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I'm Waleed Aly. Hi there and welcome to Big Ideas, today, Amongst our selection of short cuts between evolution and ethics. philosopher Peter Singer on the link are disowning Israel Why young, Jewish Americans of storytelling. plus John Bell on the importance Our national myths occupy holy ground and we find it hard to accept for instance, that the ANZAC soldiers,

individuals. were not all pure and noble to bolster our own identity, We need them to be what it is to be Australian. to help define stories of valour and sacrifice, We need heroes, role models, and to tell us who we are. something to live up to a little later. More from actor/director John Bell is the buzzword of the moment First up though, social networking on community life but how does the online world impact in the real world? this topic The Woollahra Festival tackled a real-world town hall discussion by convening to look at the pros and cons 'invisible cities'. of what's being called Malcolm Turnbull, The panel included politician Rachel Botsman, collaborative consumption whizz and mental health expert Ian Hickie, of good cyber citizenship who emphasises the importance to combat online bullying. I would suggest, What there is a need for, much more actively engaged is the adult generation to be like you probably are, and parents and citizens through parents and friends, with your school communities community to know what's going on. and need to be engaged in the online going on, in fact, with young people But there's a great deal of work safer communities in themselves building about how to behave online and building rules and etiquette and it has already included - didn't for generations - in a way that real communities

and how to deal with that. issues like excluding bullying and the nasty bitchy things And dealing with exclusion in real communities, that people have always done to become more mature citizens. in schools as they learn

it's been exaggerated online So I think it's - I do think and exaggerated by fearful parents in those communities who are not used to being

for all of us to be in it more and so the responsibility in other areas and be concerned. and to model as we would I mean, the opportunity exists, sure,

young people are doing themselves but I'm pretty impressed by what communities as safe as possible about trying to make those mental health issues - and take those other general

and promoting social cohesion - reducing exclusion, reducing bullying into their online environments. I think most of what is going on And so, of the parental generation is in fact way beyond the anxiety to be really engaged. but it is one in which we need the parents as well. So I think you need to empower And I think something schools can do to talk to each other is encourage parents the kids, but from other parents and find out, not just from they could stay up till X o'clock whether they really did say they're giving. or how much pocket money need to get together - I think parents Band together! understand some of the technology - Well, just get together and try and the kids are doing themselves, But isn't it interesting, that's what all of this stuff, they're together online discussing from the thing - it's the isolation of parents Yeah. Disenfranchised. And I think that issue - is the effect of technology the one we're concerned about in shifting times. on sleep-wake cycles, actually, In a discussion about parents - turn these things off, you can actually like the TV for a previous generation a previous generation before that - or even the telephone for But it's much harder, isn't it, is in a kid's room because generally the computer where the TV was in the lounge room. 'Well, my kid's bedroom is sacred.' But these sort of issues - you say, (Laughter) Well, since when? a nine-year-old, I'm having an argument with because everyone does now. she's got to have her own bedroom That's my point. I go, 'Well, do they?' So, there's a kind of issue - in some ways, I think there are issues about, between children and their parents a different set of relationships promoting pro-social behaviours where there's a disengagement about think worried about quite so much. which other generations, I don't and then I want to come to Malcolm. Rachel wants to butt in Um, I think it's this myth in their bedroom, that kids are engaging technology in schools, it's actually in their phones, as an insult - so I actually - I don't mean this a generational gap but that's actually their bedroom on their computer.' when you say, 'They're in

IAN: You can say it here, it's OK! with under-18s, I did a lot of research because it's not real-time. they think email is archaic I wanted to make is But the serious point been a whole series of suicides, I was just in the US and there's

invented for social network suicide I mean, there's actually a term now in the space of six months and it's been like 40 was actually a young boy and the latest one that he was homosexual who had just come out and filmed the sexual act and his roommates set him up over the network and then broadcast it and the child committed suicide. are very ignorant Now, this is where kids the law plays a critical role and this is where I actually think do these things maliciously, because kids often don't they don't even think about them

you don't have that moment of logic, and the web is so instant,

that moment of being rational. we need to do a much better job And this is where I think with kids in schools -

there's a huge ignorance barrier in terms of they don't think about the information they post,

they don't think of the implication when they Accept Friend. They don't think about when they're posting photos. And I haven't seen one school curriculum that actually educates kids about privacy, about transparency, about information, and it has to be taught from people that relate to them, not from old professors - 'cause they don't understand what they're doing. (Laughter) Sorry. I'm gonna recount that. We just want to know who's older. Before things get out of hand - RACHEL: I didn't mean you. IAN: Except us. OK. I think what Rachel's demonstrated is that people can be cruel and cutting even not on the Internet. (Laughter) People are harsh in real life. That's right. Very, very, very mean.

