The Mirror of Our Better Selves – Bernard-Henri Lévy - Think Again Podcast #82

Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. French philosopher and filmmaker "BHL" on evil, complacency, and the necessity of outsider thinking.  

Culture & Religion

 


 

Subscribe on Google PlayStitcher, or iTunes

Come talk to us on Twitter@bigthinkagain

In this episode: 

Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. The Think Again podcast takes us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.

The Washington Post has this to say about today's guest: "There is no American equivalent of Bernard-Henri Lévy. Known as “BHL,” he is among the last of a quintessentially French breed, the 20th century intellectuel engagé. As a “nouveau philosophe” disenchanted with Marxism, communism and the excesses of 1968, when civil unrest roiled France, Levy has enjoyed a long and theatrical career since the 1970s, embracing journalism, philosophy, film and an outspoken advocacy for human rights."

BHL's films include the documentaries Bosna! And A Day in the Death of Sarajevo. Lévy is co-founder of the antiracist group SOS Racisme and has served on diplomatic missions for the French government. His newest book The Genius of Judaism explores what he sees as the crucial metaphysical role of Jewish thought and the Jewish people in the life of nations. 

Today's episode addresses torture, the question of evil, and the tipping point at which democracy becomes something else.  

Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode: Paul Bloom on Torture, and Ian Bremmer on America as a Superpower

About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: 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.

 

 


Related Articles

Emily Nemens (Editor, The Paris Review): The literary industrial complex

A seismic shake-up at a venerable literary gatekeeper. Shallow and not-so-shallow consumerism. The Paris Review's new editor on old ghosts, new voices, and what's worth keeping.

Politics & Current Affairs

Keep reading Show less

Daniel McCabe: This seemingly impossible knot

Congo is one of the most culturally diverse, mineral rich, and beautiful places on Earth. But the “heart of darkness" colonizers dreamed into being still bleeds. Daniel McCabe's documentary This is Congo lets this wounded nation speak for itself.

Politics & Current Affairs

THIS IS CONGO, a new documentary film, attempts to wrap its mind around the incomprehensible realities of the Democratic Republic of Congo, almost 60 years after it was founded. At one point, commenting on one of the more incomprehensible recent events, a high-ranking military officer remarks:

Keep reading Show less

Bassem Youssef: Now I have to answer for this?

In Egypt, comedy can be a matter of life and death. But life in America's no cakewalk either. Political satirist Bassem Youssef on reinventing yourself, crossing cultural lines, and the future of space exploration.

Politics & Current Affairs

My grandmother used to tell a story about coming to America from Poland. How she sang God Bless America to cheer up all the grownups on the ship. She was 5 or 6 years old, traveling alone with her mom. For her, it must have been a big adventure. I can hardly imagine what it was like for her mom— my great grandmother — how bad things must have been for Jews in their home town of Bialystok for her to pick up and leave like that, without her husband, heading toward some distant cousin in the undiscovered country of Vineland, New Jersey.

Keep reading Show less