tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg April 15, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
>> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: david brooks is here. he writes about politics culture, and social science. he also teaches a class at yale university. his new book explores some of the greatest leaders in history. the book is called "the road to character.” to my parents, lois and michael brooks. have they read it? david: they are my best and harshest critics.
you had to steal yourself for them. they say, shorten this. charlie: in the end, the thesis -- david: the book starts out with a basic distinction. there are resume virtues. we bring those to the marketplace. are you a good teacher, lawyer. there are eulogy virtues. were you passionate, honest, courageous? capable of deep love? we all know eulogy virtues are more important. but the way we raise kids, it is for resume virtues. a lot of us including myself are clear on how to build a good career than character. this is a book to discover, how do we build the eulogy?
the kind of eulogy we want to have? it is an exclamation of lives. people who did great things and were great internally. charlie: you came to this because it was about your life. tell me about that. david: i achieved more career success than i ever thought. things happen. i got more career success permit i learned the elemental truth, it does not make you happy. you have moments where your heart opens up. i remember driving home. my kids were young. afternoon, they are in the backyard, kicking a all in the air. the sun is coming. the grass is green. they are running after the ball. it is a moment where time stands still. reality over spills its barriers and you feel a wave of gratitude.
your heart is open. you become aware of a higher moral joy than anything you get in career. you become aware of your insides. you think, how am i inside? then i would meet people occasionally. i would meet people who radiated and inner light. i visited women who do immigrant training, teaching immigrants to read. it can take years and years. they are not pretentious people. they are patient. good. they make you feel important. they are not thinking about what great work they are doing or thinking about themselves. you feel a warmth. you think, i get to be on tv and right looks. write for the new york times but i do not have that. i would like to get that. i figure, how do you get that?
we all have a moral responsibility to be better every day. it did not emerge out of a crisis, but -- charlie: between the time you discover this idea and today how are you different specific ways? david: reading and writing a book does not make you a good person. you have to live it out. i still believe i screw up massively. i can be overly ambitious and desperate for love. sins i am aware of and myself. i feel i am more aware of more locations in my life. they can come in many forms. one thing that has changed, i know has changed, people never used to confide in me. i was on the move.
now i find people confide in me. sometimes i don't know what to say. a woman said, i'm a mathematician. my son was killed in a car crash. how do i make sense of that? of course, i did not know what to say. but i do know that i'm supposed to hug her. be present for her. i think i am more aware of what sadness and suffering can do. there is a quote, suffering carves into the basement of your life and reveals you are not who you think you are. reveals a cavity below. you can become aware of yourself. you say, how can i take moments of suffering and turn them into some meaning? the other thing i hope i am better at is a capacity for
vulnerability. love. the awareness that love de-centers the self. charlie: do you care less about the resume? david: no. it is not about renouncing. it is about balance, when i write a column, it is a bad column. which happens about twice a week. i feel suffering for that. you still suffer from that. i want to do well, i want my book to do well. charlie: somehow having a passion for the work you are do, believing in the excellent of things, whether it is writing or other forms of journalism, or being a research scientist, that
has meaning and purpose. it is not about that as much as it is the wholeness of a life. to be open to and accepting of the other. david: i am a big dualist. early in the book, i quote from a rabbi. he has a concept that there are two adams. there is one that wants to build and celebrate. the other is internal, wants to be good and obedient to a truth. feel honor and goodness. the first adam asks how things work in the second asks why things exist. what i say is these two adams are in balance, sometimes they
are intention, but they live by different logic. the moral adam, it is not economic logic. you have to give up what you want to get what you want. you have to lose yourself to find your self. success leads to the greatest failure, which is pride. failure can lead to the greater success, which is humility and learning. you have to learn that. i don't think we come to that naturally. charlie: someone once said, and this may be too much of a cliche, are the days that you find out why and the day you were born. david: i have the concept of a call within a call. the first woman in the cabinet.
