The more we spend time with people unlike ourselves, doing things together, the more understanding, tolerant, and even friendly we become.
And yet, increasingly, most of us spend less and less time with people who are different - as defined by age, race, or class, earning power or education.
The pandemic may have forced us apart, but it also reminded us of what we share and value. We witnessed the power of community, connection and common cause. And we saw clearly the urgent work that needs to be done to tackle the barriers that stand in the way of full, equal-status participation and flourishing for everyone in society.
Emerging from the crisis, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to bridge our divides and forge a new 'Common Life' - a set of shared practices and institutions - that can strengthen the glue that bonds our societies, in all their diversity.
For the health of our democracy, our society, and our economy, the time to act is now.
In the first of a three part series, Anthony Painter explores what is necessary to overcome the economic, political and environmental issues facing humanity today.