Can I just say a couple of things about this because as a politician I get a lot of abuse - you get a lot of abuse - but I get a lot of abuse on the Internet which doesn't trouble me, I've got a very thick skin in my line of work, as you know. But Rachel's right, the Internet is rapidly moving to mobile wireless platforms like iPads or iPhones and all the host of other devices so the days when little Johnny will be accessing the Internet on the computer sitting on a desk somewhere, I mean, it's all - it is a mobile platform so you'll almost need a metal detector to get the device away from him now. Second point is, I think there is an issue about anonymity

on the Internet. You will have all seen that wonderful New Yorker cartoon, you know, with two dogs - one sitting on a chair at a keyboard of a computer looking down at the other dog who's on the floor and the dog at the computer looks down and says, 'On the Internet nobody knows you're a dog.' And which to me sums up a lot about the Internet. And of course, our dogs do have their own blogs. So, um, but people will say and do the most extraordinary things online under the cloak of anonymity. And, you know, it is - I've had this experience, I get - I don't get them so much because I respond to all my emails but I'll get an email from somebody which is really abusive, you know,

'You are a dreadful fascist swine.' And all that sort of abusive stuff and I'll generally write back and say something like 'You've really got to stop drinking so heavily.' (Laughter) Or 'I hope that made you feel better.' 'I suppose it's better than beating somebody up.' And basically take the mickey out of them. The next email comes back and says, 'Oh my God, I didn't realise you read the emails.' And I have - there are a couple of people who ended up starting off with emails like that who ended up then offering to hand out for me on polling day. (Laughter) And it is quite - what I think a lot of people don't realise, particularly kids - and I agree with Rachel here - is how hurtful some of this stuff is. And if you - as we all know, and John's point is absolutely right, many of us, most of us here are parents, I guess, have had teenage children or have teenage children, they can be very cruel to each other and teenage girls can be incredibly cruel to each other. Give them the platform of the Internet and that cruelty can be amplified. And that's really the point

where I vaguely disagree with you, Ian, at peril of whatever... Vaguely. (Laughs) ..because it is the same malice and cruelty but it amplified to the whole world. So, instead of going, 'Whisper, whisper, whisper, Billy Bloggs has had sex with another boy,' you've got a picture of it and you put it up online where theoretically X billion people can see it and that, of course, is mortifying. So I think we've got to address the issue of anonymity, I think we're going to have start - we've really got to have a conversation, I think, about whether people should have to own up to who they are on these social networking sites. Now, a lot of people, the Internet community would say, 'That's dreadful, how can you possibly suggest that?' But there is an issue there because if you've got to put your name to it, obviously it's going to be quite different. So, there's a bunch of - this is a developing - these are disruptive technologies, you know, something like Twitter and Facebook has only been around a few years, these are very disruptive and it's going to take us a while to see how they're working and respond to them but I think we've got to have these discussions. OK, our next question is from Terry Fern. Many of the communities now, particularly for the younger, is electronic. And there's both good and bad, I see that it will generally be good. All the issues that we're talking about really reflect all the issues that we've always had - honesty, integrity, treat others as you would have them treat you, all of those things, and we'll come to it it's just everyone has this expansion of ideas and verbosity that you can spread to so many people that you don't know. Wonderful. But we said earlier that 40 per cent are engaged in this.

What are the other 60 per cent? The poor, the disadvantaged, particularly the old. And how to we get them engaged and involved in this electronic community. Thank you. That's a good question. I don't think it's true that the Internet is a young space anymore. I work for GetUp! which does online campaigning and is perceived by many to be a bunch of young people using the Internet to organise together. But in fact, the vast majority, the vast majority of GetUp! members are over 30. Slightly older. Yeah. They're of a certain age. (Laughter) Meaning old enough to have children. Yeah. No, 70 per cent have children or have grandchildren. And the most active members in our GetUp! online community are those, I find, who are over 50. And the youngest -

our least populated demographic is the 25 and under demographic. And I think there are a number of reasons for that, including emotional ones - this is a generation that is more committed to reducing pollution and they have grandchildren who make the issue of climate change more personal to them and so forth

but it also reflects the fact that there are a lot of older people online

and that, in fact, they engage with the Internet in a different way and one that is, I think, a little deeper, a little more utilitarian and not just for instant messaging and so forth but for purpose. Sam Mclean, communications director of the online advocacy group 'GetUp', speaking there at the Woollahra festival's Big Conversation. To see that talk in full you can head to our website at -

