next, curtis argues that authors christopher hitchens are misguided in their fate that science will eventually provide all the answers we have regarding the nature of human beings and the physical world. he says the religion verses scions debate left out the role that philosophy, art and culture have played in shaping the way that we understand the world. during this event hosted by immelt phill house mr. white is a conversation with lewis, former editor of harper's magazine and current at the turn of the quarterly. this is an hour. >> i am a long time at meijer on the editorial advisory board and the quarterly.
i turned to him for wisdom which often comes over me and i'm going to let him begin by explaining. we want them to talk as much as possible. and so, if you can set up the premise of the book and then i have a few questions the last few if the silence falls. >> well, from what i can tell so far, one of the things the people what their current leaders, journalists want to know why i decided to write this book a seeing eye and a novelist and not a science writer. the answer to that question is curious for probably everybody else.
[phone sounds] [laughter] >> i just had to turn off, sorry. >> -- it's happened more than once in my riding lifetime. i was driving in a car listening to npr and i just happened to hear -- i think it was on the fresh air for those of you who know my book you know i have a certain attitude to fresh air they were interviewing the jonah whose book had just come out imagine how creativity works. as i was driving along i was doing a -- explaining how they created creativity a mechanical function or mechanical kunkel function of the brain, a drop of oxycontin or whatever it was he was saying here and i had come up with an idea.
the other thing i was quite surprised about is how little resistance he seemed to get from the interviewer and how basically the interviewers attitude was how interesting, how interesting that is. but for me and was a sort of big labowski moment where i said this aggression will not stand, man. you know that famous line from the big labowski. and so, as usually i am a very poor as a writer being told and given ideas on what to write and i'm very dependent on the big labowski, so i got the book and i started thinking about what it amounted to and how it sort of grew over time to become a broader critique of science and
technical rationality in the united states. and it's important social and implications. this book, "the science delusion," has many moving parts. and so i thought that it would be good for all of us but especially good for me if rather than trying to explain it by the seat of my pants if i read the introduction which is very short but will give us some common ground as we proceed into the evening. so if you will bear with me. one of the most astonishing spectacles of the intellectual culture and the first decade of the 20th century has been the confused alarms of struggle and fight rising from the clash between the christian evangelical and the science. at the very moment that the
neocons made the mythology of the christian right the defining ideology of the republican party, the scientific literature would produce a series of triumphs and books claiming the science and region over religion to be the commercial success of the work led by richard dawkins and christopher hitchens, god is not great, alex rosenberg of the fiesta guide to reality, sam harris, the moral landscape and for the -- the movie religulous. in any case it is clear that these writers have to tell the jury pool powerful part of the culture that is once told and emphatically so. more recently a separate series of separate books and lectures and articles have appeared concerning the advancement of scientific knowledge about the human brain. how it works and what possesses
those capacities that until now we've called consciousness and creativity. i will be focusing on three science writers. they are i think typical representatives of the field with their work is just a sliver of the total output between the narrow scientist and their allies on the artificial intelligence the literature explaining the brain wiring is intimidating. unlike the scientists and critic sap war what religion is much clearer that they have an antagonist for the part of the cultural war. but it is obvious as narrow scientists are trying to explain the phenomena that until a few decades ago was thought to be in the demand of the philosophy arts and humanities. the surprising thing is how much interest and enthusiasm the scientists and other advocates have generated in the media and
among the readers. for example until his unfortunate fall from grace in the journalistic ethics, he imagined how creativity works as a best seller and his lecture has had over half a million viewers. the work was from academic philosophers and then nothing remotely like the popular response to the neuroscience encouragement, humanity. shouldn't there be voices as prominent as asking very different questions? are we really just as the philosopher of science believed? are we just obeying all of the physics? have we been for all this time nothing better than love of the sand man who falls in love with
a seductive clockwork for all these centuries had our soulmates as the linebacker calls it electronically simulated girlfriend of meat, wire and kunkel? our id is best understood as a means for which the most important consideration is not truth but adaptive fitness? is the best way to understand or social behavior by tagging and to the selfish gene, the violent machine, the altruism the compassion, the romance gene? these are real things by the way. most importantly, whether demuro scientists are correct about all of this or not one of the social and political consequences of believing that they are correct or nearly so. so i would like to ask in whose
interests do these provocateurs right and to what end? they would like us to think that they are only interested in the list of alleged man of knowledge. but i would suggest that their claims are based on assumptions many of which are dubious if not outright diluted and that the kind of political culture that their delusion support. i say this because it is too late to say dangerous. it's already here and well-established. one thing that can be said is that these ideas are not entirely new. never mind the fact part is the cutting edge of the scientific knowledge. the truth is the fundamental assumptions of modern scientific culture are a part of the ideological baggage to be in his famous lecture on the roots of romanticism, isaf expressed that ideology in this way. the view is there is the nature of things such that you notice
nature and yourself in a relationship with of this nature and understand the relationship between everything that composes the universe, then your goal as well as the fact about yourself must become clear about all these things disagreements may occur but that there is such knowledge that is the foundation of the entire tradition. the view is that of a puzzle of which we must fit into the secret treasure which we must seek. the essence of this is that there is a body of facts through which we must supplement. science is submission and is being guided by the nature of things. scrupulous regard for what there is a non-deviation from the fact understanding knowledge adaptation. my claim in the book is the message is much the same as that of the so-called and that the two should be considered
together. they speak on behalf of science just as a narrow scientist and the message of both camps. confessed to the superiority of science and reason but it is not only to the evangelicals this directed to send. it is also sent to another historical adversary part of philosophy and the humanities. they're the directive goes something more like this. the human mind and creations are not the consequence of something called the well or inspiration or communion and least of which ingenious. all of that is nebulous. it is the weak minded religion of the poet's. the human mind is a machine to wash and chemicals. daniel calls us blease robots. [laughter] you know, sometimes i think that scientists don't see their own sense of humor.
