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...
Ben Marcus' reality is only slightly askew from our own
Notes from the Fog author Ben Marcus on Elon Musk, the weird existential joys of the reality TV show Castaways, and whether we will eat in the future.
- A grow lamp for humans?
- A mist that puts you in the right mood for mourning the victims of terrorism?
- How realism and postmodernism fell in love and had babies.
A "grow light" for humans that cooks a guy's face. A pharmaceutical mist that puts you in the right mood for mourning the victims of terrorism. The year of All Hell Breaks Loose. The Year of the Sensor. Mudslides. Hurricanes. People who flee and people who stubbornly stay put. A terrible structure. A grand experiment. Creams and lotions that induce false prophecies. People who tumble into other people's marriages after they're dead. Every inch of the earth as a graveyard. More pharmaceuticals. Lives curated by drugs. The pills we swallow and the pills we reject. The way you never really know anybody.
That's a quick trip through some of the images and ideas the writer Ben Marcus hits the reader with in Notes From the Fog, his latest collection of short stories. Reading them is like ingesting a powerful hallucinogen synthesized by a computer that's digested a good chunk of the Internet. They feel the way life these days often feels, but with its skin peeled off.
Surprise conversation starter clips in this episode:
The wonder and the ethics of deep time. The "wood-wide-web". The claustrophobia of the Anthropocene. In our 200th episode, UNDERLAND author Robert MacFarlane takes us on a journey deep into the Earth and ourselves.
- "We think of ourselves as this surface species. Of builders. But we are a species of burrowers and borers. And we are leaving warrens behind us that dwarf any ant's nest…"
- "That handprint on the cave wall is testimony to that urge to move into darkness in search of meaning—in search of different orders of time."
An ordained Lama in a Tibetan Buddhist lineage, Lama Rod grew up a queer, black male within the black Christian church in the American south. Navigating all of these intersecting, evolving identities has led him to a life's work based on compassion for self and others.
- "What I'm interested in is deep, systematic change. What I understand now is that real change doesn't happen until change on the inside begins to happen."
- "Masculinity is not inherently toxic. Patriarchy is toxic. We have to let that energy go so we can stop forcing other people to do emotional labor for us."
With MIND IN MOTION, psychologist Barbara Tversky offers a stunning account of movement in the world as the foundation of abstract thought, from logical problem-solving to taking other people's perspectives. We discuss gesture, abstract art, animal intelligence and much more.
- "Our feet take us from place to place. A place is a dot and the path between places is a relation. And if you think about thought, it's the same."
- "There's all this work done now on how you can preserve an aging mind. Crossword puzzles…brain training…none of that works as well as moving in the world. Just keep moving."
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.