she was an activist, doing good work for labor rights and other things. she witnesses a fire. she sees people hurling themselves to death rather than be burned. she sees a guy take the women who are seamstresses, helping them into . he kisses his girlfriend. and drops her. she witnesses this. her call was purified. it became not about her success or status or money. doing the job of being activist excellently. she became an instrument in the cause. she goes to albany, she is trying to lobby. they will not pay attention to her because she is a woman in the1920's.
she keeps a folder called, notes on the male mind. she dresses like their mother. like an 80-year-old woman. becomes an amazing activist. then goes to work for franklin roosevelt. charlie: everyone wants to be loved by their mother and have their father think they are proud. david: even george marshall at the end of his life, said to his relative, to think my father would be proud of me? he did not know. charlie: abraham lincoln. lyndon johnson. david: there is a contrast. in my mind, lincoln was adam one and adam two. deeply humble and deeply good. had a capacity for rising above hatred. he is a moral exemplar to beat all.
the second inaugural is a testament to humility. lyndon johnson was something of a monster. he could say, i have achieved a lot. charlie: can you easily say it was not necessary to be however you define a monster in order to achieve what he achieved. it may have benefited people as much as frances perkins. david: when someone, like the people we cover, who are involved in scandal, it is because of something broken inside. the scandal never emerges out of nothing. their watergate will come. if you ignore your adam two, your watergate will come. i think we are endowed with a moral imagination.
we don't want to just have moments of happiness or success. that's great. all of us want to be good. it is part of our nature. charlie: nobody sets out to be bad. david: even mass murderers have rationalization why they are actually good. my students, wonderful kids at yale. it is so hard to get into gale. they have had to work very hard on the achievement side, but they really want to be good. one of them said, we are so hungry. to achieve that feeling of goodness. in my course, the nicest compliment i got was from a kid who said, i am a little sadder now. charlie: that is good. david: sometimes confronting your weakness, you have to be a little sad. then a transcendent feeling. character has this image that it is rigid and victorian. you build character by being
loving, becoming dependent. charlie: dependent. david: this is since the book. i used to think character was an iron figure inside. rigid self-discipline. i realized, none of us can defeat our own self-deception. we all need some thing outside. when we say somebody has character, it means they are rooted in something outside themselves. they are committed to a cause that cannot be completed in their lifetime. when you're looking for someone with great character, we are talking about someone who can make amazing commitments. to their faith, to their country. you are strong in here because you made amazing unshakable unconditional commitments. charlie: and maybe think about kennedy's inaugural. not the country can do for you
but what you can do for your country. david: my hero was marshall. he was a very unimpressive young man. he was afraid, intimidated. his dad was ashamed of him. he decided, i will serve the institution, the u.s. military. the institution will form my identity. i will never put myself above the institution. my favorite moment happens in 1943 or so read roosevelt is deciding who will command the d-day operation. he brings marshall to the oval office. marshall says, i will not put my own ambition above the good of the country. instead of saying yes, he says it is not about me, it is about you. do not worry about my personal ambition. roosevelt gives the job to
eisenhower. marshall was upset and crushed. that's what made him marshall. charlie: would it have been better if marshall had led the invasion, in any way? david: we don't know. he would not have in marshall. a lot of people are admired in history, but not of my by the people around him. marshall was revered by the people around him. there is no hint of scandal in his life. sometimes a little too perfect. he was committed to the service of the institution. we are all supposed to think outside the box, marshall was institutional. i serve this institution. it was here before i was born. it will be her after i am dead.
