The Conclave on Political Polarization
Hosted by Esalen and the Institute of Cultural Evolution
October 5 – 8, 2014
Esalen’s Center for Theory and Research, in partnership with The Institute of Cultural Evolution, tackles one of the biggest problems plaguing America today: political polarization and dysfunction. In October, Esalen will host an invitation-only conference on political polarization, bringing together key figures on all sides of party lines as only Esalen can. Leveraging the cross-disciplinary strengths of our conferees and the sheer beauty of Esalen’s storied meeting space, we look forward to welcoming leading public figures, academics, pundits, theorists, insiders and activists. We will explore the cultural roots of our current stalemate, the historical forces at work in the political divide, the detrimental effects of this division on our society and, most importantly, how we can find a way to move the country forward.
Agenda Topics of this Conference:
Our Political Systems: What Went Wrong and How to Fix Them
By Tom Mann, Senior Fellow at Brookings, and Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar at American Enterprise Institute; co-authors of the New York Times bestseller, It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.
The Psychology of Partisanship and Righteousness, and A Few Shreds of Hope for Fostering More Civil Disagreement
By Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist and author of the New York Times bestseller, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.
The New American Electorate: Partisan, Sorted and Polarized
By Alan Abramowitz, political scientist and author of Polarized Public: Why American Government Is So Dysfunctional.
Polarization and Cultural Evolution: Strategies for Depolarizing the American Mind
A Vision of the Future of Government and How a Diversity of Ideologies Can Work Together to Move the Country Forward
- The Conservative and Libertarian Perspective – Steven Hayward, author and scholar of a new conservatism
- The Progressive and Liberal Perspective - Michael Shellenberger, President of Breakthrough Institute and advocate of a new liberalism
- The Centrist Perspective – John Avlon, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast and the country’s leading political centrist
Grassroot Movements from Inside and Outside
- No Labels – Ted Buerger, a Co-Founder of No Labels
- Public Conversations Project (PCP) - Laura Chasin, Founder of PCP
- National Purpose Initiative (NPI) – Lucas Welch, Executive Director of NPI
Transforming Conflicts: Understand Differences and Act on Common Ground
Solutions and Actions
Facilitated by Mark Gerzon, Founder of Mediators Foundation
During this session, the group will examine the most effective levers of the political systems to affect systemic changes and pursue innovative strategies and actions to break the gridlock of political polarization.