One of the attendees at our 360 Summit at the New York Stock Exchange earlier this month was Judith Abrams, for many years a Managing Director of Deutsche Bank and now President Emerita of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.
Judy wrote a note about the event that started another whole conversation here at Wf360. She wrote:
"...many thanks for including me in your 11th Annual 360 Summit at the New York Stock Exchange. When listening to Christa Tippett's interview of Lord Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, on her NPR Program "Being" the following Sunday, I heard your theme repeated as they discussed the importance of conversations on "The Dignity of Difference".
I have thought a lot about your topics and congratulate you on setting us on this thoughtful journey. I was thrilled that Chris Anderson received your special award, he was certainly impressive.
It was a most meaningful and special evening."
So after reading her note I of course had to listen to that interview.
Judy is right: Rabbi Sacks' take on the importance of difference in our ability to grow and to innovate is compelling. I had not--until listening to this interview--thought about the fact that until the last century, most people never saw in their lifetime someone much different from then. Now, in almost any city of any size you can go down the street and see more anthropologically different people than most people living a hundred years ago would see in their lifetime. He has developed his concept of the "dignity of difference" to a belief that in order for any of the world's three great religions to survive, much less thrive, it is important for them to retain their own essence, their particular claims of truth, but while understanding that others' views will enrich our own. Think of biodiversity, he says. We now know because of DNA studies that all of life--all species--all have the same single source. All have their same genetic code written from the same source. So from unity comes diversity.
And by conversing with those different from us, we can learn how to enrich ourselves. Not just to become more tolerant, but to learn from others how their views can enrich our own.
BIg stuff here. You may want to listen to the interview yourself.