he was doing the non-glamorous job of transporting troops. he was not doing the glamour stuff. he had to endure long periods when he was not getting promoted. he was good at the nuts and bolts. eisenhower, in some ways his mom is the start. she decided, i'm going to get myself in education. she enrolled herself in high school, it's herself to kansas, goes to the university. teaches her son to control his weakness. charlie: why was what she did not about resume? david: it was, but she also raised five sons to adulthood. what she taught her sons
especially dwight, you have to conquer your weakness. in his case, temper, rage. we think have him as a pleasant kind of guy. that was a false front he put on. he knew he needed to be cheerful and optimistic. inside at night, anger, anxiety, sleep deprivation. he knew he cannot lead that way. he said, i am going to conquer my temper. some ways were shallow. he wrote people's names on a paper and threw it in the garbage can. but he created a front of cheerfulness because that is what he wants to project. keep the organization feeling good. people who achieved at one success, external, you want to build on your strengths. two build character, you want to transcend weaknesses.
charlie: why did you choose these examples? david: if i was an abstract philosopher, maybe i would have read philosophy. but i am a journalist, i learned from people. i got a great e-mail from a veterinarian i have never met. he wrote to me, what a wise person says is the least of what they give. what really gets communicated is the totality of their life. the small gestures of kindness and compassion. he says, ever forget, the message the person. charlie: the message is the person. david: pope francis. i am not catholic, i don't know what theology he is changing but i have a sense of him as the person. that communicates in a thousand ways how one would like to be. charlie: what is your sense of him as a man? david: a deeply humble man. the way christians are supposed
to be. living a life of giving and service. when you see someone like that the characters in my book. charlie: how much of this is spiritual? david: it is quite spiritual permit eisenhower's not that spiritual permit he was a good guy but not spiritual. some in the book are profoundly spiritual permit agustin. dorothy day, a woman i was transfixed with. she could not just read books. she lifted them out. she read a lot of dostoyevsky. she had the birth of a child. she writes of the birth of a child, if i had composed the
greatest symphony, i could not have felt a more exalted creator then i did when they placed my child in my arms. with that came the need to worship and adore. the love of her daughter spill in all directions. she became sometimes very self-critical, but radiated joy. she created a radical newspaper. communes. she built communities all around her. it came out of a spiritual flooding, a love for her daughter and for god. without that flooding, the joy would not have radiated out. montaigne is with another great hero of mine, samuel johnson. when my student said, it is like a west coast rapper and east coast rapper. they are both kind of shallow
and political. johnson is ernest. he said, what is my sin, sloth and cowardice? he writes this weight and becomes a great guy. montaigne is more like a california guy. i look at myself, i accept myself. i don't know how to die, but nature will teach me. i am always changing. if montaigne has some weakness this is the essence of humility, radical self honesty. he is an aristocrat, but he is so honest about himself. if he has a bad memory, he will tell you. if he has a small penis, he will tell you. he says, you have to accept yourself at some point. i still like to be loved too much. what is that? what bad behavior does that lead
to? how did i do today? was i present for them? maybe i was thinking about something else. was i really think it about what they were saying? was i thinking, how can i be clever? are you spending your time doing that? are you spending your time thinking about great spiritual figures? in a group discussion, thinking about how you have a second love? the kind you have, when you are older in a long marriage or relationship? that is different than the first love. if you are in a group of people you love and trust, you can talk through those problems. have a devoted time to those conversations? in some ways, it is a brute question of time. charlie: you once said to me
there was all this talk about introspection. understanding yourself. you said, is exactly the opposite. what you have to do is lose yourself in something greater than self. david: i will say one autobiographical thing. i took this column. for the first six months, i was getting a lot of criticism. i asked, how i might doing? that question was terrible for me. i was so self-aware, subconscious. once i stopped asking it, i don't know if i got better but i got happier. charlie: maybe there is virtue to not worrying about that. david: we live in a culture that
charlie: i want to read the last two paragraphs of acknowledgment. my parents. life has unexpected turns. my ex-wife sarah has done an amazing job raising our children. they are spread around the globe. and exemplify traits of character every parent dreams of. they do not need this book. i hope they profit from it. did this search have anything to do with the way you saw marriage? david: that is a good question. i am now divorced. don't really want talk about that. it certainly made me more aware of the things love does. how you think about love, how you fall for love, how you let
love like an army invade you and let yourself be conquered by it. there is that love. and the needy centering of the self, where you realize your riches are in another. montaigne said, love illuminates the decision between giving and receiving because you are so fused with another person that when you give them a gift, you get pleasure out of it. it made me reflect on things like love. hopefully i will be better next time. i think the process of thinking about it and writing about it, learning from dorothy day, how to love and what love is. hopefully it will make me a better lover day by day.
