Thursday, December 20, 2012

InsideOut Interview: Daniel Goleman

DANIEL GOLEMAN On Love and Intelligence
by Owen Lipstein

Daniel Goleman, an internationally renowned psychologist best known for popularizing cutting-edge neuroscience on emotional and social intelligence, is one of our heroes. For many years he wrote for The New York Times Science section, and since 1995 — when his first book, "Emotional Intelligence," was published and sold 5 million copies (!) — he has been a full-time writer and serious walk-the-talker, studying his own mind in meditation.
INSIDEOUT: You are a scientist who has also published hugely influential, bestselling books. Tell us how that happened for you.

DAN GOLEMAN: Back in the '70s when [former editor] George Harris recruited me to be a psychologist on the staff of Psychology Today (which then was a major magazine), it was a radical act to commit to science journalism. Today that is an established field, quite respectable. Back then, my former colleagues — I had just left a visiting professorship at Harvard to take this job — were, to be frank, pretty scornful about my wasting what could be a potentially promising academic career to join the popular press. 

At the same time, psychology was just on the cusp of what is now a decade-long escalation in the level of science behind psychological theory. What has been exciting for me is that my timing was very good, in that I was able to record this amazing transition and transformation of the field, and get paid for that. I've always loved writing, so this has been a great treat for me. 

IO: You are also sort of unusual in that you have always been interested in the East and the West, and the connection between mind and body. It's come in and out of vogue, as we all know, but tell us about then, and tell us about now. 

DG: Another early career risk I took was to do my doctoral dissertation at Harvard on meditation as an antidote to stress. And that sounds ho-hum today, but it was kind of a freaky idea for people in my field back then — that you could do something with your mind that would have a measurable effect on the body.
What seemed like a risky idea back then is now standard science, so I've also been a chronicler of the rise of what you could call the mind-body connection — the steady drumbeat of scientific research that establishes more and more firmly the ways in which mind and body interact and are interlocked. Today the old split between the body's here and the mind's there is pretty much a thing of the past, because we understand that the way the brain works interweaves biology with our thoughts and our feelings, and it's an artificial separation.

Probably the most influential person on the practice side has been a guy that I knew way back in graduate school, someone named John Kabat-Zinn. When I went off to Psychology Today, he ensconced himself in the basement of a building at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, where he said to the different medical areas: "Send me the patients you can't help anymore," and he taught them mindfulness, [a type of] meditation that was adapted for a medical setting. 

What happened was that people didn't get cured, but they were able to live with chronic suffering and pain much, much better. Now it has spread to hospitals around the world. Tens of thousands of people are doing it, and science is showing that it's extraordinarily beneficial. 

IO: It seems as if you took the less logically correct course in your career, but your books have been so commercially successful. Do you find that amusing, surprising, counterintuitive? 

DG: Well, it was just sheer luck, frankly. I just followed Joseph Campbell's famous advice to follow your passion, long before I ever heard those words. It just made sense to me, and as it turned out — it paid off in that other people were, it seems, extremely interested in the same thing. So I've been lucky that by following my nose, I've been able to make a living and share insights with a very large audience. 

IO: If someone were to write the history of what's been happening these last 25 or 30 years, what do you think some of the bigger stories would be? 

DG: I've been covering the brain and behavioral sciences, so within my field, the big transformation is the transformation of psychology as a stand-alone discipline to a sub-discipline of biology. The more we understand about the brain, the more psychological theory and practice becomes grounded in neuroscience and has a much stronger scientific base. In terms of the little corner of history that I've followed — I think that's the big transition. 

IO: Do you find that having access to, and thinking about, these things makes you a better liver of your own life? 

DG: I think it's inspired me to be a more serious meditation practitioner over the years. I’m not that serious. I think I could do a lot better, and I hope to, in terms of putting time aside. 

