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tv   Meet the Author  BBC News  September 28, 2017 8:45pm-9:00pm BST

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criticism fillthfll iiii‘ei l%nc"i there was some criticism the british willie britz low in terms of help but what sort of help are you getting? hms ocean left behind supplies that people need, what are food and materials. her crew also helped us to clear a lot of baby from the roads which has been helpful. you talked about power and electricity. a lot of infrastructure needs. that could take months or yea rs. needs. that could take months or years. that is why we need a construction package. we welcome efforts from the uk government to look at this issue and we look forward to discussions with them on reconstruction. part of that has to be aid to underpin the recovery effort. we're talking about a sizeable amount of money. how much good that sort of programme cost, that long—term aid? good that sort of programme cost,
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that long-term aid? more than 20096 of gdp has been wiped out. this is going to cost a great deal and that is why we need uk support to do it. we can do our part but the uk government has resources. what is morale like on the island. it has obviously been completely devastating. they have had horrid keynes before, this is not as out of the blue. —— hurricanes. are determined to get back on their feet? what people want is to rebuild and rebuild with resilience a that we can weather storms if they come. that is why it is important going forward , that is why it is important going forward, aid will be necessary to get the process started and i am looking forward to discussions with the uk government on that. and does that mean rebuilding different way,
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structures that are more resilient against hurricanes in in the future? if we see a continuing pattern of hurricane force winds, 200 mph and more, category five, we will need to ensure that all of the buildings are built to the highest standards possible so we don't have this problem a second time. briefly, from your initial contacts, are you optimistic you will get the help you wa nt optimistic you will get the help you want from the british government? we welcome the visit by the foreign secretary and also the international development secretary. they are committed to reconstruction and we look forward to discussing it with them in the very near future. aid will be necessary and we hope they will be necessary and we hope they will provide it as such. good luck with all of that. thank you so much. the headlines on bbc news. the eu's lead negotiator says there are still "big gaps" between the sides on some of the withdrawal issues after
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the latest round of brexit talks. the england cricketer — ben stokes — will not be considered for selection for international cricket — after his arrest on suspicion of assault. ryanair is threatened with legal action for misleading passengers about their rights — as thousands more flights are cancelled. now it's time for meet the author with jim naughtie. siri hustvedt is a prize—winning american novelist who also writes about art and philosophy, and lectures in psychiatry. so it's not surprising that in her book of essays, a woman looking at men looking at women, her mind races back and forth from the visual arts to sex, to the science of the mind, and of course to the question of how we see ourselves. welcome. siri, you begin this book
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in your introduction to the essays by recalling cp snow and his famous description of two cultures — a scientific culture and an artistic culture, literary culture, which couldn't talk to each other in the ‘50s. and you seem to be suggesting that we still haven't got over that. yes, i think that that very famous lecture that caused a great deal of controversy is something that most americans and people in the uk remember, so i wanted to begin by asking that question — have we come much further? i think the gulf continues to exist. i think what's changed is that science certainly has taken pre—eminence over what snow
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called literary intellectuals. literary intellectuals don't have the same clout as they may have had in the 1950s. one of the things he was lamenting at that time wasn't so much scientists' ignorance of shakespeare but the other way round. if you said to, you know, a great literary scholar, "what's the second law of thermodynamics? they wouldn't know. that's right, and i think snow has a point. becoming literate or reasonably literate in both the arts and the sciences is extremely useful. well you are... you talk about art, you talk about how we deal with visual images. many of these essays reminded me of people likejohn berger, for example, writing in ways of seeing, which was almost a revolutionary book.
