Summary of Key Points from February 5th Discussion on How Values Influence our Views. See the notes here. View the Golden Transcript article here.
    • Table Discussion.  The following points from the table discussions where shared with the group as a whole
      • We all have some shared values and by focusing on these values can help us find common ground
      • It is helpful to keep in mind that sanctity can have different meanings depending on the person’s perspective, ranging from sanctity of human life to protection of our environment and our individual bodies
      • Several tables noted how nice was to have this opportunity to get know new people and to have such a caring group of people gathered together.
      • And several noted that it would be helpful in the future to have people with more diversity of beliefs and ideologies participate in future events
      • Three key areas that can serve as a foundation for common ground across people with diverse views: 1) Civic engagement and responsibility;  2) Corporate responsibility which is growing in importance and influence; and 3) Making our communities and country a better place for future generations
      • It is important to understand that values can be influenced by the environment and social context and to be aware of how values may shift in differing contexts
      • We can advance as a society if we help each other take forward an attitude of nonjudgmental acceptance and compassion and raise our consciousness of how we are acting and processing information as individuals
      • We need to keep in mind that are some limits of acceptance of differing values and we can’t expect harmony in all areas
      • It could be useful to undertake an effort to develop a refreshed understanding of Golden’s values, perhaps building on the values identified in Golden 2030
      • The group may want to tackle some difficult issues at future gatherings so we can put into practice how we apply nonjudgmental listening and compassionate understanding in trying to find common ground
  • Opening Remarks
    • Lhakpa Sherpa warmly welcomed everyone to Sherpa House and to the beautiful and cozy new room and then fed us all a wonderful meal!
    • Mayor Marjorie Sloan offered remarks that highlighted how in Golden we are taking the right approach in trying to openly listen to and understand each other and to reach out and engage with others who have different views than our own
    • Ron Benioff gave a quick overview of Golden United and objectives and plans for this evening and future gatherings.  He also highlighted a broader activity that Golden United is considering to convene folks to develop a refreshed understanding to and commitment to American Values and invited people to join in shaping this activity.
  • Haidt’s Analysis of Moral Values.
    • Tom Atkins presented a summary of essential findings from research by Jonathan Haidt, presented in the Righteous Mind.  Haidt identified six key moral values – Caring, Fairness, Freedom or Liberty, Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity.  Haidt determined that conservatives tend to rank all six of these values to be of equal weight, liberals give more emphasis to caring, fairness, and liberty, and libertarians rank freedom/liberty the highest.
    • Haidt further notes that in conversation with others, understanding the six foundational moral values allows us to listen for the strength and relative importance of their values compared with our own rather than listening for “hot buttons”, “code words” or “trigger warnings”. This allows us to avoid judgement, keep our “fast brain” in check and let our “slow brain” do the thinking. And it allows us to find areas of common values. If we aren’t hearing enough information, it allows us to ask questions to help elicit those values.
    • Tom highlighted 4 important takeaways:  1. Our own opinions are easier to understand put in the context of the relative strength of the six moral values; 2. Do not sacralize our own values – that makes things into good vs. evil, which make compromise difficult or impossible; 3.  By understanding our own elephant, we can TRAIN IT to be more responsive to our logical/rational mind and less frightened by opposing points of view; and 4. Think of liberal, conservative, and libertarian as yin and yang. Contrasting but necessary as a complete expression of moral values.