IO: What about the advent of medication? When somebody finds the remnants of our civilization 4,000 years from now and we've all disappeared, is that going to be a big discovery — that we created some of these amazing drugs that could actually affect behavior, and mood, and all of that? 

DG: I think that's another part of the story. I haven't been much involved in that. I think what is more interesting to me is that we are finding natural interventions. The problem with drugs in the brain is that the brain is a complex system, and drugs are not, and nature conserves molecules and likes to use the same molecules for many different jobs. So you can take an SSRI [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, a class of antidepressants], which alters your levels of serotonin in the brain, but you have to understand that 95 percent of serotonin receptors are in the gut, not in the brain.

The inelegant thing about medicines so far has been side effects, which are inevitable. The thing I love is finding natural alternatives such as meditation, which, it seems, will accomplish much of what anti-anxiety and antidepressants do for many people. I’m not really part of the story on the drug events. I have a kind of different attitude. 

IO: What is a day in your life like these days? 

DG: I don't have a day job. I'm a writer. I am always writing some book or other. Usually what will happen is that I will get up, my wife and I will make breakfast together — she makes a really excellent pot of chai, and I make a very healthy omelet — and then we both meditate, and then we both go off and write. She's a psychologist and writer too. She wrote a wonderful book called "Emotional Alchemy," which combines meditation and therapy. She's working on another book now, and I am tinkering with some ideas. That takes me to the afternoon. I try not to look at e-mail or answer the phone until the afternoon. 

IO: How do you explain the popular success of a book like "Emotional Intelligence"? 

DG: I didn't expect that it would be as successful as it was, for one thing. I remember getting another proposal ready to send to publishers before it was published, just in case it bombed, because I had a son about to go to college and I needed tuition money. I was hedging my bets on that one.

I think that “Emotional Intelligence" came along at a time when people were looking for a hopeful insight into emotional life. Basically what I did was an overview of new findings that explained, in more concrete terms, why we get into many of the emotional predicaments we do, and what causes them, and how to get out of them. I think it was such a hopeful book. For whatever reason, it's in 30 languages now. It's a worldwide phenomenon. It seemed to have spoken to some pretty universal human need of our time. 

IO: Do you think that as a culture and as a world, we are more receptive, more conscious, more emotionally sophisticated, more ready for accepting books that deal with this area? 

DG: It may be that we're more desperate, that life today is more stressful than ever, that we are less rooted, that we have less community, that we are more distant from our loved ones, that people are more isolated than in the past. In other words, it may be that there is more pain of an emotional sort than has been the case in much of human history. 

IO: Have we learned anything lately? Is there any notable piece of research that has caught your eye or your imagination, that surprised you, startled you, or was something that you didn't know? 

DG: In my most recent book, “Social Intelligence," there is a section on new research on love, and one of the things that helped things fall into place for me was to understand that there are three different brain systems involved in love. One is caring for people you spontaneously want to take care of in your life, and [for whom] you feel some responsibility. The second is attachment. These are the people you miss if they are not there, people that you would feel abandoned by if they weren't in your life. The third is good old sex and romance.

It turns out that the most vibrant relationships have all three going at full throttle. That was a helpful insight to me.

InsideOut Interview: Pattie Boyd


PATTIE BOYD on Demystifying the Muse-Makers
Q&A by Owen Lipstein 

Original Photography by Pattie Boyd 

Limited Edition Prints at

Photo captions excerpted by InsideOut from “Wonderful Tonight" by Pattie Boyd (2007 Harmony Books)

Pattie Boyd was a young British fashion model when something in the way she moved attracted Beatle George Harrison, who wrote "Something” — perhaps the greatest love song of all tine — in her honor. They married. Enter Eric Clapton, who is immediately attracted to Pattie, writes "Layla" for her, and wins her over. Exit George. Eric writes "Wonderful Tonight," succumbs to drug abuse; Pattie leaves him. 

