The Lavin Weekly: How to Talk to an Extremist, the Cycle of Creativity, Politicized Space, & Post-Maria Puerto Rico Survival
In this Lavin Weekly, Megan Phelps-Roper explains how to get through to an extremist; Neri Oxman speaks on her breakthrough model for enhancing innovation; Lucianne Walkowicz questions whether the National Space Council will actually be good for progress; and Molly Crabapple witnesses the incredible resilience of a community decimated.
1. “That people took the time, and had the patience to really effectively challenge me … is a super effective tactic when dealing with extremists.”
“Extremists generally are not psychopaths,” says Westboro Baptist Church defector Megan Phelps-Roper on Sarah Silverman’s I Love You, America. “They’re psychologically normal people who’ve been persuaded by bad ideas. We can’t expect to isolate these people and hope that those ideas just fade into oblivion, we really have to engage those ideas and find ways of understanding the mindsets of the people we’re dealing with.” We do this not just to help the extremists, like Phelps-Roper used to be, but to prevent them from disseminating hatred to younger, more vulnerable people.
2. “Art is greater than the sum of its parts.”
“The connection between art, science, engineering, and design, if you transcend the appropriation of those domains as single domains, as single rubrics let’s say, and if rather you see them as a cycle, then the input of one domain becomes the output of another domain.” Neri Oxman explains “the cycle of creativity,” in this conversation with Yo-Yo Ma at the 2017 Concordia Annual Summit.
3. “All glory to the hands that work.”
“I had not been to Puerto Rico since I was eight … scattered sense memories of childhood … clear vinyl slipcovers that protected the couches in the grandparents’ house … uncomprehended Spanish cartoons, the competitive clack of dominos.” But when Maria hit, artist Molly Crabapple felt compelled to return. In BuzzFeed this week she tells the illustrated tale of a community uniting and re-writing its own narrative. “This moment when, literally, the lights go off, is a great opportunity to ask … what stories we are telling ourselves, and what stories do we want to tell.”
4. “Why breathe life back into the body of a group that never had much to begin with?”
The National Space Council—“a vestigial membrane attached to the Office of the President”—has recently been revived. Lucianne Walkowicz expresses her reservations this week in Scientific American: “the NSC could be a beneficial force, if led by a VP with a strong interest and knowledge of space (which Pence does not have), and appropriately peopled by those in positions to both create and carry out an implementable vision of the United States’ presence in space (which the Cabinet is not).”
The Lavin Agency is the exclusive speakers bureau of Megan Phelps-Roper, Neri Oxman, Lucianne Walkowicz, Molly Crabapple and many more creative speakers, innovation speakers and motivational speakers. Contact us to find out more.