The Greatest American Love Story

David McCullough: John and Abigail Adams were too immensely vital, energetic, aspiring and affectionate people whose story is a great love story. They are a great real love story and their character, their personality, their mental vitality work together in a way that would not have happened to had either one of them have been going it alone. They are also very revealing to us, about what life was like them? And what they thought? What they felt? What they found painful or exhilarating or hardcore or uplifting because they report all their feelings out in letters, on paper and they did it all through their whole lives for over a thousand letters between John and Abigail Adams that have survived and we don’t have to wonder about, what did they think or where they frighten, where they depressed, where they optimistic. We know, we told each other, and they are honest about it, they are candid about it because the other one would have known in a minute if the one writing was being superficial or instance here, and they were both superb writers that is not a dull letter in the whole lot, nor of short one, they daily reported out and if they had done nothing else in their lives, but write those letters in that day, in that time in the letter survived as they have, they would have made an immense contribution of the country because they are the great window on to their time and on to their own intimate lives of anybody who lived there, any American who lived there. Jefferson for example destroyed every letter his wife ever wrote to him or he wrote to her, Martha Washington destroyed orbit of one or two letters that her husband wrote to her, but not sure why they did it, there any web they have succeeded in obliterating that record, the Adams is saved everything and because of it was written on, red paper that is paper made from jobbed up linen rags and not wood pulp as our paper is that paper is this good today, those letters are as good today isn’t they were written and to whole one of those in your hands very same piece of paper about the same distance from your eyes as the recipient of letter held it from her eyes or his eyes is to make contact with those people in the way that’s surpasses almost anything I have ever experienced, it’s a tacto real contact with those manage people.

 

Recorded on: 3/3/08

As their letters reveal, John and Abigail Adams were too immensely vital, energetic and affectionate people.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

New alternative to Trump's wall would create jobs, renewable energy, and increase border security

A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.

Credit: Purdue University photo/Jorge Castillo Quiñones
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
  • The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
  • It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
Keep reading Show less

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
Keep reading Show less