Jan 7, 2020
Many liberals and progressives yearn for coherent alternatives to capitalism, but previous visions of socialism do not necessarily account for anything beyond material benefits. Social theorist and psychotherapist Rabbi Michael Lerner came to Town Hall to advocate his strategy for a new socialism built on love, kindness, and compassion for one another. Drawing from his book Revolutionary Love, Lerner proposed a method to replace what he terms the “capitalist globalization of selfishness” with a globalization of generosity, prophetic empathy, and environmental sanity.
Lerner challenged liberal and progressive forces to move beyond politics and build a movement that can reverse the environmental destructiveness and social injustice caused by wanton pursuit of profit. Revisiting the hidden injuries of class, Lerner showed that much of the suffering in our society—including most of its addictions and the growing embrace of right-wing nationalism and reactionary versions of fundamentalism—are driven by frustrated needs for community, love, respect, and connection to a higher purpose in life. Yet these needs are too often missing from liberal discourse. Lerner contended that even if progressive programs are smartly constructed, they cannot be achieved unless they speak to the heart and address the pain so many people experience. Join Lerner to explore his idea of a “Caring Society” and develop the courage to stop listening to those who tell us that fundamental social transformation is unrealistic.
Rabbi Michael Lerner is the editor of Tikkun magazine. He is the author of eleven books, including two national bestsellers, Jewish Renewal and The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right. Lerner, who has PhDs in philosophy and social and clinical psychology, was chosen for the 2019 Humanitarian Award by the International Association of Sufism. He has also received Morehouse College’s King-Gandhi Award for his work for peace and nonviolence.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle. Recorded live in The Forum on December 12, 2019.