but i don't think that he's kidding. with enough money and power the jigsaw puzzle of the brain will be completed and we will know what we are and how we should act. the problem is to know just who it is that continues to believe and repel this enlightenment story. is this what science thinks or just what popular science thinks or is it simply an abuse of science by people with social and political agendas? i think the varying and the noble degrees fall free. it's certainly his starkly with most scientists in their heart of hearts have fought and still think. it's usually the fundamental assumption of popular science and journalism and it is certainly an abuse of the real value of science as one of the great ongoing endeavors. it is in essence science ideology or science as it is
often called. unfortunately, it goes into a comfortable place and the ideology of the economic exploitation, environment destruction and industrial militarism that is for a lack of a better term we still call capitalism. how the ideology of science measures with the broad audiology of capitalism would be of a consistent interest of my investigations here. the only remaining question as to what degree the western culture or a meaningful part of that can free itself from the delusion by which the ideology of science is based and find the resources to compose an alternative narrative about what is to be human. i hoped to show that many of those resources are to be found in a poorly understood position of romanticism to the it was that nettie was movement that first challenged science jigs all vision of the world and what
acted all that is mostly lost now the romantic position certainly has none of science and rationalism presently enjoy. it cannot organize the equivalent of richard dawkins reason rally of 20,000 eps in front of the washington monument. my more modest hope is to begin the process of remembering some part of that movement of artists, philosophers and social revolutionaries in order to see what they might have to say to us now. i hope you will find that they can still speak very powerfully to us. >> welcome that should be clear enough but let's take down, continue with the labowski moment and some of the scientists types and then what
so, go on about that. >> i think you are touching on the heart of science as an ideology and that goes back to what is essentially the galilean perspective on things, which is very close to what berlin called the jig saw puzzle approach. in other words galileo felt two things. one, that ultimately everything is explode the bill and two, that reality, that mathematics was adequate to all of reality. so, that is sort of the starting point for a description of the ideology of science. beyond that, we often say it's a
fundamental dogma of science is the simple idea that there are objects. there are objects and those objects are related to each other mechanically and that is what makes it possible for a complete and mathematical description of the world. of course what is left out of that account and what is underestimated by the galilean point of view is the fact that in order to have these objects one must have an observer so we are very familiar with einstein's theory of relativity which argues that you know, that time can vary depending on where the observer is, whether the observer is traveling something close to the speed of light time will slow down.
but what the einsteinian traditiontradition s seem to be an interested in is the question, what is the observer? in other words, science presupposes the existence of an observing subject in order to do its -- and it's not curious about just exactly what we mean by observing the subject. of course a lot of 19th century philosophy were very interested in what it meant to be a subject, what it meant to be in relationship to a world. and one of the primary discoveries of that tradition and 19th century philosophy was of course that you never seem to be able to get back to a pure consciousness. you never get back to up your eye. there is always something contaminating it and that contaminant for them, although you can use the word in a pejorative sense, was that
contaminant for them was language or the symbolic. so, from the point of view of many of the artists and philosophers that i talk about in the book, it's critical to understand that our relationship to the real is always mediated in one way or another. no matter how thin that distance between the cells and its world is, it's always there. and that needs to be explained. that needs to be taken into account. but it is something that most scientists, especially the ideological source are very impatient. they don't want to have to talk about how the eye is constituted and what it means to be an observer. they want simply to be able to
say like doctors and mail johnson famously did, does the world exists? i say it does. so that sort of gesture for them talk -- cuts through the malarkey of having to think through the functions of language in the subject. but to me, when science behaves were things in that way it's guilty of thoughtlessness. it's obvious to me at least that it's important to be able to account for what it means to be an observer and what the role of language is an observation about the role of symbolic symptoms in observation is. this goes back to the philosopher immanuel kant. he called the thing in itself unknowable, right?
instead of the thing itself, the only way we knew how to make sense of experience for kant was through what he felt were prioritized structurestructure s of language and mathematics. that is the only way we know how to make sense of these experiences themselves and it's nothing without language. i'd go so far in the book as to say that you know, this universe that scientists are so legitimately interested in is the creation. it's not present at all without the presence of language bears or symbol bears. the universe exists because of language. as the philosopher martin heidegger said languages the house language is the house of being and i have been persuaded like something like -- i something like that. >> the point is that the it is and the i am is a joint venture.
