Political animosity between the right and the left is off the charts. Social scientists say we're living in one of the most polarized periods in history and that conservatives and liberals don't just disagree anymore. They hate everything about each other. It's time to de-polarize! Let's figure out how.
David Blankenhorn calls American politics "the last refuge of open animosity." Somehow, it's perfectly acceptable to say you hate people in the other political party. Blankenhorn has analyzed the sloppy mental habits that lead to polarization and presents a few de-polarizing habits we should all cultivate.
Are political beliefs predetermined at birth? Encoded in our genes? Political scientist John Hibbing does fMRI studies of liberal and conserative brains and says there are significant biological differences. His message: stop yelling at the other party. They can't help what they think.
The best-selling Turkish novelist Elif Shafak was put on trial ten years ago for "insulting Turkishness". She says the political climate in Turkey is more polarized than ever today, and even riskier for writers. She also believes fiction can help heal divided cultures.
When and how did American get so polarized? For answers, Jonathan Chait recommends reading "What Hath God Wrought," a history of American politics from 1815-1848 by the Pulitzer prize-winning historian Daniel Walker Howe.
Maybe finding middle ground isn't the way out of hyper-polarization. At the Institute for Cultural Evolution, Steve McIntosh is working on a different idea: learning how to incorporate some of your political opponents' values into your own positions,and acknowledging the shadow side of your own beliefs. Listen to the interview and then take the Political Polarization Test.
We're all a little wild, inside. But if you've been spending too much time indoors in front of a screen, maybe you need a dose of the real thing. This week, stories of people who went looking for wilderness.
"See them before they're gone" is the Lanza family's motto. Michael Lanza describes his quest to take his two young kids -- ages 7 and 9 -- to as many wilderness locations as possible, to see glaciers and icebergs and coral reefs, before climate change destroys them.
Leigh Ann Henion was a young mother when she felt her world closing in. So she did something unconventional: she set off on a "wonder pilgrimage" to see some of the world's most astonishing natural phenomena. She tells us about juggling motherhood with swimming in bioluminescent oceans, standing at the edge of active volcanoes, and witnessing vast animal migrations.
Outdoor journalist James Mills is tired of being the only African-American on the mountain, or the rock face, or hiking in a national park. In an effort to increase diversity in outdoor recreation, he helped organize Expedition Denali -- the first all-African-American team to attempt America's highest peak, Denali.
Shattered by her father's sudden death, writer Helen Macdonald began dreaming of wild hawks. In an effort to move beyond her grief, she bought and trained a wild goshawk -- one of the world's fiercest birds of prey. But between the bird and her grief, she became, in her words "more hawk than human."
Benjamin Percy's new novel"The Dead Lands" is a wilderness thriller set in a post-apocalyptic landscape. The descendants of Lewis and Clark reprise their ancestors' epic cross-country journey in search of a new beginning.