying it. And I think you're listening to you, as I like your, like, how do we breathe, right? How do we Mark these things? I think part of what an experiment is related to Gathering and ritual is like Addressing a need. You see in front of you and not having a fixed idea in your head would have to look like And I'm so much of, you know, if you remember, like, Thanksgiving for Shields so long ago and there's a controversy around the country about Thanksgiving to you. Like, I, we, we

like toggle between basically, like rejecting it and not going to do it. Like, we're just going to come do it at all this year. And Rebellion is like everyone's invited to my funeral for the turkey because we can have a funeral for 30 people and Sonia, Thanksgiving and I wrote an op-ed, a lonely out. That also for the nearest, I'm talking about tomorrow, improv class Keith Johnson's idea, of an imaginative response. What is an imaginative response and it's for Thanksgiving that contact like to actually ask what is happening in front of me. What is the need that I

see for myself? And for the people around me and what might we invent to be able to gather a new ways to connect a new ways to experiment a new ways. Response to this evening because so many of the ways that we have existed before, whether it's old-fashioned, Gatherings or whether it's old-fashioned, platform no longer serve, the need this in front of us. As, you know, I used to shop at a store called suitsupply if it's supplies suits. Its Dutch, I got a couple suits there for

wedding, my size went up. So I wear those suits for wild. It's not a big deal Supply ad, or I would say, would you agree until like a month ago? It was a suit Supply ad immediately circulated around the internet as a possible symbol of what the decade to come is going to be like and I'll just say it involves people in suits to be sure. But like with a very your opinion level of buttoning, a button the right before the belly button. and then, Everywhere, tons Galore in place. If it was a suit,

your heart still. Or beat faster. I don't know. And my question is, what are the Roaring Twenties going to be like? Is it suits his ass in Supply ad? Right. Are we on the verge of this kind of Wild Kratts coming? Are we going to be actually traumatized and not as wild as we think we are both what do you think the next check is going to be like it is going to be physically messy and at least for a while people just deeply enjoying the physical benefits of gathering in all of the manifestations of it that we couldn't do before

I did this podcast will Together part where we get a call each week. And the, and the calls that I like literally didn't know what to say and how to help them where the physical one. So like the four square dancing Community. There's a very big passion of four square dancing Community talking with brides and grooms about like the moment of life. Their grief of not having a physical to ask them, like, what is it that you are most like what what team do the most and is always liked the descriptions of like something dance, floors. Like things thrown on the chair by your people

and being thrown up and down like the end. And all of the elements that you can't, replicate when it's like threw up, threw a zoom connection. I think we are about to witness a moment for some period of time where we will no longer take for granted physical Gathering. And we will see extraordinary forms of physical based like joy and transgression 10 songs, and deep joy. And I think there will also be moment in those moments of ecstasy, that we will like connect with our grief because we are safe enough to allow for that, brief to come out, and I can do and whether

it's like, In a moment of rapture starting to ball because all of a sudden, all of the things that we've been holding, our are allowed to be witnessed and Sheridan scene and like, okay. And so, I think it'll be a mix of mix of emotions and guilt and pleasure. And and a lot of of of basically Alicia that I'm no longer taking for granted. This thing that we did for very long and we're on autopilot about which was gathering. So get your, get your tongues ready, get your suits out pressed, it has buttons lowered.

The era of the decade of gathering is upon us. And thank you so much for your Parker

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Anand Giridharadas
Priya Parker