Fast forward: Enter Eric Clapton, who (while succumbing to drug abuse), becomes obsessively attracted to Patty. He writes "Layla” (for Patty) and, ultimately, wins her over. Exit George: Patty and Eric marry. Their relationship is tumultueous. Eric writes "Wonderful Tonight” (for Patty). He transitions from heroin to alcohol. Eric cheats on Patty. Patty leaves him. 

Next: Pattie talks to us...

"While he waited for me he was in the sitting room, fiddling with his guitar.... When I finally got downstairs and asked the inevitable question 'Do I look alright?' he played me what he'd written: It's late in the evening... It was such a simple song but so beautiful and for years it tore at me. To have inspired Eric, and George before him, to write such music was so flattering. Yet I came to believe that although something about me might have made them put pen to paper, it was really all about them." 

OWEN LIPSTEIN: What would you say are the occupational hazards of being a muse, of being held up as this person like Layla or the portraits in "Something” and "Wonderful Tonight"?

PATTIE BOYD: At the risk of sounding negative, I think it can encourage insecurity because when people meet me my immediate thought is that I am probably not going to [appear as] this wonderful person who has had songs written about her. We all have flaws, and I think that being put on a pedestal probably makes me more aware of the flaws that I have.

OL: Part of the theme of the songs was not only this ideal person, but in the case of "Something,” or "Wonderful Tonight," an idealized relationship that most relationships would have a hard time living up to, let alone ones that are so much in the public eye.

PB: You see, the thing about giving somebody a most wonderful compliment is that it takes a minute or three or four minutes, max, to actually say it. But a song, particularly these songs, last for years and years and years. Because we're all alive, [we all] have to keep moving on, and so something that was [true] for those minutes — it's difficult to freeze in ice. [But] this is what music does. It freezes that moment and it remains. To be the recipient of such wonderful adulation as these songs clearly are can be... Of course I was thrilled to pieces, but the negative side is as I have explained. 

"While the Beatles were recording the White Album, George wrote a song called 'Something,' which he released as his first A-side single with the Beatles. He told me, in a matter-of-fact way, that he had written it for me. I thought it was beautiful — and it turned out to be the most successful song he ever wrote... Frank Sinatra said he thought it was the best love song ever written."
OL: You say in the beginning of your book that the time was right to write this book. Why? It took courage to reveal all the details of your life.

PB: There are quite a few answers to this question. One is I had no idea that I was so exposed, and [that] anyone could go on the Internet and find out all sorts of things about me. I had no idea about that until my sister-in-law pointed it out. I was quite shocked that I was a public person, because I thought I was a very private person. That's No. 1. The other thing is that some people suggested that I do a photographic exhibition. I didn't think that I had any photographs that were worthy of an exhibition: however, I was thrilled with the reception I received in San Francisco after this exhibition. I felt better about myself, and that maybe I had something to offer.

And also I saw a psychotherapist for two years. You go through an awful lot of background stuff — the reasons that we are the way we are, and the choices that we have made. I don't know. I think I was becoming more comfortable with talking about myself and what had gone on in my life. To talk to someone who is a professional person and can allow me to see it in a subjective way — I found that it really helped in writing a book. 

"I think owning that huge house and garden created confusion in him. It was a constant reminder of how rich and famous he was, and that gave him a sense of power, but in his heart he knew that he was just a boy from Liverpool who was extremely talented and had got lucky. He had embraced spirituality with an obsessive intensity, yet he wanted to experience everything he had missed by becoming famous so young. He once told us that he felt something in life was evading him. But he wouldn't — perhaps couldn't — go out and be normal." 

OL: Who decided to write the memoirs first — you or Eric — or was it simultaneous? 

