The Zoon Garden Team has completed the third week of their socially distant book tour across the United States – and, though the tour hasn’t always been easy, they are not shying away from the hard conversations that make the experience so unique. This week’s conversation is about “truth”: what it means to be honest, how perceptions of reality have become political, and how this theme has translated into the day-to-day work the team is doing on tour.
“For me, being honest is usually the most difficult when people ask a personal question or if I think my opinion might not be a popular opinion,” says Alan Kratz, the team’s General Manager. “I think being honest is akin to giving your own opinion of yourself more weight than others' opinion of you.”
In other words, honesty is deeply connected with self-respect. In order to speak your truth, you must respect yourself enough to take risks in conveying it. In a cultural landscape that is increasingly devoted to political rather than individual thinking, this self-respect becomes more important than ever.
“The key is not necessarily to find truth, but rather to shift the individual's mind to desire truth, not their tribe's dogma,” says author Jordan O’Donnell. “Media might be lying to us, but they are continuing to flourish because people take the lies as facts. A large portion of the society, on both sides, would rather hear the same myopic mimicries than hear the truth. To really begin to find truth, we must shift the populace's desires from lies which make them comfortable to the truth which hurts but sets them free.”
It’s not always easy to look truth in the eye. The Zoon Garden Team has taken their fair share of tough truths while on the road, as the pandemic continually forces them to re-calibrate their plans, adjust their itinerary, and adjust their safety measures according to shifting state regulations.
“As we continue to face more and more adversity we have had to be more and more honest,” says O’Donnell. “It is easy to be open and honest when things are going well. As the trip has become more difficult, we were faced with the choice to avoid annoying truths or to embrace them, talk about them, and become better because of them. Our adherence to honesty has led to tough conversations – but helped forge the team's bond.”