Laurence Tribe on His Identity

Tribe talks about becoming happier.
  • Transcript


Question: How did you become who you are?

Laurence Tribe: You know I still think of myself as an artistic kid who loves math.  I saw somebody with a teacher the other day that said, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”  And I still feel very playful in what I read, in the novels I read, and in the mathematics I try to keep up with.  I still do portraits, and landscapes, and seascapes, and rockscapes with pastels from time to time.  So I don’t see myself as very different.  I do see myself as happier, I think, than I was when I was growing up.  I have a different kind of self-doubt.  I think I use to doubt that I would succeed at various things.  Now I doubt that the success I had was deserved.  I used to … I used to doubt that my kids would be safe and I always worried.  Now I see them as wonderful parents in their own right and feel terrific about that.  But I doubt that I’ll be able to be as helpful to them as I would love to be still.  You know like all people they have problems.  They have issues.  They have things that they would like to have different in their lives.  My son teaches at Brown, but also lives with his wife and baby daughter in Manhattan.  It’s not easy to have a life like that.  So I still worry about things as I always have.  But I don’t recognize in my life some dramatic transition from someone who was the way that you described.  How old was I when I said that?  What year was that?