PB: Oddly enough, the man who wrote the book with him, Christopher Simon Sykes, asked me if I would help because he was writing Eric's memoir, and I agreed to help. But between the time of [our initial contact] and when we eventually spoke, I’d realized that maybe it was about time I started to do my own book, something I'd been slightly reluctant to do for many years, even though I'd been asked to write one. I was just needing a push. This was the push. So I told Christopher that I was very sorry, and that I [had] decided to write my own book; and even though I’d love to help him, I thought perhaps it wouldn't be a good idea, and perhaps I should save it all for mine. 

OL: Are you comfortable with the account of you in Eric's book? Does it square with your sense of reality?
PR: Yes, of course; you know it runs almost parallel to what I have said about our relationship. But you know everybody has their own take, their own view, their own attitude [about] any situation in life, in any sort of given moment. Everybody has a different story, although they basically sound the same. 

"To my complete horror, Eric said, 'I have to tell you, man, that I'm in love with your wife.' I wanted to die." 

"He was on tour when a new Ferrari was delivered.... I told Eric on the phone that a new car had arrived and asked if I could bring it to the airport to meet him. 'Yes, yes, yes,’ he said. ‘That would be lovely.’ ... I stayed in the car when we arrived at the airport, and Linda went into the terminal building to find Eric. Inside, she saw Roger and told him I was waiting. 'What car is she in?’ he said urgently. 'The new Ferrari,’ she said. He looked worried — he knew what was about to happen. Eric was furious with me. He said, 'Someone has driven it before me. I can't drive it now. I'll have to sell it.”

OL: Having a ringside seat watching the effect of world celebrity on these two relatively young men — what can you tell us about the occupational hazards of that? These were really just boys. George was 21; Eric was older, and dealing with adoration and the availability of members of the opposite sex. What does that do to an individual? 

PB: There are those moments that can chip [away] at one's insecurities about how one is, or how one looks, or things like that. The other point is that it can be really time-consuming to have your eye on your man all the time, or as often as you can, because you know damn well there's going to be some present female ready to behave badly. That's kind of exhausting, really. It is not a relaxing lifestyle.  

OL: And it must be unhealthy for the relationship. 

PB: Exactly. It's corrupting to a relationship. It’s corrupting to him as well as to her. It makes it uncomfortable for her, and it gives him a different perspective of women and also [of] himself. It makes him feel far more powerful than probably he should be feeling. That's not good for him. That's not good for any man. I know politics do it to men, and I think being a rock star does it. People in the large businesses probably experience some version it. 

OL: Do you think your life with either one of these guys would have been different if they had merely been journeymen musicians, the kind of musician Eric often talks about wanting to be — just a guy who does great music and isn't recognized as such? 

PB: It's a hypothetical question. I don't know. I suppose it would have been a lot calmer, and probably would have been a more normal life, and a more natural way of having a relationship with somebody. 

OL: Do you think at the end of the clay, if George or Eric could do it all over again, they would have preferred that life as opposed to the life they had? 

PB: George would have preferred more of a low-key life. He found it more difficult to deal with fame and adulation. 

OL: Your book has been on The New York Times Best Seller List. How do you explain the success of it? Are you surprised that you are getting such an audience here? 

PB: I'm totally, totally surprised. I really didn't think that it would be received with such enthusiasm. I can't explain it. I think it is probably people being interested in me, No. 1, but also being interested in the whole mystery of being a muse. 

"By the time Eric and I went upstairs to bed (it was our wedding night) it was daylight. We were ready to drop — but Mick and Jerry were tucked up and fast asleep in our bed... Trust Mick to have found the best bed in the house.”

OL: I also think one of the reasons it is being so well-received by a generally critical press is that you have managed a sense of forgiveness in the book. I think they were both shits, and I’m a guy. How did you get there?

PB: I must say I am ultimately a positive person, and continue to remain so. I just thought and hoped at the time that things would get better, that our relationship would ultimately turn around and be as I wanted it to be. It was a desire on my part, and probably on theirs, but I think they were so terribly distracted that it became impossible.

OL: You have discovered that the photographs you have of your life then are art that people want to look at. Photography is something you do now. Talk to us about that.

