WSW: How We're "More Together Than Alone"

Feb 19, 2019

Credit WMUK

Mark Nepo says his book More Together Than Alone was 13 years in the making. The Kalamazoo author says he kept coming back to the idea of care and interdependence in various cultures. Nepo wrote other books in that time, and says he wondered if this one would ever get finished.

Nepo says his previous books were more about individual journeys. He says More Together Than Alone is about what happens when these “circles get larger.” Nepo will speak Thursday night February 21st at 7:00p.m. at Western Michigan University in Room 2452 of Knauss Hall. It’s part of the University Center for the Humanities lecture series.

Nepo describes two tribes – “the go away tribe and “the teach me tribe.” The writer imagines prehistoric times when one person comes to the mouth a cave, and the other inside says “you’re different go away.” Nepo says if we want people to go away, we may put them "in a ghetto or a camp." In the worst cases it becomes genocide. But he says the other reaction is to say “you’re different, come teach me.” Nepo says that has led to great moments in civilization. But he says the catch is that any person can be a member of both tribes.

A version of the interview with Mark Nepo for Morning Edition and All Things Considered

“The biggest community we are a part of is humanity,” says Nepo. He says it’s important that we don’t mistake what is familiar for what is true. If we think that way, Nepo asks “How do we grow? Because anything that’s new we view as false. So then education is only confirming what we already know.”