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Noam Chomsky on Love: “Life’s Empty Without It”
Noam Avram Chomsky was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 7, 1928. He attended the University of Pennsylvania where he studied linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy. In 1955, he received his Ph. D. from the University of Pennsylvania, however, most of the research leading to this degree was done at Harvard between 1951 and 1955. Since receiving his Ph. D., Chomsky has taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he now holds the Ferrari P. Ward Chair of Modern Language and Linguistics.
Among his many accomplishments, he is most famous for his work on generative grammar, which developed from his interest in modern logic and mathematical foundations. As a result, he applied it to the description of natural languages.
His political tendencies toward socialism and anarchism are a result of what he calls "the radical Jewish community in New York." Since 1965 he has become one of the leading critics of U.S. foreign policy. He published a book of essays called American Power and the New Mandarins which is considered to be one of the most substantial arguments ever against American involvement in Vietnam.
Question: What is love?
Noam Chomsky: I just know it's—has an unbreakable grip, but I can't tell you what it is. It's just life's empty without it.
Question: Who would you like to meet and spend time with?
Noam Chomsky: I have to say, the people who really impress me, when I have a chance to meet them, are people whose names nobody will ever hear. So, for example, in Southern—let me give you a personal, very personal example. A couple of months ago, I learned that extremely poor peasants in Southern Columbia, whose lives were being destroyed, in part by US run chemical warfare, called fumigation, which destroys their agricultural lands and communities. And in part just by the terror of the Columbian state and the, by now terror of the guerrillas that they're caught in the middle of, really miserable people. They just planted a forest in memory of my wife, who died a couple of months ago. That's one of the most moving things I've ever experienced. I've actually met some of them. I did go down and—but couldn't do much—I couldn't do anything for them, I just listened to horrible testimonies.
But these are people with real—and they're all over the world, with real human feelings, commitment, concern, a suffering beyond what we can imagine, but willing to do something for someone else they've never met. And you find things like that all over the place, here too. Some of the most moving experiences I've had are just in black churches in the south, during the civil rights movement, where people were getting beaten, killed, really struggling for the most elementary rights. Just asking for the congressional amendments during the Civil War, asking them to be implemented. Not particularly radical, but quite a battle, it continues like that. These are the really impressive people, in my view.
Recorded on: Aug 18, 2009
The MIT linguistics professor on life without his wife.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
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Exploring Morality and Selfishness in Modern Times<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="02eX1Cag" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="45cc6180db791f32683988fb52faff26"> <div id="botr_02eX1Cag_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/02eX1Cag-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> Philosopher Peter Singer discusses the state of global ethics.
Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.
Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.
- Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
- "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
- In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.