charlie: let me turn to the other job, the column about current events. this past week, we saw the announcement of hillary clinton. what is the test for her? david: giving us something new. if you look at candidates who succeeded, they have given us something new. obama, open and change. it was a remarkable campaign. we are looking to the future. george bush, compassionate conservatism. bill clinton had a new style of democrat. they give us something new for the time. the quality of imagination. does she have a quality of imagination that can combine things in new ways? that takes the imaginative polity, which is underappreciated and politics and the willingness to take risks. she is so close to the presidency, don't take risks just coast in. that rarely works. charlie: can you develop that at
a late stage in life? david: that is a good question. it is hard to think of people becoming more imaginative as they become older. but at some point, you say what the heck. lincoln, the gettysburg address. i assume she is capable of doing it. since between 1960, and barack obama, 60 senators ran for president. none one. they were not willing to take big risks and eat dirt. that, i think she can do. charlie: you think it is an appropriate test? david: it is part of being president.
it is a tough job. charlie: do you approve of the iran nuclear agreement? david: i do not. what is the nature of the regime? are they lenin or gorbachev? if they believe in their revolution, we can cut whatever deal we want and they will still try to export it. if they are gorbachev, they don't believe in it. it will take advantage of the deal to enter negotiations and the committee of nations. obama is betting they are gorbachev.
if he is right, this is a great thing. if they are lenin, it is destructive. they will get a lot of money to export their revolution. they will possibly have a nuclear weapon and it is a disaster. charlie: it is a risk worth taking? david: i want to see evidence they are gorbachev. there was a speech where they sounded like lenin. charlie: need you said, i made a career out of self-hatred. david: it was half a joke. i wrote a book called "bobos in paradise." charlie: there was something that went to the core of this. david: what i do is volley opinions. when he write a column, you're throwing out opinion. you know you could be wrong.
you throw it out because you hope it will provoke something any reader, viewer, listener. you try to provide them with a context. you volley something out there. you have a microphone on. you are aware that is a character challenge. certainly i have gone through moments of smugness. charlie: he said, he has self awareness. he has used public writings to wrangle with his own doubts, ambivalence, and self-reproach. david: i hope so. i hope that is true. charlie: you said, a vocation is
a calling. their life would be unrecognizable unless they pursued this line of activity. david: i was seven when i said i wanted to become a writer. i thought it was going to do broadway, be a playwright. i knew i was going to be a writer. i never had any doubt about that. i will never stop writing. i wanted to date a girl named bernice. i remember thinking, i write better than that guy. but she had other values. charlie: "the road to character." david brooks. you have said to me, when you talk about things like this, it gets much more response and residents. david: there is a quote that many people can think. very few people can see.
the reality as it is korea that radical honesty is some thing to aspire to. i feel embarrassed because i have spoken a lot about myself. hopefully one can try to do it with a sense of honesty. if you do it with honesty and vulnerability, there is humility in that. even i have probably spoken about myself too much. charlie: "the road to character." david brooks is the author. back in a moment. ♪
charlie: philip glass is here. he is one of the most influential composers of his generation. he prefers to call himself a composer of music with repetitive structures. he has created more than 20 operas, including symphonies. film scores. works for solo piano. his memoir takes a look at the life that accompanies the music. it is called "words without music." do you want to disagree with the introduction? philip: when people ask, i say i write theater music.
