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Culture & Religion

The Way Brothers – City On a Hill – Think Again – a Big Think Podcast #143

God, guns, sex, and mutually exclusive concepts of liberty. The Way Brothers' Netflix docuseries Wild, Wild Country tells a story that's about as American as it gets.

In New York City, where we all live in little boxes on top of one another, “Ignore thy neighbor” is a reasonable coping strategy. Live and let live, right? To each her own. 


But what’s the tipping point at which thy neighbor becomes simply too numerous, too loud, too different to ignore? I’d submit that whoever you are. Wherever you locate yourself on that spectrum of tolerance. You too, have your limits. 

In the mid 1980s, a group of people in Oregon discovered their tipping point when a massive commune moved in next door. The Baghwan Shree Rajneesh and thousands of his followers decided to build a city in the middle of nowhere—a utopia on Earth. Only it was the middle of somewhere for the mostly white, mostly Christian residents of a tiny nearby town. It was home, and like most humans, they weren’t too excited about the idea of radical, unexpected change in their own backyard. 

I, on the other hand, am very excited to be here today with the Way Brothers — Chaplain and MacLain… They’re the directors of the fabulous Netflix documentary Wild, Wild, Country, which tells the very American story of this clash of cultures. There’s god, guns, sex, and mutually exclusive concepts of liberty. Like I said – it’s about as American as it gets. 

Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode

Amy Chua on tribalism

Ariel Levy on women’s bodies and American culture

About Think Again – A Big Think Podcast: Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.

You’ve got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we’re pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think’s interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.



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