PB: When I was young I was a fashion model, and I used to hang out with photographers, really. I realized I would like to see and understand what they see behind the camera. I was in a very fortunate position to be able to get first-hand lessons from most of them. I bought my own camera, and then would just take photographs all the time. It would irritate some people and other times it wouldn't, but I really should have taken more than I did.

After Eric and I split up, I went through a real down period in my life, because I think I hadn't mourned the end of my relationship with George, so it was a double whammy. I really was very depressed for an extremely long time. I couldn't really work out what I was going to do with my life. The thing that was closest to me was my camera. I’d forgotten that l'd had all these photographs.

It wasn't until I started having a look at certain things that I came across this wonderful sort of collection that I'd had all the time. After we split up, I started working for some magazines and newspapers in England, and it was after that that I started looking in boxes and envelopes finding these pictures. 

OL: It was like an undiscovered treasure. 

PB: It certainly was like that. There were these envelopes. On the outside I had written "Gary Brooker in Poland," because I had been to Poland with Gary Brooker and his wife, because he was conducting the state orchestra there. And I opened the envelope and it wasn't — it was the Beatles in England. How unbelievable. I'd totally forgotten that I'd taken these or indeed that I kept them. But I never found Gary's photos, by the way. 

OL: You have snapshots of some incredible people who were in your life. What are your memories of John Lennon? 

PB: John was fantastic. John was the most incredibly interesting person to be around. He was totally unique. You never knew what he was going to say. He was great fun. He was a bit scary as well, but on the whole I thought he was wonderful fun. He was great, very interesting, and clearly so talented. 

OL: What about Paul? 

PB: Paul liked to play practical jokes, as far as I can remember. He was kind of fun, but in a completely different way — not like John at all. 

OL: In your book there is a feeling that you kind of regret that you left George. Is that a correct perception? It’s almost as if had things not happened the way they did, you might have stayed in that marriage and seen it out.

PB: Yeah. I probably would have done.

"The Beatles lived an unreal life and other musicians were the only people who shared it. They had found fame when they were so young..." 

OL: Is there any anger that this marauding friend came and stole you away? 

PB: To be honest with you, as I had been in my book, I have been through moments over the years of being angry with somebody interfering in my marriage, but then on the other hand, that was how I was at that age. Those were the decisions I made. But probably now at this point in my life, I wouldn't have listened to temptation in that way that I did then. 

OL: What about drugs? So much of Eric's story is about addiction, and you talk about it in relation to George — that Eric was one person when he was into cocaine, and one when he wasn't. How did the omnipresence of this sort of thing affect everybody who was in that world? 

PB: I wasn't really with Eric when he was on heroin. What he did was he locked himself away in his house, and didn't really come out. I didn't see him during that period in his addiction. 

OL: In your book, Eric says, "Pattie, if you don't leave your husband, I am going to take this heroin," and she says, 'No, you really shouldn't do that," and he says, "OK," and off he goes and writes the mother of all love songs, and becomes a heroin addict. It is a little manipulative to threaten someone with taking heroin. Is that right? 

PB: Yeah, but you know what? That is what Eric said to me, but quite frankly I think that he'd probably been dabbling in it anyway. I mean nothing is that dramatic. Well, maybe it is. I realized later, after reading his book, that I didn't have to blame myself entirely for his heroin addiction because in fact, he had been sort of slightly dabbling anyway. 

OL: I think that if you read his book carefully and listen to his songs, he had a romance with destruction and seeing the dark side. 

PB: I also think that he's always been a survivor, meaning that he knew how far he could go because he ultimately knew when to pull back. He would never be one of those addict casualties, as it were. 

"John and Paul wrote most of their songs together — they sparked off each other — but George wrote on his own." 

OL: Is it a relief for you not to be around famous people, or are you still around famous people all the time? 