Next - does knowing about evolution help us understand ethics? Our moral sense may have evolved over time, but it's probably not wise to expect reproductive fitness to determine what is right or wrong. But world renowned Australian philosopher, Peter Singer, believes that evolution can help us to get to know human nature better. And, he says it can give us valuable clues as to what is or isn't likely to change peoples behaviour. Many people get the idea of the struggle for survival,

the survival of the fittest. Sometimes they link this in with a phrase of - 'nature, red in tooth and claw', which is actually not from Darwin at all, but from Tennyson, the poet. The idea that what evolution tells us is that the whole of life leading up to us is a ruthless struggle for survival,

and in that struggle, those who are altruists are not gonna do as well as those who are egoists, who are thinking of their own interests. And from that you might conclude - some followers of evolutionary theory have concluded - that really, altruism is a mirage, it doesn't really exist.

People may pretend to be altruistic about things, but it is a pretense, a veneer, they want to get some benefit from it, they're not really being altruistic, if you go deeper into it. And from that, the conclusion might be drawn - so, therefore you'd really be a fool to be altruistic. You'd be very odd, you'd be going against your own nature as it has evolved. And this is sometimes used as an argument to say there's no point in trying to appeal to people's altruism. As, for example, I do in some of my work, my most recent book, that I've authored, anyway, The Life You Can Save, I talk about global poverty, I talk about how we can, relatively easily, do things that make a huge difference to the lives of people in developing countries, who are living in extreme poverty, and how we ought to do this. And the line of argument that I'm talking about flowing out of AN understanding of evolution - a misunderstanding, as I think it is - suggests, well, really, there's no point in appealing to people to be altruists, they're not gonna do it, you have to appeal to their interests in some way, and if it's not in their interests to help the poor, they're not going to do it. This is a misunderstanding of evolutionary theory in a different way. It, I think, has too narrow a view of what is in someone's evolutionary interests. It thinks that - I mean, it does say something it starts with something that is true, and that is this - every one of us is descended from a very large number of generations of people who, firstly, managed to survive to reproductive age, and secondly, managed to reproduces, and thirdly, presumably at least, helped their children to get to the age where they could survive independently. Basically, yes, people had to think enough of their own interests, in order to survive, and in order to have children. That's roughly right, it's not actually completely right. The reason it's not completely right is this - evolution is about the passing on of genes, and you don't only pass on your gene type through your children. You might, for example, pass on genes very like yours, if you sacrifice your own life to save some of your siblings, some of your brothers and sisters, who have genes like yours, who share - you know, whose genes are 50% like yours. Or you might save some nieces or nephews, or something like that, who also share your genes to some extent. So, you can pass on your gene type without actually reproducing and having children. So that's part of it. I think altruism is not just for our children but can extend more broadly. Still, you might say, that's rather narrow. It's still only extending to those who are part of your immediate kin group. The other thing that I think is wrong with this problem,

or one other thing - I think there's a couple -

Is that surviving and reproducing is not just a matter of self-interest in the narrow sense. One thing that's very important for humans to survive is to cooperate with others. We are a social animal, we don't live alone. And forming strong, reciprocal relationships can be an enormous asset, and that's true not only of humans,

but we see it in our close non-human relatives. We see it in other primates, in other social animals, mammals, to some extent, but particularly in primates and great apes, that they form reciprocal relationships, and that helps them to survive in various ways. If you're a chimpanzee and you get lice in your fur or on your back you can't pick it out but another chimpanzee can do it. And they do, they spend a lot of time grooming each other. But they expect, if they've groomed another chimpanzee, they expect to be groomed by that chimpanzee in turn. You scratch your back -

sorry, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. We do the same sort of thing. So, building reciprocal relationships can be very important as a survival tool. And if you are going into reciprocal relationships, you want to be able to trust the partner that you're going into this relationship with. You don't want them - you don't want to spend time grooming them and then they're going to run away and not groom you. And since we're even more long-term than that - we want long-term partnerships and long-term relationships and long-term friendships, we want to be able to trust people that if we do important things for them at some cost to ourselves, they'll do that for us. So, we develop and assessment of character - are people trustworthy? And those are the people that we like to be with and associate with and be friends with. And that, I think, creates an evolutionary incentive to actually be trustworthy. Though, you might say, well, you don't have to actually be trustworthy you just have to be able to fake it. If you can fake it well enough it will have the same effect. But there's something like an arms race going on here, we get better at detecting the fakes, maybe the fakes get better, but one way to make sure that you are genuine, that you are going to be taken as trustworthy,

is really, to be trustworthy, in what you do. So, I think that you can see how some ethical ideas and some ethical principles can get into evolution. It's not just a matter of ruthlessly thinking of yourself, if you actually do think of others and do care about others They'll be more prepared, readier, to care about you. And arguably, something like that happens at a group level too. Humans have lived most of their existence in quite small, face-to-face societies, groups of maybe 250 people,

