Ezra Klein is a reporter for the New York Times and a few days ago he interviewed Barack Obama for his podcast.
Towards the end, the reporter asked him a joking question about UFOs: if it turns out that there are aliens, what would change for you politically? Nothing, replied the former president of the United States, because my whole policy is based on the fact that we are tiny organisms on a small dot floating in space.
“I don’t remember if it was Clarence Darrow, Abraham Lincoln or anyone else who said that the best way to win an argument is first and foremost to be able to support the interlocutor’s argument better than he can himself. For me, this means understanding the other’s point of view. And don’t expect the other to understand mine if I don’t offer to understand his ”.
His character and his personal history have to do with it. “If you’re a kid whose parents are from Kansas and Kenya, born in Hawaii and living in Indonesia, it’s only natural that you need to understand how all these pieces fit together. How all these perspectives, cultures, weaknesses and prejudices come together to get closer to something true. And I think this has moved into my way of doing politics ”.
It is a way that, says Obama, admits doubt and assumes that none of us have a monopoly on truth. “If you practice it long enough, it may not allow you to always convince others, but at least it gives you a solid foundation from which you can confidently say: I know what I think. I know what I believe ”.
To try to cheer up his collaborators in difficult times, Obama reminded him that, according to scientists, there are more stars in the known universe than grains of sand on Earth.
“The differences we have on this planet are real. They are deep. And they are a source of enormous tragedies as well as joys. But we are just a group of human beings with doubts and uncertainties. And the best thing we can do is treat each other well, because we are all we have ”.