I was checking my usual podcasts and feeds today and I saw the comedian Bryan Callen on The Candace’s Owens Show. I always enjoy when podcast and discussion guests are comedians since they have a certain wit, clarity, and realism when they express ideas and communicate them with the world.
At the end of the show he made what I thought was a lovely closing remark with some perennial wisdom. Below is a (very slightly edited) transcript:
Don’t be afraid of ideas, and don’t be too attached to your ideas. I’ll quote the Israeli author Amos Oz who says “the way to beat a bad idea is with a better idea.”
Don’t be afraid to be bested by a better idea, but be open to it—and that’s why conversation and dialogue are so crucial.
Barack Obama said that “when I disagree with someone, I listen to them twice as hard”, and I think that’s a really good thing to do and I think that’s very important because sometimes you don’t have all the answers. Don’t be so attached to your ideas.
I love a quote by Michelangelo which was “criticize by creating.” If you have a problem with someone’s point of view, how about coming up with a better idea, a better solution, an argument that they can’t deny. That’s how you change the world.
It’s about persuasion. It’s about changing the hearts and minds of the people you disagree with—that’s how we evolve—take your ideas, and pit them against someone else’s ideas, and stand back and watch.
And keep reading, and keep talking, and keep listening, and keep an open mind—and that’s how you’ll make the world a better place, in my opinion.
And have faith, faith is important too. Be attached to mythology, be attached to things you can’t measure. Don’t be married only to rationality and to mathematical truths.
There are certain things you can’t measure; there are certain things that inspire us to laugh, and to cry, and forget we’re human sometimes. That’s what great art’s about; you forget you’re a biological creature, you get in this arrested state of higher being.
So make space for faith, and great art. It will feed your soul.