where you know everybody and you can remember whether

they're the people who do nice things to you or the people who do nasty things to you. And you can treat them appropriately. So, we build up these senses of justice and what do people deserve, what have they done. And we build up this sense, perhaps, of some sort of commitment to the group as a whole, if we're a small group like that, that provides a foundation for a lot of the ethical judgements that we think are important. Now, I also think that there's more to it than that. The argument that I've been making so far

has really just been talking about the kinds of reciprocal relationships that, as I said, our close relatives, other great apes, can have. And some sense, maybe, of some sort of group commitment. But, clearly we are also rational beings who are able to think and communicate at a level that, to the best of our knowledge, no non-human animal can do. I'm not saying there isn't some capacity to reason in non-human animals - I think there is - and there are all kinds of ways of communicating that non-human animals have, some of which we're only just beginning to learn about.

But all the same, I think it is true that this kind of more abstract communication in a complex language of the sort we have that can convey abstract ideas, the kind of thing that I hope I'm communicating to you now, is something that, at least on this planet, is unique to our species. We certainly have no evidence of that occurring in other species. So I think that makes a difference too. That makes a difference in terms of the way we can think about others and actually discuss ethical principles and moral principles. So we then perhaps get some arguments developing about well, you know, I did this for you but you're not doing this for me. Is that fair? That's something that leads to discussions about the nature of ethics. I don't think that the concept of fairness actually is unique to humans. And some rudimentary notion of fairness

I think we can see in non-human animals. Frans de Waal, who has done a lot of research with primates, for example, has shown that capuchin monkeys are ready to perform certain tasks for a reward. And if the standard reward is a food pellet, they'll perform those tasks for the reward of a food pellet and they'll happily accept the food pellet. However, if they observe another similar monkey doing exactly the same tasks

and getting rewarded with something that is preferred to the food pellet, let's say a grape, which is considered by the monkeys tastier and better than one of those boring old food pellets - if you then ask the monkey to perform the same task for which he's just seen the other monkey get rewarded with a grape and you try and reward him with a food pellet, you're likely to get it thrown back at you. So there's a sense that somehow there's something wrong going on here. Exactly how we interpret that result is not so easy to say but there is a sense that something wrong's going on. De Waal has another interesting example of chimpanzees living together, not, in this case - this is just an observation rather than a set up experiment. Chimpanzees, when they live together, sometimes have fights and sometimes they form alliances to resist a stronger chimpanzee. So in one case he observed a chimpanzee being attacked by a stronger chimpanzee signalling to another chimpanzee to come and help. And the other chimpanzee did come and help and together the two of them then fought off the stronger chimpanzee. A little later, the stronger chimpanzee attacked the chimpanzee that had helped who was by himself now. And the chimpanzee who had helped signalled to the one whom he had helped in the same way, as if to say come and help me fight off this guy. But the chimpanzee didn't reciprocate, didn't help. When the fight was over, the chimpanzee went and attacked the one who had failed to help as if to say, 'That wasn't fair. I did it for you but you're not doing it for me. So I think there is that sense of fairness that has evolved because of the importance of these reciprocal relationships and because we don't want to be cheated in a reciprocal relationship. And that's effectively what's going on. But we humans, of course, can take this concept and have arguments about it at a much more sophisticated level than animals which can't have that kind of communication. And that's, I think, a really important difference which leads to the development of ethics and why we can't simply understand ethics in those simple evolutionary terms that we might understand the notions that the great apes, for example, have. Philosopher, Peter Singer, speaking at the University of Sydney

for Sydney Ideas. Next, growing up Jewish while disowning Israel. Young American Jews have grown up in a different world to their forebears and, according to Peter Beinart, who is young, American and Jewish, their views of Israel are increasingly at odds with the older Jewish establishment. In this illuminating talk from the Melbourne Writers Festival

