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...

Martin Amis – The Spooky Art – Think Again - a Big Think Podcast #140

We are all of us held together by words.

Culture & Religion

“We are all of us held together by words. And when words go, nothing much remains.” 


That’s Martin Amis, writing about his father, Kingsley, toward the end of his life.  And it’s true, of course, isn’t it? But how many of us are ready to locate our selves in the language we have at our command? I guess all writers live by the pen (or maybe the pixel, these days), but like two of his literary heroes, Shakespeare and Vladimir Nabokov, Martin Amis belongs to what in every generation feels like a vanishing breed: the writer with an almost Kabbalistic reverence for the power of words themselves. In Amis’ novels and essays, this often translates into intense, photographic lucidity. Other times, we get the verbal shiv—a wickedly hilarious twist of the knife in the gut of something bloated and stupid, like the present American moment. 

His newest collection of essays is called The Rub of Time. Its subjects include Porn, John Travolta, Tennis, Saul Bellow, and the strange business of literary interviews like this one. 

Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode

A.O. Scott on comedians as public intellectuals, Toni Lane Casserly on the future of artificial intelligence

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.


Come talk to us 
on Twitter@bigthinkagain

 


What does kindness look like? It wears a mask.

Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling has an important favor to ask of the American people.

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Michael Dowling is president and CEO of Northwell Health, the largest health care system in New York state. In this PSA, speaking as someone whose company has seen more COVID-19 patients than any other in the country, Dowling implores Americans to wear masks—not only for their own health, but for the health of those around them.
  • The CDC reports that there have been close to 7.9 million cases of coronavirus reported in the United States since January. Around 216,000 people have died from the virus so far with hundreds more added to the tally every day. Several labs around the world are working on solutions, but there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.
  • The most basic thing that everyone can do to help slow the spread is to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and to wear a mask. The CDC recommends that everyone ages two and up wear a mask that is two or more layers of material and that covers the nose, mouth, and chin. Gaiters and face shields have been shown to be less effective at blocking droplets. Homemade face coverings are acceptable, but wearers should make sure they are constructed out of the proper materials and that they are washed between uses. Wearing a mask is the most important thing you can do to save lives in your community.
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