Bernard-Henri Lévy on de Tocqueville
Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French philosopher and the author of over 30 books, including works of philosophy, fiction, and biography. He began his career as a war reporter for Combat - the legendary newspaper founded by Albert Camus during the Nazi occupation of France - for which he covered the war between Pakistan and India over Bangladesh, and gained international renowned in 1994 for his documentary, Bosnia! Lévy is also the founder of the New Philosophers group. His 1977 book Barbarism with a Human Face launched an unprecedented controversy over the European left's complicity with totalitarianism. Lévy's cultural commentary, novels and journalism have continued to stir up such excitement that The Guardian noted he is "accorded the kind of adulation in France that most countries reserve for their rock stars."
Topic: Bernard-Henri Levy on de Tocqueville
Bernard-Henri Levy: The policeman on the highway to Chicago, I think, who, at the moment, when I stopped my car, I ask for the driver to… because I don’t drive myself, so [IB] had to hire a driver for me. It’s an incapacity I have. I asked to stop to have a piss. I did it. Policeman came to me, very angry, furious, telling me that I have, it was absolutely forbidden to stop in the middle of a highway to do such terrible thing. He was really at the edge of putting me a big fine and maybe making me lose a few hours and I told him that I was French, but he did not care, that I was a writer, even worse, that I was a philosopher. Go to hell. That I wrote a book about Daniel Pearl. He did not really know the name, and suddenly I told him, but really, out of arguments, out of I did not know to which saint [asked], I said, “I’m doing a book about Alexis de Tocqueville.” And then his face was cleared by a great smile. “Alexis de Tocqueville? Are you really meaning Tocqueville?’’ I said, “Yes.” “Oh, my God! So you are blessed!” No fine and nothing. He took me back to the car and he said, “Bye-bye. Good luck. Have a good day.”
Lévy recounts a humorous story from footsteps of de Tocqueville.
When adults are challenged to behave like adults, by a child, they can go in one of two directions.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When it comes to scientific theory, (or your personal life) be sure to question everything.
- The theories we build to navigate the world, both scientifically and in our personal lives, all contain assumptions. They're a critical part of scientific theory.
- Cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman urges us to always question those assumptions. In this way, by challenging ourselves, we come to a deeper understanding of the task at hand.
- Historically, humans have come to some of our greatest discoveries by simply questioning assumed information.