charlie: what is theater music? philip: opera, film, theater itself. it can be dance. anything that involves collaboration. charlie: collaboration and performance? philip: i'm talking about collaboration with movement, image, text, and music. i have done, i have written these things because someone asked me to write them. charlie: you decided to write another memoir. philip: i was asked, was by accident. i ended up doing it by myself.
what did i want to talk about? the people i know. charlie: you and up with this opening sentence. quote, if you go to new york city to study music, you will end up like your uncle henry traveling from city to city and living in hotels. that was my mother, ida glass. uncle henry -- philip: that is a pretty good reading. she was a school teacher librarian. the family wanted me to study music. we were not supposed to become
musicians. there was a history of musicians in the family, and that was considered not the best way, that was not what they had in mind for us. i was a young guy. i had gone to the early interests program, i graduated from university at 19. i did not go into medicine or law or anything reasonable. i decided to pursue what i wanted to do, which was music. charlie: god bless you for that. philip: my mother lived long enough to see me at metropolitan opera. we never referred to that conversation. my dad had a record store. she was a literary person.
she liked books. she was a librarian. charlie: she thought you had talent. philip: i don't pick she would have known. my dad like music. i would practice in the kitchen. i did not like playing alone. i was probably performing for my mother when i was eight or nine years old. charlie: is the ability to be able to create music either as a composer or vocalist, a player some different skill that people have? or is it something you can develop? philip: i think it is both really. for some reason, at least in the world of concert music or theater music, we tend to start young. that is not always true. the beatles were finishing art school when they formed a band they were in their 20's. that is common. not any world of concert music european art music.
i was six or seven years old. charlie: you began because you had some instinct. philip: i wanted to do it. this was also the phase where everyone should have some music education. my sister and brother had flannel lessons. i had to flute lessons. i was the only one who became a musician. i would say i bonded with music early. charlie: you said, when someone asks you, what does your music sound like, it sounds like new york city? philip: i was not born here. i discovered it. i talk about in that book. on my first train ride to chicago, an all-night ride. charlie: baltimore and ohio? philip: you remember that.
i remember the click and clack of the tracks. they turned off the lights. i could not go to sleep. i was so excited to be going. i was going away to school. with a couple of friends. i heard the sound of the train. i heard the sound of music in a lot of things. charlie: what influence did richard sarah have on you? philip: i was in paris on a fulbright. he was there on a yale traveling fellowship. he was a great, he was a very
good drawer. he developed those skills. we develop those skills. he got back to new york before i did. in 1969 or 1970. i came on the boat. we took the queen elizabeth. he said, don't worry. i've got my truck waiting for you. for moving furniture. one day he said, leo once me to do a show at uptown. can you come and work for me? i had been helping him at night. partly because he needed someone to move the stuff around. i did that for fun and also because i had the truck. i became his assistant for a number of years. charlie: you both had a passion
for jackson pollock. philip: and a number of other things. i had a layman's knowledge of painting. he took me to museums, gave me books to read. educated me so he could talk to me. charlie: he wanted to talk since somebody. philip: we were always good friends, but i got involved with his work up and until later. charlie: this is him talking about the importance of modern art. richard: the generation that comes after misinterprets the generation that comes before so it can either market or extend it. there is a key story -- a history of that through dada surrealism.
charlie: who challenged to you the most? richard: pollock. charlie: jackson pollock challenged you the most? richard: he broke the rules in a great way. you can go and look and it is still breathtaking. we need that expression. which we cannot understand in ourselves. artists open the door to that. poetry, music, great painting. it is what makes society rich. charlie: amazing. had the critics been good to you? philip: may have been confused. charlie: confused by what you are doing? philip: we were not doing what we were supposed to do.
