The standing ovation that cascaded from the top of BYU’s cavernous Marriott Center to the floor on Tuesday was evidence.
A changed, emotionally vulnerable David Brooks, the popular conservative New York Times columnist and best-selling author, connected deeply with nearly 3,000 students, faculty and staff when he said people are hungry for authentic human connection. He modeled a path for creating those connections by opening up about himself.
Measurable growth in the levels of isolation, loneliness, fear, depression and suicide in America are rooted in a culture that decouples people from morals, poor communication and bad generalizations, he said.
“This to me is the core problem that our democratic character is faced with. Many of our society’s great problems flow from people feeling not seen and known,” Brooks said. “There is a core democratic trait that we all have to get better at, and that is the trait of seeing each other deeply and being deeply seen. It’s a question of ... understanding each other.”