Beinart, who teaches journalism and writes for the Daily Beast, identifies the schism in Jewish America. I wanted to start with a story. A funny thing happened just before I left for Australia, actually. In my household, once it became known that I was going to Australia,

my son became extremely interested in the topic of Tasmanian devils. And that's really what captured his imagination about Australia. So we were on my laptop watching videos of Tasmanian devils. He was a little disappointed that they were not larger but I tried to convince him that they were pretty fierce. We were watching for a little while and he went off and he went to the bathroom so I started checking my email and I had an email from a friend in Israel. And I opened the email and it was the video that my friend and someone else actually shot. So I started watching this video. It's a scene in the West Bank and, um, there's a father, a man who's being arrested. He's being led into a kind of army van by a group of soldiers. And he has been arrested for stealing water for illegally hooking up his village to the Israeli water system. It's one of the topics that Israeli human rights organisations have written a lot about over the years is the inequity in water policy in which settlers use about four times as much water as do Palestinian villagers. And about 200,000 or so Palestinian villagers are actually not set up to the water system at all which leads to this theft of water. It's really not surprising, when you think about it,

that Israeli settlers would have more water than Palestinian villagers, 'cause they can vote in Israeli elections so they can agitate for more water for their settlements and since Palestinians can't vote in Israeli elections they tend to end up on the short end of the stick when it comes to water for their villages. And watching this video, it was a difficult scene to watch. There were women around, kind of screaming, and there's a boy in the video.

And the boy is trying to get to his father. The boy is about my son's age, maybe a year older or so. He's trying to get to his father - he's being prevented from getting to his father. And I'm listening and I'm listening and then all of a sudden I realise he's yelling, 'Babba, Babba.' Which is actually what my son calls me

because when my son was very little we thought he would call me Abba which is Hebrew for 'father' but he couldn't say Abba so he started to say Babba

which we really liked, thought was very cute. He calls me Babba. So I kind of - I froze. And then I saw my son was coming back. So I thought, 'Jesus, I've got to get back to these Tasmanian devils. This is not something that I want him to see.'

And it raised a question that I've thought a lot about in recent months which is essentially what happens when my son is not four-and-a-half but what happens when he's 8 or 12 or 16, you know? He has a big Israeli flag, homemade Israeli flag that he made in pre-school in his room. He's a little budding Zionist which is a source of great pride for me. And I don't want to snuff out that Zionism and yet I don't want to raise a son who walls himself off, who makes himself morally dead to the images that I was watching on that computer. It turns out that in fact there was an explanation that the Israeli defence forces had offered for this picture because they knew it had gotten around a bit and had been affecting people and they said, in fact, it was a staged image, that the parents had - that the mother had encouraged her son to try to get to the father and be hysterical. And I thought, 'Well, I could try to tell my son that,

that, in fact, this is the way the Palestinians are, it's not authentic emotion of the son seeing his father going away, it's actually he's been put up to it.' And I thought that we as a community in the United States have really, for a long time, taken essentially the path of turning off the computer. Or if we can't turn off the computer, essentially coming up with some kind of explanation to make it easy to deal with morally, to suggest that this is really - if there's any suffering at all it's really always the Palestinians bringing it on themselves. And it seems to me, 43 years on, after the beginning of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank that this has failed not only as a moral strategy but it's actually failed as a Zionism strategy. It's actually failed to produce a robust, serious, vibrant Zionism amongst young American Jews. And I want to talk a little bit about why this strategy has failed, not only failed our moral obligations to the Palestinians and to Israeli democracy but indeed failed to produce an authentic Zionism in the United States.

I want to do that by dividing the American Jewish community into three parts, a kind of a triangle. At the top of the triangle is what I call the American Jewish establishment, the major American communal Jewish organisations - APAC, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations - you know, Jews are the only group that has to have an organisation just made up of the presidents of other Jewish American organisations. And what defines these groups, really, is two things. Sociologically what defines them

is that their members are mostly secular, relatively secular, people for whom Zionism is a kind of substitute I would say in general for religious observance. Zionism has become their Jewish identity. And for many of them it really came, emerged as their Jewish identity, in those terrifying days just before the Six Day War and then in the aftermath of the '73 war when it seemed like the world was turning against Israel. Ideologically what defines these organisations is, I think, a kind of contradiction. If you ask them, read their websites, about why they believe that America should stand in support of Israel, why they themselves support Israel,

they do not say that they do it simply because they are Jews and Israel is a Jewish state. They are very emphatic that they believe that they themselves and America should support Israel because Israel is a liberal democratic Jewish state that shares American-style ideals of human rights. And they're very passionate about defending not just Israel but Israeli democracy against external threats like Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. And that's perfectly fine, as well they should do those things. And yet never do they contemplate the idea that in fact Israeli democracy could be threatened from within, that defending Israeli democracy, that standing with Israeli democracy could, in fact, lead you to need to be critical of actions of the Israeli Government that threaten Israeli democracy. So you find a strange kind of position, often.