we're supposed to follow in the track of marvelous music. they were fabulous composers. great, enormous talents. my generation said, why would we do that? they had already done it. it never occurred to us. i spent a lot of time with painters and sculptors. the rate of change is every 10 years. music is every 75 years. much slower. my generation, we turned the apple cart and started someplace else. one of the people, a very good critic of mine. when he first heard my music the title of his review was,
glass invents -- charlie: that gave birth to my question. philip: he became interested in music. he helped me write a book about music. sometimes, tim page was another fellow. he had a radio program at columbia university. one of these all-night video guys. he played my music. he became a writer about music. i cultivated critics who liked me. the ones i did not like, i did not read. charlie: what is the biggest misconception about the music you compose? philip: what is interesting about that, the music does not hardly ever repeat. if it repeated, it would be unlistenable.
what makes it interesting is it is changing. charlie: what makes people think it is repetitive? philip: it keeps repeating. but it is about transformation. which people were also doing in the art world. we were working. many of us in the theater. working towards a kind of nonnarrative expression. with beckett, he would take a piece and cut it up and put it back together. charlie: you are akin to beckett in what you are doing? philip: i was running music for his plays in paris. we had a little theater company. we were expatriates, i was studying music there.
we were working with this material. he was very friendly. he did want to spend any time with us, but i wrote music for him. for about eight of his plays. charlie: what do think you would do if you could not do music? philip: it never occurred to me to do anything else. charlie: how lucky are you? philip: i was in between the vietnam and korean wars. i slipped through the window. i did not have to go in the army. charlie: his amplified ensemble of wins focused on the basis of addition and subtraction. philip: very good. i think that is a good description. what happened later on is i became, by the 1990's, i got
interested in all the things i had repudiated. i began doing operas based on films. romantic stories. i decided, let's do that now. i got interested, i became interested in narrative work. i did einstein. i met him in a band in new york city. we took einstein, that was years later, we took it to paris. i was interested, i became interested in everything eventually. i started from a narrow place. i had a very good music education, not only from juilliard. i had the technical equipment. i began with a very reductive place and i expanded from that.
they are very rich, in terms of the depth and thickness of the music. they are not necessarily what people would call minimalism. charlie: you don't like minimalism. philip: i liked it when i get it, but it was over by 1975 or 1976. after einstein, an opera about gandhi. that was the first piece where i brought social issues into the opera. i got interested in how do we as artists, had we talk about the world we live in? i got adjusted in social change for nonviolence. much later, it was here in new york. one of the things i liked about the theater was we could include
ideals. he is talking about the impact of technology on traditional life. things that are threatening, exhilarating, and maddening. charlie: are you interested in how technology can enhance music? philip: yes. however, to do that, i have run out of a certain kind of paper i like. i have to have it printed myself. they used to be five places in new york where you could buy music paper. i have to send away for it now. charlie: could you get it on amazon? philip: it is easier for me to print it myself. that is the starting place. i have a music staff in my
office. they put it into the computer. from there, we can make parts. a lot of the technology, i don't need it for writing music, but it is helpful preparing music for people to play. charlie: i am looking for the right word. i want to go out on “einstein on the beach.” give me the right words to introduce it. philip: that is a hard one. it was a surprise to everyone. we had come from, he came from the world of theater, i came from the world of music. we were in similar places. we put our talents together. we became great collaborators because we trusted each other. it was about how artists trusted each other to create new work. it was a work of collaboration.
what i would say, the way to enter it is, as young people, we were in our 30's. i think i was 35 or 36. he was younger than me. we did a piece no one had seen before. we had not seen it before, either. charlie: the book is called, "words without music. thank you. take a look at "einstein on the beach." ♪ >> i think people have heard about it. it is of interest to anyone. >> you kind of would listen to it and overtime -- you can
emily: live from peer three in san francisco, welcome to "bloomberg west." i'm emily chang. treasury secretary jack lew, will meet with the greek treasury from minister -- primus or, with greece trying to unlock money from its creditors. secretary lew: is no doubt that if this leads to a crisis like greece leaving the eurozone, it will cause an enormous amount of disruption in greece.