James Clear wrote this excellent article, “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds.” In it he discusses how the best way to change someone’s mind is to be friends with them. He cites the below passage from the British philosopher, Alain de Botton, who suggests sharing meals together with those who disagree with us:
“Sitting down at a table with a group of strangers has the incomparable and odd benefit of making it a little more difficult to hate them with impunity. Prejudice and ethnic strife feed off abstraction. However, the proximity required by a meal – something about handing dishes around, unfurling napkins at the same moment, even asking a stranger to pass the salt – disrupts our ability to cling to the belief that the outsiders who wear unusual clothes and speak in distinctive accents deserve to be sent home or assaulted. For all the large-scale political solutions which have been proposed to salve ethnic conflict, there are few more effective ways to promote tolerance between suspicious neighbours than to force them to eat supper together.”
Seeing live theatre can be like sharing a meal together. It takes about the same amount of time, we’re a captive audience who’ve shown up for a singular purpose, and we’re all strangers gathered together in one location.
As theatre-makers, we’d be wise to remember the enormous opportunity we have to open people’s hearts. And the way to open hearts and minds is to only produce what we’re passionate about. With excellence and generosity. For ourselves, our fellow artists and the audience we seek to serve.
P.S. – Today is October 1st, the first day of the fourth quarter of 2020. We’re in the home stretch! How’d your third quarter commitment go? What intentions, goals, projects or habits can you commit to in this last quarter? Make sure voting, continued self care and caring/looking out for others are on your list. Oh, and enjoying the upcoming Holidays!