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he was writing from a marxist perspective but it was all about how we look at things, which most of us are often not conscious of. yes, i think the way we frame questions in the culture is vital, and i think we need multiple frames. so, if you are literate in both the sciences and the humanities, you have access to a number of different perspectives and that allows you to dance, as i call it, among those perspectives and solve problems in the particular discipline that you are working in. that's the crucial point. you are... not uniquely but you are splendidly placed to do this because you are a novelist, a very successful novelist, you love the visual arts but you also, as we speak you are on your way to deliver a paper at a neurology conference. you are making a case for the importance of thinking, of looking at an image and trying to work it out, of looking at ourselves and peeling away the layers of superstition
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or falsehood in getting to the real thing. are you concerned about the kind of culture we now have? well, i think we have to be aware that our perception of anything includes bias so there is some agreement now that generally we see what we expect to see, that perception is not passive. we are notjust taking in the real world, but we are actively creating it through our expectations. and imprinting our thoughts and beliefs... yes, and that would mean that perception is, by definition, conservative. so we bring our biases to our perception of things. one way, say in a work of art, to get past that to some degree i think is to spend a very long time in front of say a single canvas or work of art, and then time begins to play. you write about this, you know, very tellingly and almost
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with a sense of tension about how long you should spend, you know, looking at a great picture. if it's a picture that will take that attention. yes. and what you get from it over time. say, if you care about an image, if you care about the work of art, two hours will give you a lot, i think, and it will change your ideas about the picture. rather than racing around the gallery and saying how many have i seen. yes, there's a pursuit of greatness, right? and greatness will influence how we look at an image. we've had that, er, attributions are changed so a painting that was attributed to rembrandt is then discovered not to be a rembrandt, and what happens — the museum either puts it in the basement or moves it and the spectators' experience with the painting will be changed
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by the attribution. we all know this is true. one of the things that i think is difficult to avoid is that you have been writing these essays in an age, particularly in the united states but not only in america, where there has been almost a deliberate attempt to say, you know, cultural complexity really doesn't matter. we shouldn't care about this stuff. and of course, with respect to the sciences, where there has been an attempt by some people to say, well, why do you believe these guys in white coats? exactly. for somebody who's going about this kind of thinking, that's a pretty depressing atmosphere. it is, so we live in sound bite worlds, everyone knows that, but also the anti—science movement, you could almost call it. people who say, well, i simply don't believe it, i don't believe climate change.
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so what is science? science moves and changes and discovers new things all the time so it's not a static reality. at the same time, there is a consensus about what is true or more true. that's what a scientific finding is. that could change over time, but to deny that scientific consensus is extremely dangerous to my mind. but it's equally important to go back to where we began, in your view, that we take artistic sensibility and thought just as seriously, so the way we apply our own minds to beauty and truth. that's right, so every discipline has its strengths and handicaps. i think that's important to understand. so scientists are not always philosophically sophisticated about what they are doing. sometimes the work rests on paradigms that they have not interrogated.
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philosophers can help that, philosophers can help understand how the scientific consensus is arrived at. or, for example, historical changes. historians, i think, are invaluable in showing why some scientific ideas are accepted at a particular moment and others are discarded. we need all of these points of view to think carefully and subtly about who we are, what we are, and how we become what we are. in a sense, what you are arguing for is the release of what was called in a famous book, you know, a long time ago, the liberal imagination. not in a political sense but innocence of, you know, applying minds to problems in an open way. yes. i actually gave a lecture at massachusetts general hospital in january, and it was a grand rounds lecture but i got the extra bonus of being taken
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into research facilities. and they presented — these young scientists presented their research to me, and at the end we began to talk about multidisciplinary approaches. and i said to them what i deeply believe — i am not telling you to read philosophy and literature and look at visual art because i think we should all be well rounded, lovely people. i'm telling you this because i think it will help you solve problems in your own work. i believe that. siri hustvedt, author of the essays in a woman looking at men looking at women. thank you very much. oh, thank you having me. some warm sunshine and error on but cloud increasing from the west and the rain coming into western
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scotla nd the rain coming into western scotland and northern ireland and lowering cloud in the north—west. the whole lot will push its way northwards across england and wales and the band are moving into scotla nd and the band are moving into scotland and western parts of england and wales overnight, allowing clearer skies to arrive in northern ireland so turning chilly with cloud and rain developing elsewhere. this weather fronts bringing the main area of rain and although having said that there won't be much rain towards the south—east, later in the day when it clears away, but some sunshine chasing in behind, a few showers around. a strong and gusty winds up quite a cool feel and a fresher feel for most, the temperature not quite as high as today. a chilly start to the weekend was some sunshine around and not too many showers. the wind is picking up in the south—west to bring cloud and rain later on. wet and windy weather sweeping eastwards on saturday night and we could have some gale force winds on sunday. hello, i'm ros atkins, this is outside source.
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we'll hear from brussels first. the fourth round of brexit talks have concluded a little earlier. it seems progress has been made. how much depends on who you are. how much depends on who you are. thousands of student protesters take the streets of barcelona ahead of this weekend's vote on catalan independence. it comes a spanish authorities step up their efforts to stop the vote going ahead. police have raided a warehouse in the centre of the city, where ballot boxes are being stored. we'll be live in the city. and we'll bring you details about a team of researchers in china, who say they've successfully edited the dna in human embryo to remove a potentially life threatening disease.
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