On the one hand, American Jewish organisations are always saying that one of the reasons we look with pride to Israel is that Israel is always a democracy and yet at the same time they say that the occupation of the West Bank, in which 2.5 million Palestinians do not have the right to vote, are not citizens of any state, ie, a place that Israel occupied in 1967, that is not a democracy, that that is not a problem. On the one hand, these organisations defended for many years Israel's blockade of Gaza, a blockade that prevented not just parts that could be used to make weapons

but notebooks, toys, chocolate and eye-glasses. They defended that blockade and then when the Israeli Government limited the blockade

and got rid of a lot of those prohibitions, the congratulated the Israeli Government for having changed the policy. There is - to read the speeches of the leaders of the American Jewish organisations you would never know that Israel had a foreign minister who, in his youth, was a member of Meir Kahane's explicitly racist Kach Party,

which advocated the forced removal of Palestinians and Arab Israelis from the land of Israel. You would never know that it has a foreign minister who has suggested paying Israeli citizens, Arab citizens of Israel, to leave the country. You would never know that Israel has a foreign minister who has tried to criminalise the public observance of the Nakba, the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in 1948. Or that Israel has a foreign minister, at one of whose major rallies in 2009, according to Ha'aretz, many of his observers were seen standing on the street outside yelling, 'Death to Arabs'. That's the leader of Israel's third-largest party. In the mock high school elections held in Israel in 2009, he didn't come in third, he came in first.

You would never know that Israel has a housing minister who recently said that he thought he saw it as his national duty and said he thought it was immoral for Jews and Arabs to live under the same roof. Or that the leader of that party, Shas, the fifth-largest party in Israel, Rabbi Ovadia Yossef, has called Arabs 'snakes', 'ants' and 'vermin'. You would never know that in this spring in the Tel Aviv University poll 56% of Israeli high school students and 82% of religious Israeli Jewish high school students said they did not believe that Arab Israelis should not be allowed to vote for the Knesset. Or that in 2007, according to a poll from Geocartographer, that 50% of Israelis said they would not approve of having an Arab live in their apartment building. This world doesn't exist for the American Jewish organisations. What they do - one of their functions is to create a Disneyfied vision of Israel, an Israel that essential freezes the Israel of their memory of when they came to their love of Zionism, when the occupation was still in its very, very early days, a more secular kind of kibbutznik Israel before the Russian immigration that produced Avigdor Lieberman, before the creation of the Shas Party, before Gush Emunim and the settler movement that was created in the 1970s. And this has been their way of reaffirming their own Zionist identity. It works for them. But it is not working for a younger generation. These people are not reproducing themselves and so if you look at the younger part of the American Jewish community, the bottom of this triangle, you see two very, very different things. On the one hand, you see an Orthodox population in which Zionism is very, very vibrant. So most non-Orthodox American Jews think that Orthodox Jews are a very small percentage of the American population. But in fact they're growing very dramatically as a percentage of the American population. While only 12% of American Jews over the age of 60 are Orthodox, 34% between the ages of 18 and 24 are Orthodox. And in the United States when we call people Orthodox, we don't mean people who have an Orthodox shul that they don't go to. To call someone Orthodox in the United States is actually to suggest a very high level of religious observance and in that corner of the American Jewish community Zionism is being transmitted very effectively, a very vibrant Zionism, to younger American Jews. When the American Jewish Committee asked people 18-30 whether they felt very close to the State of Israel in 2006,

amongst Orthodox Jews, young Orthodox Jews, the answer was 79%. But this Zionism that is emerging amongst younger Orthodox Jews does often not even pay lip service to the idea that one of the reasons that we would love Israel, that we would be Zionists, is that Israel is a liberal democratic state. In fact, what you often find

in the Orthodox Jewish community in the United States is a Zionism of the land, a Zionism that privileges the importance of the land over the rights and dignity of all the people, Jewish and Palestinian, on the land. And so you find, for instance, if you look just a few weeks ago on the website of National Council of Young Israel, a large American Orthodox Jewish organisation, the story of the executive vice-president of that organisation travelling to the settlement of Yitzhar where he writes in glowing terms about the yeshiva there, the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva and the rosh yeshiva, who he calls a man of great loving kindness towards the Jewish people who was being unfairly persecuted by the Israeli Government for some picayune offences that he doesn't mention. Well, in fact, the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva is quite well known if you read the Israeli press, and that rosh yeshiva in particular, because he recently wrote - it was found that he wrote something in which he had suggested that it was acceptable to kill Palestinian children on the argument that they might grow up to be terrorists.

In 2006, General Effi Eitam said that he believed that Palestinians should be forcibly removed out of the country from their homes. In 2007, and then again in 2008, he was the keynote speaker at the Israel Day Concert in Central Park which is co-sponsored by the National Council of Young Israel. It's an entirely Orthodox affair in New York City every year. In 2009 and 2010 the Israel Day Concert - you know, the Israel Day Concert - they put up a big poster and it's a very Jewish kind of thing.