PB: I’m still around famous people, I'm sorry to tell you, because we've all known each other since we were 20. I don't really think about it in the way that maybe people who very rarely bump into famous people might. 

OL: So having lived in that world so long, it's just part of who you are. 

PB: Yes. I mean, we all know who we are. It doesn't make my day. I know so many musicians and I have known them since I was 20, really, so when we hang out, we hang out. That's it. 

OL: It probably demystified your own sense of being a muse, and therefore you just demystified the muse-makers. 

PB: Yes, well done. 

OL: This is our love issue, and my question is: Is there anything that you can communicate about the nature of love that you could pass on? What have you learned? 

PB: I think what is the most important thing about love is a continual conversation, so that people don't stop communicating with each other. If you lose what the other person is feeling and thinking, that's the last stop before dying. Always communicate. Otherwise, you can drift apart.

InsideOut Interview: Pete Seeger

by Owen Lipstein

Owen Lipstein: Beacon seems to be a place where things are really starting to happen. What's your perspective on that? 

PS: Little Beacon, like most of the river towns, is a very conservative little place. Franklin Roosevelt never carried Dutchess County. He might have carried the country, but not Dutchess County. [Beacon was] a factory town, originally Dutch and English, and then they became the Irish in the 1830s and '40s. And then Italians and people from Eastern Europe. Then in World War I, the Ottoman Empire was broken up, and we got a whole lot of Greeks, Turks, and Arabs. My neighbors are from Lebanon — they are pillars of the community now — [but] when they first came they were camping out. They didn't have money to build a house. Their kids lived in trees. Then following World War II, we had a big influx of Latin Americans and African Americans. The Hudson River was so dirty then that the ghetto of every town was along the river where the poor people lived. Who wanted to live near the stinking river? The well-to-do people lived in the hills a mile or two away, or more. The good and bad are so tangled up now. The Clearwater sparked off a building boom. The Hudson Valley is now doubling in population every 20 years. That can't go on forever.

OL: People are more involved as a group to clean up and realize the importance of the river, and it's never been cleaner.

PS: One of the new developments, not just here but in many parts of the world, is people are learning that they can start little projects which will improve their city. Manhattan now has 800 community gardens. Can you imagine that?

OL: That's the good news, that there are people who realize that little things can make a difference.

PS: Also in New York, there is a hiking club called the Shorewalkers. They don't go off and hike the beautiful Appalachians; they hike around the shores of the five boroughs. I confess that when I was a kid I was very against cities. I remember looking out of my parents' apartment — they were music teachers at what is now Juilliard — and I saw a traffic jam. I said, "Cities are stupid ... why don't people live in the country? That's a sensible place to live." Well, at this late age in life, I am now convinced the cities will save the world, because in the cities you learn how to live on the same block with somebody who looks different, who goes to a different church, who eats different food, dresses differently. In a small town people say, "Oh, isn't it nice to be here. I am away from those people."

OL: It's much easier to live with your biases in the country.

PS: When you live on the same block with these people, speak a different language and so on, you can even learn to say "Good morning." That is one of the songs I am going to sing today — how do you say "Hello" or "Good morning" in some other language? And I'll get different people in the audience to say how.

OL: In the grand scheme of things, you see the good things that are happening. How do you reconcile that with the should-be-impeached George Bush and the shocking decline of this country? 

PS: God only knows what the future is going to be. He gave us brains, and if we use them, I think we have a 50-50 chance of the human race being here in 100 years. There's a little story I told in a book that I hope to get to press in a month or so. Imagine a big seesaw. One end of the seesaw is on the ground, because on that end there's a big basket of rocks in there. The other end of the seesaw has got a basket one-quarter full of sand. Some of us have teaspoons. We're trying to fill up that one with more sand. Most people are laughing at us. They say, "Don't you see it's leaking out as fast as you put it in. People like you have been trying for thousands of years, but you're wasting your time." 

