I am not sure I know of a more brilliant piece of Radio programming than Radio 4's Reith Lectures. An annual series of lectures allowing us to see into the minds of some of the greatest figures shaping the world today.
For me, they are a yearly must listen. A "thinking gift" to myself.
I first came to them four years ago (very late to the plate, the inaugural lectures in 1948 were delivered by Bertrand Russell, which, due to the brilliance of the Radio 4 website you can still listen to!) when Grayson Perry talked about art and the modern world. Then next year it was Dr Atul Gawande and last year Dr Stephen Hawking. All of them vital, global, different, mind expanding and thought provoking.
All of them have left me better for having heard them.
This year's series of lectures are being delivered by philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, who teaches at NYU. They delve into four "Cs" Creed, Country, Colour and (the yet to be broadcast) Culture.
This morning, as I drove to work, I listened to Appiah tell stories of race and colour, of a world of 17th century philosophical enlightenment, which could only see light not dark, and of today's deeply drawn colour line, unnecessarily dividing the world. And I thought that in this year - the year of Brexit and Trump, when NIMBY's in my own back yard of Devon are today protesting the homing of refugee children - the bravery, timeliness and importance of these lectures by Appiah.
Not just because of what he says (though please do listen - this is important stuff), but because he represents thinking, contemplation and questioning. At a time when presidential candidates are using Twitter to furiously lash out, when Facebook hate groups are started in a moment, when we communicate so quickly and without thought, Appiah seems to stand for pause.
Consider our words and actions, about the impact they have on the world. Words are not disposable, they live on, the bury into our psyche, they win and lose wars, elections, friends. They alienate and divide, when they can unify and include.
Listen to Appiah, explore the Reith lectures, take time to think, in fact let me pass on my "thinking gift" to you. No really - it's my pleasure.
Because, as we all know, communicating is as much about listening as it is about speaking.
The philosopher and cultural theorist Kwame Anthony Appiah argues for a world free of racial fixations. He tells the story of Anton Wilhelm Amo Afer. He was five years old when he was brought from the Gold Coast to Germany in 1707, educated at a royal court and became an eminent philosopher. He argues that this elaborate Enlightenment experiment illuminates a series of mistaken ideas , including that there is a "racial essence" which all members of that race carry. Modern science long ago disproved this, as almost all of the world's genetic variation is found within every so-called racial group. Instead, "race is something we make; not something that makes us."