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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.

Timothy Spall is an extraordinary actor, best known perhaps for the many films he’s done with director Mike Leigh, including Secrets & Lies and Mr. Turner, for which he won best actor at Cannes. You may know him from a number of Hollywood films, too, including the Harry Potter series and The Last Samurai, with Tom Cruise. His latest is THE JOURNEY. It’s based on a real road trip that happened in 2006, when two arch enemies — the heads of Ireland’s warring factions, spent about an hour together in the backseat of a car. This was the prelude to a historic peace deal, cementing the end of Ireland’s long Civil war.

In this episode we dig deep into questions like what people really want from their political leaders, whether it's possible (or even advisable) to overcome desire, and whether and when just sitting on a park bench, enjoying a tree, is enough. 


Timothy Spall Quote: You know, we’re all babies…We’re babies that have got layers and layers of sophistication.  Some under the pressure of having to grow up, some from experience, and some just from what our preoccupations are and our decisions about how we think we can contribute. Whether we think we’re leaders or followers.  We can ask this fundamental question: How much is the ego and the desire to be in charge a power for good or bad?  How much is it based upon your absolute, fundamental belief in things? How much is it driven by you merely wanting to be in charge,  Or your desire for everybody’s life to be better? This is a constant, universal, global question.

Surprise conversation starter interview clips in this episode:

Scott Barry Kaufman on Solitude

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.