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?
Each week, host Jason Gots surprises some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Join us and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Maria Popova, Mary-Louise Parker, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many more...
a Think Again mixtape for 2019
When I was a teenager and music was still on cassettes, a mixtape was an act of love. In this episode, I'm putting together some of my favorite moments of 2019, strung together with minimal interruption from me.
When I was a teenager and music was still on cassettes, a mixtape was an act of love. The selection and sequence of songs were a kind of message to the listener that left plenty of space for their own thoughts and feelings. Back in June Think Again hit its fourth year and its 200th show and it feels like the right time to take a step back and revisit some of the places the conversation has gone this past year. I'm intuitive rather than strategic about choosing guests for the show and books to read—when it works, it's an art rather than a science. And as with any art, themes emerge and recur in different guises. In this episode, I'm putting together some of my favorite moments of 2019, strung together with minimal interruption from me. So kick back and enjoy this eclectic collection, and feel free to write me through my website jasongots.com and let me know your thoughts, feelings, and insights. Or send me a mixtape of your own!
Featuring: Joseph Goldstein, Benjamin Dreyer, Anaïs Mitchell, Martin Hägglund, Aml Ameen, Marlon James, Terry Gilliam, Jeff Israel, Eve Ensler, Tracy Edwards, Frans De Waal, Edith Hall, Lama Rod Owens, Elif Shafak, Robert MacFarlane
ABOUT THE GUESTS:
Joseph Goldstein is a legendary American Buddhist teacher whose dharma talks and guided meditations I've been a fan of for over a decade. He's also the author of the wonderful book MINDFULNESS: a Practical Guide to Awakening.
Benjamin Dreyer is a funny, funny man. He's the copy chief of Random House and the author of DREYER'S ENGLISH. We nerded out with great delight on the joys of the English language.
Anaïs Mitchell is a devastatingly brilliant singer songwriter and the creator of HADESTOWN, a musical based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, which won 14 Tony Awards this past year.
Martin Haaglund's book THIS LIFE is a visionary work of social philosophy and one of the best books I read this past year.
Born in London, actor Aml Ameen went back to his family's Jamaican roots in a deep way for Idris Elba's film directorial debut, Yardie. I loved this conversation for reasons that I hope will be obvious.
And continuing with our theme, Jamaican writer Marlon James won the Man Booker Prize for his book A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEVEN KILLINGS. This year, he published BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF, the first in a trilogy of hallucinatory, epic fantasy novels anchored in African mythology.
Terry Gilliam started out as the cartoonist for Monty Python and has gone on to become the beloved director of films including Time Bandits, Twelve Monkeys, and his latest: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.
Jeffrey Israel is an old friend of mine, a professor of religious studies at Williams College, and the author of the book LIVING WITH HATE IN AMERICAN POLITICS AND RELIGION. He's trying to help us live better together with the freedom to be ourselves.
Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, is a warrior for the liberation and well being of women. Her latest book The Apology takes on the soul-restoring task of apologizing to herself in the voice of her dead father for his years of horrific abuse.
Tracy Edwards is just an all around inspiring human being. She was the captain of Maiden, the first all-female-crewed yacht to race around the world, and the star of the beautiful documentary MAIDEN that came out this year from Sony Pictures Classics.
Edith Hall is a classicist whose book Aristotle's Way makes Aristotle's approach to a life well lived accessible to a modern audience.
Frans De Waal is a primatologist and one of the foremost researchers into the emotions of animals other than humans.
Lama Rod Owens is a spiritual teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. He's one of the co-authors of the book RADICAL DHARMA, which considers Buddhist teachings in the context of social justice struggles around race and gender.
Elif Shafak is the most widely read female novelist in Turkey and a brilliant chronicler of the tensions at the crossroads of the spirit and society.
Robert MacFarlane's book UNDERGROUND is one of the most beautiful, moving, intellectually rich pieces of writing I have ever read. Nuff said?
Academics are often attacked for having the audacity to pursue their research wherever it leads. But engaging with difficult, challenging ideas is a large part of what academia is about.
- Academic expression is neither free expression nor political, though it is connected to both. Because of this misunderstanding, academic expression is often attacked, not because of the quality of scholars' ideas, but because of scholars' audacity in sharing them.
- The Scholars at Risk network is working to ensure that academics of all stripes have the academic freedom they need to pursue their work. In this video, Robert Quinn stresses that this is not a left/right issue, nor is it something that's only happening halfway across the world, and he explains why it's so important to defend academic freedom.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
"I think when you come to grips with what happened, it gives you a chance of doing something different. What's really dark is when you're going through something and you have no perspective." By revisiting—through poetry—his 9 years in prison for a teenage carjacking, Reginald Dwayne Betts finds freedoms most of us have never known.
Some experiences change you so completely that you're left with a choice: either spend your life running from them or spend your life turning them over in memory, trying to find new ways in, through, and out the other side. The power of the impulse to explain or somehow articulate these experiences is inversely proportionate to other people's ability to understand them. They're everything all at once. It seems to me that my guest today has made that second choice, the hard choice not to run away. Or maybe it's a choice you have to keep making over and over again. His name is Reginald Dwayne Betts. He's 39 years old—an accomplished poet and essayist and a graduate of Yale Law School. But he spent most of his teenage years and young adulthood in prison and over a year in solitary confinement, experiences neither society, nor memory, nor his fellow feeling for the more than 2 million people behind bars in the United States, the vast majority of them black men and boys, has let him forget. Dwayne's beautiful and necessary new book of poems is called FELON, and I'm honored to have him with me here today to talk about it.
Journeys of discovery and wonder in the inner and outer world.
For too long, we've treated racism as a personality trait or a vague systemic menace rather than the result of policies and ideas created deliberately to benefit some groups at the expense of others. As a result, too many anti-racist efforts have collapsed into name-calling sessions, failing to achieve their goals. Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to be an Antiracist, sees a better way.
Connect with us
How to listen
You can listen to Think Again right here on site, or select your podcast app:
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.