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I recently read Senator Ben Sasse’s newest book, “Them”, and found it to be an excellent read. My hope is that by sharing a few insightful quotes, you too will be moved to read the book and enjoy the same blessing I found. Here are my top 20 quote from the Senator’s book.

“The revolution that has given tens of millions of Americans the opportunity to live like historic royalty has also outpaced our ability to figure out what community, friendships, and relationships should look like in the modern world. As reams of research now show, we’re richer and better-informed and more connected – and unhappier and more isolated and less fulfilled. There is a terrible mismatch here. We’re in crisis.”

“It seems clear that in America today, we’re facing problems that feel too big for us, so we’re lashing out at each other, often over less important matters. Many of us are using politics as a way to distract ourselves from the nagging sense that something bigger is wrong … It’s easier to shriek at people on the other side of the street. It’s comforting to be able to pin the problems on the freaks in the pink hats or the weirdos carrying the pro-life signs.”

“It’s not taxes or tweets; it’s not primarily politics or polarization; it’s neither an unpredictable president nor the #Resistance that wants to impeach him. It’s not a new bill or blue-ribbon commission. The real culprit has less to do with us as a polity and everything to do with us as uprooted, wandering souls.”

“Persistent loneliness reduces average longevity by more than twice as much as heavy drinking and more than three times as much as obesity. The research of loneliness experts John T. Cacioppo and William Patrick confirms that loneliness alters behavior and physiological responses in ways that are “hastening millions of people to an early grave.”

“If we are going to make any lasting difference in the lives of our neighbors struggling in poverty – or wrestling with loneliness – we must tell the truth about the irreplaceable role of family. The most important shoulder in life is a parents.”

“We’re meant to be forthings and people, but absent that, most of us will choose to be againstthings and people, together, rather than to be alone.”

“Today, I am a parent trying to teach my three children how to be responsible citizens. But they face a problem I didn’t. the challenge today isn’t catching the news; it’s figuring out what even isnews.”

“Many of our television hosts are modern-day carnival barkers. We can get dopamine, adrenaline, and oxytocin all at once. It’s an adult video game. But instead of expertly separating us from our wallets, they’re separating us from things much more valuable: our time, our sense of perspective, and our judgment. And they’re separating us from each other.”

“Our isolation has deprived us of healthy local tribes with whom we share values and goals and ways of life that uplift us, and so we fall into “anti-tribes,” defined by what we’re against rather than what we’re for. It’s a sorry substitute for real belonging, but it’s better than nothing. We might not have much in the way of community, but at least we aren’t as ludicrous as those sanctimonious liberals on MSNBC, or as absurd as those blowhard conservatives on Fox. There’s something comforting in joining people of a similar mind-set (“we”) to denounce “them.”

“Everything about our new technologies seems to push us away from listening to our neighbor and toward shouting at him – that is, away from empathy and toward narcissism. More technology makes the world smaller, but that doesn’t mean that when we’re pressed together we’ll hug.”

“Our opinions aren’t more thoughtful, or our characters more noble, simply because we have more data. We might know a lot, but we aren’t necessarily becoming wiser.”

“We’ll never understand why our opponents act the way they do if we refuse to listen – really listen – to their arguments.”

“Warriors view the present moment as a make-or-break for all time – but neighbors do not. Neighbors see today’s conversation not as the last discussion we’ll ever have, but as a precursor to tomorrow’s. We can and will visit again. We can continue talking, and listening. We can be open to future persuasion – and to being persuaded. We need not win everything by force, and we need not win everything right now.”

“Understanding each other better doesn’t mean that we stop debating and join hands around the campfire – but it does help us to talk, having dispensed with the self-deceptive assumption that our opponents simply hate and want to crush us … We can treat our opponents as individuals rather than as representatives of some malevolent bloc.”

“What binds us together as Americans is our unwavering conviction that, in spite of all our differences – some insignificant, like food preferences; some important, like theological beliefs – we share a belief in freedom for all. We believe that every American should be permitted to follow her conscience, speak her mind, exercise her deepest beliefs.”

“We’re losing our ability to read closely and think carefully. We’re losing the ability to focus deeply on important work. We’re likelier to spend our time seeking validation from digital “friends” than to spend time with flesh-and-blood friends. We insulate ourselves behind filtered Instagram photos. And all the time we becomelonelier, parched for genuine community.”

“No responsible parent would willingly hook her child on heroin. No careful mom and dad would let their kids eat nothing but cake and candy. But there’s compelling evidence that many of the apps on our tablets are as addictive as heroin and as unhealthy as an uninterrupted diet of sweets – and by design.”

“We should stop holding the candidates on “our side” to lower standards than we expect from our opponents. This shouldn’t be hard. Lying matters, and truth matters. We should stop lazily absolving bad actors on our side by just shrugging and saying, “Well, they all lie.” Be skeptical of anypolitician whose statements frame our primary struggle in terms of one group of Americans versus another.”

“Imagine if just 10 percent of the time we spend angrily tracking national political news were redirected to volunteering at our kids’ or grandkids’ school, serving at a soup kitchen, visiting a nursing home. We’d be community-rich.”

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