Everyone who sponsors the Israel Day Concert gets their name on the poster and they get to dedicate it to someone. Well, in 2009 and again in 2010 one of the families that is on the poster that partially sponsored the Israel Day Concert in New York City dedicated their sponsorship to Meir Kahane. So this is some of the troubling character that you see in the emerging Zionism of young, Orthodox American Jews. Not that all Orthodox American Jews believe that, by any means. We ourselves go to an Orthodox synagogue. There are many, many, many very tolerant people but there is an indulgent attitude towards that perspective and so you see the kind of Disnified Zionism of the American Jewish establishment being, I think, in the younger Orthodox generation instead being replaced by a Zionism of the land, that it is often unconcerned with the liberal democratic character of Israel. Then you have the last corner which is the large, relatively secular majority of younger American Jews and for these people, Zionism is in utter collapse. I said that according to this American Jewish Committee 2006 survey 79% of Orthodox Jews aged 18-30 said they felt very close to the state of Israel. Amongst non-Orthodox Jews it was 16%. So you see amongst non-Orthodox Jews a dramatic decline in Zionism. Peter Beinart, senior political writer for the Daily Beast,

speaking there at the 2010 Melbourne Writers Festival. Finally today, the primary role of storytelling in our lives. Hope 2011 was the name of the keynote event at this year's Sydney Festival, and one of the standout speakers was Shakespearean actor/director, John Bell, who argues the role of storytelling should never be undersold. Our national myths occupy holy ground and we find it hard to accept that the ANZAC soldiers, for instance,

we're not all pure and noble individuals. We need them to be to bolster our own identity, to help define what it is to be Australian. We need heroes, role models, stories of valour and sacrifice - something to live up to and tell us who we are.

The so-called history wars will never be resolved. They are part of our political divide. And we all need historical facts to conform to our individual bias, the way we want things to be or to have been. Bruno Bettelheim and his book, The Uses of Enchantment, talks about the importance of fairy stories to a child's emotional and psychological development, it's understanding of the world. He explores the significance of giants, witches, wicked stepmothers and wise talking animals.

A boy is not allowed to hate his father but in stories like Jack the Giant-Killer and Jack and the Beanstalk he can take vicarious revenge on the adults who control, bully or intimidate him. A girl isn't allowed to think badly of her mother but she can transfer her negative feelings to the wicked stepmother or witch in a fairy story. Many fairy stories from all around the world depict three brothers who set out on adventures. The first two come to grief in various ways. It's the youngest and the smallest who is always the cleverest and most successful. Like the story of the ugly duckling, these tales boost the self-confidence of children and reassure them that little people can triumph under all obstacles. To assist them on their way, they often run into wise-talking animals good fairies and kind old men and women who signal to them that they are not alone on their life's journey, but can look for guidance, help and advice from many sources. Princes and princesses are, of course, prototypes of the children themselves - full of potential to one day become kings and queens, just like their parents. Without these stories, children's lives are impoverished their insecurities remain unaddressed, their imaginations unstimulated.

like those of The Brothers Grimm The old fairy stories sturdy survivors have proved to be they are unsentimental largely because to the horror and cruelty and face up boldly that exists in the real world. that it's harmful Bettelheim maintains these stories. to sentimentalise or 'Disneyfy' in story form, Children can cope with horror and indeed, they need to encounter it that life has in store. to prepare them for the real horrors they are preparation for life. Fairy stories are not escapism like Snow White, Bambi and Pinocchio In fact, the early Disney movies

didn't shy away from the dark side, empire took off, but as the Disney merchandising increasingly saccharine. the movies became literature now, Thankfully, a lot of children's His Dark Materials, such as Philip Pullman's addressing their deeper concerns are again taking children seriously, to their intelligence. and giving due credit

hasn't got a decent story If a science fiction or action movie and digital wizardry can't save it. all the whizz-bang special effects the music maybe glorious, The same is true of opera - it won't catch on. but without a decent story, that is left of us. When we go, stories are all

and Rome will one day crumble What remains of ancient Greece will live on. but the Odyssey and Aeneid on the walls of their tombs, The Pharaohs recorded their histories to do this in remembrance of me, Christ instructed his disciples implores his friend Horatio and the dying Hamlet to 'absent thee from felicity awhile pain to tell my story.' and draw thy breath in We have to get the story right. That's why history matters.

