"I felt and still feel that everybody is right, no matter what he says … And I gave a name … to a mathematical point where all opinions, no matter how contradictory, harmonized. I call it a chronosynclastic infundibulum. I live in one."
"Happy Birthday, Wanda June," as quoted
in George and Barbara Perkins'
"Contemporary American Literature"
"In our seminar, whether we were arguing about labor or religion or
politics, he would sit back like a resource person and then he would
say, I hear Jane saying such and such, and Tom seems to disagree on
that, but then Tom and Jane both agree on this. I
don’t mean he makes all conflicts go away—that would be crazy. But his
natural instinct is not dividing the baby in half—it's looking for
areas of convergence. This is part of who he is really deep down, and
it’s an amazing skill. It's not always the right skill: the truth
doesn't always lie somewhere in the middle. But I think at this moment
America is in a situation where we agree much more than we think we do.
I know this from polling data—we feel divided in racial terms,
religious terms, class terms, all kinds of terms, but we exaggerate how
much we disagree with each other. And that's why I think he’s right for
about Sen. Barack Obama's part in a seminar about
rebuilding community, in Larissa MacFarquhar's
New Yorker profile "The Conciliator"