Salman Rushdie, Rainn Wilson and Walter Mosley Interviewed by Big Think

Big Think interviewed an array of luminaries in a variety of fields this week, including "The Office" star Rainn Wilson, famed novelist Salman Rushdie, and writer Walter Mosley.


Rushdie came into the Big Think offices today to discuss fantasy, video games, Islam, and how to attract women. His new book, " Luke and the Fire of Life," takes its structure from video game narratives, which he sees as vital to the future of storytelling. He also weighed in on the recent national debates about Islam and terrorism, saying that we must distinguish between Islam as a religion and Muslims as a people. But it is foolish to deny that we were attacked in the name of Islam on 9/11, he said. 

Nicholas Carr, author of "The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains," also dropped by the Big Think studios this week. He explained the neuroscience behind our brain's plasticity, which is both a good and a bad thing. It allows us to continue to learn new things into adulthood but it also means that we can lose things too, like the ability to concentrate. Carr also discussed other technologies throughout human history that have caused seminal shifts in the way our brains work.

Walter Mosley talked to us about his new book "The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey." The interview provided us a chance to talk with Mosley about his writing process, the challenges of finding a true passion and the trouble with A students. Mosley says young people today share similar anxieties to young people in the 60s, only they're more ambitious about becoming famous. "In the sixties, if you had enough money for food, you could pay your rent, and you were getting laid, then you were happy," says Mosley If there is one person that Mosley would like to interview at Big Think it would be Fidel Castro,  who he says would provide an interesting counterpoint to some many things that America stands for today.

Actor Rainn Wilson told us that his new book, "Soul Pancake," is in part a response to having so many people associate him with his character, Dwight Schrute, on the popular NBC show "The Office." Wilson, who is much less overbearing and egotistical than his onscreen persona, talked about growing up in a Baha'i family, told us about his favorite artists, and described some of the creative difficulties that can plague people as they get older.

Climate Change Realist Bjorn Lomborg, a previous Big Think guest, returned to our studio to discuss global warming fear mongering and Chinese environmental policy. It terms of the environment, the Chinese are experiencing growing pains just like England during the Industrial Revolution, says Lomborg. "People go to China and think the air pollution is bad, and it is," says Lomborg. "But if they were to go to London at the time of the Industrial Revolution they would be hacking and coughing just like they are China." We'll find out whether Lomborg's claims hold true during an upcoming series on the current state of China.

Sign up for the What's New at Big Think RSS feed to get an updates on our latest video interviews.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less