Long Now: Steven Pinker

A new Seminar About Long-term Thinking, at the Long Now: Steven Pinker giving a long lecture on the themes of his new book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. Followed by audience questions with the venerable Stewart Brand.

In the Q&A there’s some moaning about Trump (who I seriously doubt is channelling the 1920s ideas of the likes of Ernst Junger, as is suggested by Pinker), but it’s easily chuckled at for credulously buying into the muddle-headed ‘Trump is Hitler’ stance of the far-left.

“It’s all dystopia”

The leading science-fiction writer Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash, Anathem) was interviewed last week at MIT. It wasn’t the greatest interview in the world, frankly, but he was asked about the effects of his recent multi-author anthology of optimistic science-fiction. He replied that, as a result of the anthology…

NS: “I feel like there was a little uptick in people being more conscious of, you know, why they’re always dystopias [in contemporary science-fiction], you know. Can we please get away from the dystopian thing for a minute?”

Interviewer: “I mean… the effects on young people [can’t be good. For instance]… I see my daughter’s middle school… yeah… they’re reading science fiction. But it’s all dystopia.”