We say, "No, we're looking at it closely and that basket of sand is slowly filling up. We're getting more people with teaspoons all the time." We think that one of these days, that basket of sand is going to be more than half full, and that whole seesaw will go zoooop in the other direction, and people will ask how it happened so suddenly. The whole world will realize, unless we start working together, there will be no human race here. 

OL: How do you explain your own appeal over time across generations, across ages, across genders, across political beliefs? How do you explain the grace that you've had in putting your message out? 

PS: I don't have a great voice, but I did learn some great songs. If I get people joining in to sing them, they find it's kind of fun to sing. Way back, almost 100 years ago, in 1910, John Philip Sousa, a great band leader, said, "What will happen to the American voice now that the phonograph has been invented?" 

It's true. Men used to sing in bars; now they've got a TV set there. Women used to sing lullabies to their kids; now it's 'Oh, put the kid in front of the tube and he'll fall asleep." I'm not as optimistic as people think. Matter of fact, if I'd been there thousands of years ago when somebody invented the wheel, I would have said, "Don't!" On the other hand, we have been given brains. You know what Einstein said? "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." 

OL: You have said, "Participatory music is so simple at heart. My music allows people to participate." Would you comment on that? 

PS: My guess is that participation is a basic human need because for hundreds of thousands of years we lived in small tribal groups, and if we didn't participate, we would die. When there was food, it was all shared. Somebody shot a deer, there was no icebox, so you cut it up in little pieces and everybody in the tribe got a piece. If there was hunger, everybody was hungry. The chief was hungry. The wife and children were hungry. No thought of one person well-fed and then next door someone not well-fed. This is a very ancient tradition, and I think it's in our genes. For tens of thousands of years, maybe millions of years, our ancestors have been walking on two feet, and we started walking on two feet, we started throwing stones and swinging clubs. This probably accounts for the popularity of golf and baseball and tennis. 

OL: How do you explain Beacon's renaissance? 

PS: I can't explain it with any one thing, but little things, like this little strawberry festival every June for now almost 30 years. 

OL: Your little tablespoon theory? 

PS: Teaspoons. I have friends in the Teaspoon Brigade. You should come here on the last Saturday of every September. We have a big block party on Main Street and you wouldn't believe it. It started 25 years ago. There was a race riot at the high school and in trying to cool things off, they started to have a Spirit of Beacon Day. It started with a few hundred, then grew to a thousand and has steadily grown. Last year there were 7,000 or 8,000 people on the Main Street of Beacon. For $10 you can rent a little table and you can give away [some of your material there], or you can sell something to drink or something to eat, and there will be different kinds of music. The last two years we've had some women from India with beautiful colored saris dancing to Indian music with 200 people watching them. 

OL: Who are your heroes? 

PS: Well, I've got a whole batch, but one of the main ones is Martin Luther King. 

OL: Could you tell us why? 

PS: When I was young, I thought of myself as an atheist, but now I am very ecumenical. Martin Luther King taught me some real important political lessons. He started with sitting down on a bus. That's a little side issue. You aim at something you can win at. You aim for one of your opponent's weak points and you capture it. And then you aim for another weak point and you capture it, and finally you get to more important things like housing and education and voting, and in the long run, you have to admit we're struggling against something in our genes that says, "Don't trust people who look different." 

I only met him twice. When I first met him I sang the song "We Shall Overcome," and a friend of mine drove him the next day up to a speaking engagement in Kentucky, and she remembers him in the backseat saying, "'We Shall Overcome' — that song really sticks with you, doesn't it?" It was not well known then. It was a friend of mine that made it well known.

At the founding convention of a student nonviolent coordinating committee, my friend Guy Keroan, another white man, was there, and he taught the song to a few people months before, and they shouted out, "Guy, teach us all 'We Shall Overcome,'" and it was the hip song of the weekend. Then after the weekend, people all went to their homes, whether it was in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, or West Virginia, and a month later, this wasn't a song, it was THE song.