Re: Which writers inform your work?

Question: Which writers inform your work?

Keith Gessen: I’ve mentioned Bellow, Roth- DeLillo is somebody whose confrontation with popular culture, I think, has been very important. Houellebecq- Michel Houellebecq, the French writer, is someone who has taken the world that was created by the ‘60s, the world of sexual liberation, of multiple sexual partners, of free sexual competition, and read this as a historical phenomenon, has treated this as something that is new and that is important, and that needs to be theorized and historicized, which is not something that we typically do in American literature, but we ought to be doing. And my book is not Houellebecqian, but it tries to do some of this. It tries to take dating seriously, as a historical phenomenon, which I think it is.

Recorded: 3/18/08

 

 

 

Michel Houellebecq, among others.

Russia sends its first android to space

The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.

Photos by TASS\TASS via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Russia launched a spacecraft carrying FEDOR, a humanoid robot.
  • Its mission is to help astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
  • Such androids can eventually help with dangerous missions likes spacewalks.
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Human extinction! Don't panic; think about it like a philosopher.

Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.

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Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
  • The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
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this incredibly rich machinery – with Antonio Damasio

Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.

Think Again Podcasts
  • "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
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