The Nonzero Foundation aims to foster the spread of knowledge and help people appreciate diverse perspectives, thereby building bridges across national, cultural, ethnic, religious, and ideological divides.
Currently the foundation’s primary vehicles for carrying out its mission are two websites featuring split-screen video dialogues: Bloggingheads.tv, which focuses on politics, current events and culture, and MeaningofLife.tv, which is devoted to philosophy, social sciences, religion and spirituality.
The Nonzero Foundation’s name is an allusion to game theory: A non–zero-sum game is a game that won’t necessarily produce a winner and a loser but rather could have a win–win outcome or a lose–lose outcome. For example: Nuclear war is lose–lose, and peace in a nuclear age is win–win. Or, less dramatically: Sometimes liberals and conservatives are both better off compromising and reaching an agreement — that, say, keeps the government running — than failing to reach an agreement.
One common obstacle to reaching a win–win outcome is the failure of the participants to see things from the perspective of other participants. A primary mission of The Nonzero Foundation is to help people see things from perspectives other than their own — and, in particular, from perspectives that, for whatever reason, they aren’t normally able to appreciate.