who's telling the story? And that's where the debate begins - is recorded by the victors. It's a truism that history The vanquished have no voice version of the story they please. and the victors can tell whatever So history remains gappy and faulty. you need literature. To record history, of Aboriginal culture in Australia? Where is the 60,000 years

you need power and influence. To record history,

of a great many generals We know the names and the stories and naval commanders, thousands of soldiers and sailors but what about the hundreds of

and won the wars? who fought the battles What were their stories? Who were they? The Great Wall of China? Who built the Pyramids? We'll never know. Who built the cathedrals of Europe? The greatest story by Manning Clarke, history of Australia, after completing his six-volume admitted in later life of the Australian story - that he had overlooked two elements women and Aborigines. (Incredulous laughter) But even without literature and pass on tribal memories - people needed to tell stories to the puppet plays of Indonesia from Aboriginal corroborees,

Japan and the Americas. and ancient dances from India, of people of mediaeval Europe The vast majority could neither read nor write but they had to know their scripture if they were to find their path to heaven. So the stories of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, were displayed like giant comic books in the stained-glass windows of churches and cathedrals

while the same stories were acted out in the street in the form of miracle and mystery plays bringing the Bible to life. In Elizabethan England, the theatre found a resurgence and scaled heights it may never scale again. Why was it so vital? With the old religious plays banned by the reformation a new secular theatre quickly developed plays with interesting stories. Some were original, but people liked hearing the old stories too. For a decade or more, history plays were extremely popular

audiences loved seeing the kings and heroes of their own past come to life again on stage. The plays of Henry V and Edward III celebrated their victories over the French

and bragged about the superiority about the English nation.

They enjoyed old stories given a new twist and they enjoyed seeing various kings, nobles and prelates cut down to size and revealed to be mere mortals. Shakespeare always told good stories,

ones that appealed to all classes of audience and he mastered the art of talking to the aristocrats in the gallery and the groundlings in the pit simultaneously.

The Elizabethan's identified the theatre and real life as being virtually inseparable. 'All the world's a stage,' said Shakespeare,

'and all the men and women, merely players.' And on the eve of his execution, Sir Walter Raleigh wrote, 'What is our life? A play of passion. Our mirth? The music of division. Our mothers' wombs the tiring-houses be

where we are dressed for this short comedy. Heaven, the judicious, sharp spectator is, that sits and marks still who doth act amiss.

Our graves that hide us from the searching sun are like drawn curtains when the play is done. Thus march we, playing to our latest rest, only we die in earnest, that's no jest.'

(Laughter) Some years ago I attended a writers' forum on the nature of power. The audience was full of writers and the stage was peopled by politicians and various celebrities. As they spoke I thought, 'This is all back to front - this should be the writers on stage - they are the real powerbrokers.' Where would politicians and celebrities be without storytellers?

Who would remember Hector and Achilles if it weren't for Homer? What would be know of Henry V or Richard III if Shakespeare hadn't created them for us? The most naked demonstration of power I ever saw was some years ago at the Seymour Centre at a performance of Grimm's Fairytales. The 800-seat theatre was packed with ankle-biters and their mums or grannies. (Laughter) And the din was deafening -

something like a billion cicadas ululating on a hot day in the bush. (Laughter) As show-time drew near the excitement grew to an ear-splitting level and I thought, 'These poor bloody actors haven't got a chance.' Then the lights went down, an actor stepped onto an empty stage,

raised one finger

and uttered the four most magical words in the English language - 'Once upon a time.' And you could have heard a pin drop. (Applause) Actor and director John Bell from the Sydney Festival's Hope 2011 event.

That's it for our taste test of Big Ideas for this week.

Remember you can find all of the talks you have seen on the show today in full, and a host of great storytellers at the Big Ideas website. And look out for more of our Big Ideas on News 24, Saturday and Sunday at 1pm. I'm Waleed Aly, see you again. (Closed captions by CSI)

VIVALDI: The Four Seasons Summer - Presto


This is a graveyard of rubbish. But not any old rubbish. For this place only takes metal. Cars, radiators, fridges -

anything metal. Like a cat plays with a mouse, the grabber throws the car onto the heap. The heap feeds the conveyor and the conveyor leads to the crushing machine.

Steaming from the heat of the crusher,

the metal has to be magnetically sorted - non-ferrous, and ferrous. Ferrous metals are metals that contain iron and it is the iron that makes them magnetic. The steel is piled up and picked up.

And now the metal is ready to be melted down so new will be born of the old.

Closed Captions by CSI

This Program is

Captioned Live.

New Zealand pauses to

remember its dead. The number

that you've quoted of around

240 is so lidifying. Rebels

consolidate their hold

Tripoli but their message fails

to get through to the

Colonel. They love me, all my

people with me, they love me all. They will die all. They will die to protect

me. Lost in the sand and fury,

one man's struggle against the

January floods. The

collapsing. We are moving! And

the rarest of the rare, caught on jungle cam