this I believe

Scott Indermaur

Life is full of contradictions and inconsistencies, often in those moments when we yearn for clarity. As the author Scott Turow noted about our efforts to grapple with uncertainty in the stories of our lives, "The purpose of narrative is to present us with complexity and ambiguity."  Issues that appear, at first glance, to be in sharp black and white relief quickly drift into shades of gray.  Beth Taylor reflects on distressingly ambiguous matters of war and peace.

Scott Indermaur

Years ago famed sociologist Erving Goffman wrote about a concept he dubbed "impression management." Goffman's thesis was rather simple, yet quite elegant: People have a tendency to manage the impressions others have of them. Sometimes our efforts are designed to convince other people to like us, hire us, vote for us, marry us, or maybe buy something from us.  The motives we have to manage the way people see us are as varied as the myriad life goals we carry around – some noble and, well, some not.

This I Believe New England: Identity

Nov 7, 2017
Scott Indermaur

The famed writer and poet Gertrude Stein once said, ''Growing has no connection with audience. Audience has no connection with identity." Stein's claim, it seems, is that our true identity is embedded deep within each of us and develops over the years in its own inexorable way.  Sometimes this journey is relatively smooth.  Alas, sometimes it's not, as we hear in this encore essay by Alex Myers. 

This I Believe New England: Never Too Late

Oct 31, 2017
Scott Indermaur

Have you ever had one of those aha moments when you thought to yourself – or perhaps exclaimed out loud – "I have got to do something different with my life!"  

This I Believe New England: Honesty

Oct 24, 2017
Scott Indermaur

Telling the truth.  The words are so easy to say.  Alas, there are times in life when fulfilling the act is not so easy.

This I Believe New England: Paperbacks

Oct 18, 2017
Scott Indermaur

When Johannes Gutenberg introduced mechanical movable type and the printing press to the world in the fifteen century, he could not have imagined that some 600 years later we would be reading books on digital screens after we've downloaded the tomes using Wi-Fi.  In Gutenberg's day, people had no choice but to turn pages.  Today, we have the option to advance pages electronically, convert text to voice, and conduct instant online word and dictionary searches.

This I Believe New England: Tolerance

Oct 11, 2017
Scott Indermaur

September 11, 2001.  The intense, dramatic images are seared into our collective memory.  Several years later, a proposal to build an Islamic mosque and cultural center on the World Trade Center site ignited a national controversy that has smoldered ever since. Today there are plans to build a 43-story luxury condominium instead.  As we hear in this encore essay by Bill Miles, what has become known as 9/11 has produced a complicated legacy of ideological and political challenges and, most importantly, continues to teach us profoundly important lessons about tolerance.  


Scott Indermaur


Life, it seems, is so complicated at times that it's tempting to reduce its complexity to truisms, cliches, aphorisms, shibboleths, and platitudes.  This isn't always the result of intellectual laziness.  Sometimes, we reduce complexity to simplicity to avoid feeling overwhelmed, perhaps in a desperate effort to make sense of it all.  But don't we know that to truly grasp life's intricacies, entanglements, and nuances, we need to look through lenses positioned at all of the pertinent angles—admittedly a laborious and time-consuming task?  And isn't that what being thoughtful is all about Mike Fink seems to think so. 

This I Believe New England: You Never Know

Sep 26, 2017
Scott Indermaur

If there's any certainty in life, it may be this: life is uncertain.  Some people with truly dire medical prognoses recover, perhaps for reasons we'll never understand.  You never know.  Some stellar athletes are labeled "can't miss" and then, well, miss.  You never know.  Some students are mired in the academic basement and, to everyone's amazement, blossom and move to the head of the class.  You never know.  Wisdom, it seems, is accepting life's inevitable uncertainty, and learning from the lessons it can teach us about how to live, as we hear from B.J. Whitehouse. 


Scott Indermaur

Race in America.  What a complicated issue.  As a nation, we've wrestled with the complex legacy of our treatment of Native Americans, the painful history of slavery, and, more recently, what it means to be a person of color, an immigrant, a refugee.  The public policy implications of our ruminations are so very challenging, ranging from issues of reparations to affirmative action to immigration.  There seems to be no end to controversy, debate, and competing narratives.

Scott Indermaur

It’s no secret that many people struggle in life: job-related problems, relationship challenges, mental health issues, financial uncertainty.  The list goes on and on.  Yet, some people are remarkably resilient in the face of chronic adversity.  Against daunting odds, they manage to flourish amidst nearly overwhelming challenges.  InParadise Lost, John Milton wrote, “Even the demons are encouraged when their chief is ‘not lost in loss itself.”  Noah Kilroy has much to say about coping with adversity and despair and, ultimately, rising from the proverbial ashes.  


This I Believe Rhode Island: Honest Talk

Sep 5, 2017

We're born.  We live.  We die.  It sounds so simple, so linear.  We know better, of course.  Much better.  

One of Rhode Island's great virtues is its remarkably rich mix of cultures, ethnic groups, and religions.  Since Roger Williams' famed arrival in 1636, Rhode Island has served as home for generations of immigrants and refugees from every one of the world's continents.  The world Roger Williams imagined embraced true tolerance, and in many ways our Ocean State his lived up to this noteworthy virtue.  Alas, there are exceptions – exceptions that test the depth of Rhode Islanders' belief in Roger Williams' ideals, a challenge with echoes in this essay by Padma Venkatraman. 


How often do you stop to think about how important trust is in your life?  The trust you had as a child that your parents would care for you.  The trust that your spouse, partner, or dear friends would be there for you, even on the bad days. The trust that our political leaders truly have our interests at heart.  We hope, of course, that trust is more than a mere leap of faith.  As Ernest Hemingway said, "The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." Thirteen-year-old Faith Felder seems to have learned just that at a very young age.   


This I Believe Rhode Island: Fleeting Moments

Aug 15, 2017

Memories are central to our lives. We seem to need them, sometimes to relive glorious moments, sometimes to process traumatic events, sometimes to separate the wheat from the chaff of our lives.