*Photo by Michael Lionstar

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It’s A Question Of Balance ® radio show balances the intellectual with the creative, exploring whether we have more in common than divides us through thought-provoking conversations – out and about with people on the street on different topics, and in the studio with inspiring guests from the arts. Balance is not a compromise. Balance is truth distilled from many places creating cohesive understanding.

Topic: Out And About – Conversations on the Street About Questions That Matter: Does it Have To Be Them and Us?

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This week we consider ‘Does it Have To Be Them and Us?’ There are lots of ways we can find ourselves thinking in terms of ‘them and us’ – young and old, rich and poor, healthy versus not taking care of oneself, right-wing versus liberal, gay and straight, black and white, first-world and third world. Do you ever find yourself feeling very different from a certain group of people? How does that make you feel? When you feel passionate about an issue how do you feel about those who disagree with you – do you see it as two sides, a wrong and a right? Or simply as a variety of views or beliefs?

In an article by Robert W Peck of the Constitution Party he comments “In a world with an “us versus them” mentality, it’s always “them” that are the problem… right? We’re never the cause of our own troubles, that would be unthinkable. It’s always the other guy who fouls everything up….The same phenomenon exists in the political arena where the “us versus them” mentality finds that it is always the other political party that is the problem. You name the trouble, the other party caused it. If only the country were turned over to our side, to our favored “ism” or political party, we would make it a utopian paradise.” In the political arena are you finding yourself feeling a sense of them and us?

Joseph Joubert said that “The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress”. I’m wondering if this is part of what gets lost when we get into a ‘them and us’ mindset – it seems we become more focused on converting others to our belief system than concentrating our energy on how actual progress could be affected. Is this something you see at all? Does it have to be them and us?

What do you think? Ruth Copland gets the views of people on the street for our Out and About feature.

In Out And About we consider topics with local relevance and global significance. The idea is to get us thinking about the questions that affect us all – to stimulate new thinking, or clarify what we already feel. To hear how other people’s opinions may differ from or be similar to our own.

Arts Interview: In-Depth Conversation with Jo Baker

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This week as her special guest from the arts Ruth Copland is pleased to be interviewing best-selling British writer Jo Baker. Born in Lancashire in Britain, Jo Baker studied English Literature at Oxford University, then went on to study writing at Queen’s University, Belfast, eventually achieving a PhD on the work of the Anglo-Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen. Jo’s first book Offcomer was published in 2002 and she has gone on to publish five other novels – The Undertow, The Telling, The Mermaid’s Child, Longbourn and her latest book A Country Road, A Tree. Jo has also written for BBC Radio 4, and her short stories have been included in a number of anthologies.

Jo Baker’s book Longbourn, a reimagining of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from the servants’ perspective, was hailed by critics as brilliant, absorbing, moving and ingenious and is a national best-seller, A New York Times Book Review Notable Book, a Seattle Times Best Title, a Christian Science Monitor Best Fiction Book, a Miami Herald Favorite Book, and a Kirkus Best Book of the Year. Longbourn is also in development as a feature film. Jo Baker’s considerable flare for historical detail and nuance showcased so effectively in Longbourn are evident again in her new book, A Country Road, A Tree, where she reimagines the Nobel Prize-winning Irish writer Samuel Beckett’s involvement with the French Resistance during WWII, and his struggle to find meaning in the seeming futility of life, and value in the written word. In A Country Road, A Tree, (the title of which references a stage direction from Beckett’s play Waiting For Godot) Jo Baker explores the military experiences that ultimately contributed to giving Beckett one of the most powerful voices in the 20th century.

For more info visit http://www.jobakerwriter.com and facebook.com/jobakerwriter

“It’s A Question of Balance ® so rare among radio talk shows, lets its subjects breathe. With her discursive style and pleasingly eccentric range of curiosity, host Ruth Copland each week treats her listeners to two hours of Whole Brain Radio.
Hampton Sides – Internationally bestselling author, award-winning journalist, and historian