The Aspen Ideas Festival brings people together.
Jim Lehrer: The Aspen Festival has something that no . . . nothing else has, which is a vehicle for bringing people who think about all kinds . . . a variety of things professionally. Everything from the military to poetry . . . faith, non-faith, science, technology, business, oil, energy, the environment. These people work at this stuff all the time, but they never ever talk to each other except in very formal, sometimes very journalistic ways.
And what the Aspen Festival does is bring all these people together so we can chat. Yes, there are these formal sessions and all of that, but I . . . I have never . . . I . . . My wife Kaye just said to me just a moment ago, “The things we just learned today . . .”
I was at a discussion, for instance, about carbons. Everybody’s talking about carbon emissions and all that. There are some differing views on it, but the facts about this that I hadn’t focused on; and I probably should have, but I hadn’t.
And then an hour later, I’m listening to Richard Branson talk about, you know, sending space tourists up into orbit.
The environment encourages people to speak up and to exchange ideas that they’ve never heard before. And we’ve never spent the time to concentrate long enough about the ideas before. And Aspen’s the only place that I know that does this.
July 4, 2007