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...
Tara Westover – Nothing Final Can Be Known – Think Again - a Big Think Podcast #141
There's got to be a thousand ways to reclaim the past, but for Tara Westover, story was the only one that could contain all of it.
What does your education mean to you? What would you be willing to sacrifice for it?
For me and my sister, growing up, it was a given that you’d get “well-educated.” You’d get good grades, go to a good college, and most likely graduate, medical, law, or business school. School was just what you did…ritualized and rote the way religion is in other families.
For my guest today, Tara Westover, the framework was completely different. In her mountain home in Idaho, school was seen as a threat. It was a government tool for brainwashing people out of faith in God’s teachings and into worldly decadence. She went on to become very well-educated by anybody’s standards–—studying history at Cambridge University in England and at Harvard. But it came at very high price. Her first book, EDUCATED, is a powerful and beautifully written memoir about family, loyalty to oneself, and the difficult, even impossible choices we sometimes have to make.
Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode:
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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The film becomes the story of the making of the film. From his Monty Python days to now, Don Quixote is a metaphor for Terry Gilliam's whole career, and for his 30 year project of making a film about a film about the knight of the woeful countenance. We talk about Muppets, time, and basically everything else two humans can talk about.
- An American barbarian in Monty Python
- Chaos Muppets vs. Order Muppets (and which one Terry Gilliam is)
- Artistic ego: avoiding the fate of Icarus, Job, etc.
Love + fear = awe. And awe can inspire the best and the worst in us. From 100,000 wild tigers a century ago, we're down to around 5,000. Oscar winner Ross Kauffman's TIGERLAND tells the story of the lengths some will go to to protect them.
- Making friends with The Tiger Man of Russia
- Looking for beauty and humor in the darkest places
- "I love meeting people…I love spending time with people…part of me hates picking up a camera and pointing it at somebody. I feel like a parasite."
Love, grief, and moral disgust aren't unique to humans. Like chimps, humans sometimes struggle for dominance, but our first impulse is trust and connection. Frans de Waal has spent decades showing that most of what we believe about animals, humans, and the differences between us is wrong.
- The lifelong gratitude of a chimp de Waal taught to bottle-feed and adopt an orphan
- Trump's alpha male display during the 2016 debates
- How B.F. Skinner screwed up behavioral science for half a century
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