Tuesday, September 6, 2022

#250 / Talking To Strangers #6


I have been writing daily blog postings for a long time. My aim, always, is to have a new title for each new posting, with no duplication, ever. I may have had a slip or two, but that has been my rule, over the last twelve years. In order to avoid duplication, when I feel the need to redo a title I have used before, I add a number (#1, #2, #3, etc.) so that each title remains different.  

The person depicted above, by the way, is Malcolm Gladwell, just in case you don't recognize him. Wikipedia identifies Gladwell as "an English-born Canadian journalist, author, and public speaker." A month or so ago, just by chance, I discovered that Gladwell has made a presentation, available on YouTube, entitled, "Talking To Strangers." Click that link to see what Gladwell has to say on that subject. As an alternative, you can also make use of the video presentation I have provided at the bottom of the page.
As it happens, Gladwell's topic, "Talking To Strangers," is a topic that has preoccupied me over quite a long time. I tend to think that the success or failure of our American experiment in democratic self-government may well depend, ultimately, on whether or not enough of us get sufficiently comfortable with the idea of "talking to strangers," to do a lot more of that than we do now. 
As you can tell from the title of today's blog posting, this is my sixth blog posting on the topic, "Talking To Strangers." Here are links to my earlier commentaries:
#277 / Talking To Strangers / October 4, 2017: General advocacy for the practice.

#20 / Talking To Strangers #2 / January 20, 2021: Report on a book entitled, Talking To Strangers, by Danielle S. Allen.

#71 / Talking To Strangers #3 / March 12, 2021: Mental health is benefited by talking to strangers.

#188 / Talking To Strangers #4 / July 7, 2021: A review of a New York theatrical production which advances the benefits of talking to strangers.

#246 / Talking To Strangers #5 / September 3, 2021: Advice from Yola, a singer-songwriter from England, advocating talking to strangers in the streets, and in bars.

Malcolm Gladwell is an engrossing storyteller. His books quickly pull you in, and so will his "Talking To Strangers" presentation for the "How To Academy." Gladwell gave this presentation on December 5, 2019, and the story really does grab you. It is, basically, the story of a fabulously successful spy for the United States government, code name: "Mountain Climber." 
Besides the enjoyment of the tale (and it is enjoyable), the bottom line lesson that Gladwell brings to us, which comes right at the end of the presentation, is the following: 
While we might think that our best interests are always advanced by being wary of persons we don't know, and that things will go best for us when we withhold our trust in strangers until they have proved themselves reliable and worthy of our trust, the truth is exactly the opposite. Our best course of action is always to trust strangers, and that is why "talking to strangers" is recommended (emphasis added).

The Gladwell presentation makes this point in an extremely engaging and entertaining way. It, too, is recommended - just like "talking to strangers" is recommended!


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