Hope, Trust, and Truth: How the Pandemic Will Change Us

May 21, 2020  • Aspen Ideas Now

Will the disaster wrought by covid-19 help a divided nation realize its common humanity? Or will the forces of division and hatred flourish alongside the virus and drive a polarized people further into their isolation and apathy? David Brooks, executive director of Weave and op-ed columnist for the New York Times, checks in with Jonathan Haidt, professor of Ethical Leadership at NYU’s Stern School of Business, for a conversation about the forces competing for the future and how the pandemic could shift culture around everything from trust to truth. “It’s a hope sandwich,” Haidt says of his feelings about the future. “A giant slab of despair leading up to some hope…but then surrounded by another giant slab of despair.”

Jonathan Haidt
Social Psychologist
New York University’s Stern School of Business

Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992, and taught for 16 years in the department of psychology at the University of Virginia. Haidt is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, and of The New York Times bestsellers The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, and The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure (co-authored with Greg Lukianoff). He has written more than 100 academic articles. In 2019 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was chosen by Prospect magazine as one of the world’s “Top 50 Thinkers.”
Socials: @JonHaidt

David Brooks
Op-Ed Columnist; Executive Director
The New York Times; Weave: The Social Fabric Project, The Aspen Institute;

David Brooks is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, since 2003, and the executive director of Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute. Brooks also teaches at Yale University. In April, he came out with his latest book, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. He is also the author of Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement, and No. 1 New York Times best-seller The Road to Character. Brooks is a commentator on “The PBS Newshour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Socials: @weavetheppl; @nytdavidbrooks