A god can create a world only by listening.*
To be a moral human being is to pay, be obliged to pay, certain kinds of attention.**
Whilst offering examples of people with “skin in the game,” Nassim Taleb tells of an encounter with Susan Sontag in 2001, in which her initial interest in meeting someone who “studies randomness.” On finding out that Taleb was a trader Sontag then announced being “against the market system,” and turned her back on Taleb whilst he was in mid-sentence.^
It turns out we all struggle to listen to people who are not like us.
It’s hard but it’s worth it for the kind of worlds we are able to create together.
(*From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)
(**Susan Sontag, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Existential Therapy from the Universe.)
(^Nassim Taleb hopes waiting fifteen or so years after the death of Susan Sontag before telling this story is more respectful.)