>> exactly. >> the world is something that we find but we also invent. >> exactly. >> mathematics is a very poor language. it's not a rich language is poetry, pure and simple because you talk about we are faced or it is presented to us between faith on one hand and reason on the other hand and then you suggest a third modus operandi which is home law analogous, the making of metaphors. the making of symbol. man is the maker of symbols and the maker of language and the reality in which we all live is each and every one of us is again a joint project of what is
there and here. it's like the heisenberg principle. and the thing that is so wonderful about your book is that not only do you show the dilution of the scientists who think that somehow mathematics is a science, but then people like hitchens and dawkins who have this ideology. they actually don't know anything about religion. i mean they assume that human decency is in eight. they assume that reason is divine but they offer no proof of that and they cannot say what reason is. so talk about that too. and then, you know, take apart the scientific dilution. take apart the -- people like
hitchens and then get to german romanticism and where you are finding -- i loved this book because i am a romantic. left to get us back, do a little bit on hitchens, the reason crowd and then get back to german romantics. >> right. i think one of the saddest things that i have discovered in writing this book is just how willfully ignorant the new atheists are of the history of religion. i am an atheist myself. if to be an atheist means not to
believe in a certain god that sits out there beyond things and twiddles his thumb, thumbs, his two thumbs. i have been a student of theology and religion and i find it really fascinating. it's fascinating as a human document, as a metaphorical document. but there is no evidence that hitchens who has no -- for not knowing this history your doctor and, doesn't know anything about it. in other words the gospel, they come from very different intellectual worlds. one is jewish, one is agnostic. the book of john is gnostic and
of course he wasn't one of the gospel writers but paul is his own creature. nor is he interested in the history of the development of interested in the history of the development of the church and the way in which the nicene council essentially was the declaration of war and christianity by christianity. and made what was then called the area and christianity. we all know the area in. if you know anything about unitarianism ty are erect descendents of the aryans. so all that seems to be really significant and important. moreover, they seem to have no interest in a romantic le seculd
christian -- christian theology. in the work for example of some of the german idealists like sharma kerr or kierkegaard's famous works or christenism or people like paul tillich. that just seems to me completely absent and what seems to me to be sad about that is not simply that they were willing to be so intellectually dishonest about what they were doing, but that the culture is such or at least part of the culture is such that is so enthusiastic about the condemnation. what that implies to me is that nobody seems to know these stories any more. and so we are willing to take what is essentially propaganda, you know ideology in the raw
sort of sense to heart in their own position. gather with richard dawkins in front of the washington monument. >> when we thought these ideas were dangerous in the 17th and 18th century and these are clip jobs on voltaire and marc twain and robert ingersoll. it's prophetic. hitchens in particular, other than to say he was an utterly dishonest person i can't understand how he didn't know that and why he didn't feel responsible for providing it in his work. >> i knew then why can. >> you probably drank scotch with them, right? pie did. >> he could drink more of it than i did but he was a
washington correspondent for harbor magazine, a brilliant polemicist. he was very good about making the argument where the money was, so as you say, that retreading of the discovery that "god is not great" which is old news, but it's sold. talk about -- no, you had a wonderful passage in the book where you talked about metaphor and you talk about your parents, and you say that parents don't do metaphor. now explain that and explain why human beings do metaphor, so
that the human being is the only creature that can say what it's like to be a parent. >> this was a brief aside in the book in which i take issue with the philosophy of the famous essay called what it's like to be a bat. he argues essentially that there must be something that it's like to be a bat in the problem for philosophy and the problem of sciences to find out what it's like to be a bat. my reply stew that was you know, using my pet parrots as an example as i often do for anything is that for my parrots, it's like nothing. nothing is like being a parrot. they are simply a parrot and they are very good at being a parrot. i have this one little footnote that i put in there to entirely
suppress my comic being when i asked -- what she was like and she said good girl. to which i said, i replied that made me think parrots didn't have any idea what they were like. she is the first of thing from a good girl. we actually call her -- her name is albertine but we call her teeny and we call her teeny too many. one too many birds. >> lets take the other idea or one of the other ideas. this book by the way is magnificently rich with ideas. you can go on all kinds of directions but in the end of introduction you talk about scientism as the servant of capitalism and the language of
numbers, the human being as product, as code and the strength of your romanticism is in language. it's in poetry. let me read you something and ask you to comment on and along those same lines. this is the essayist george steiner who was saying that -- he's talking about the loss of language that has happened to us over the last few know, 50 odd years with the incoming of television media and internet. the true catastrophe of babil is not the scattering of tongues. it's the reduction of human speech to a handful of planetary multinational tongues. anglo-americans standardized vocabularies and grammar shaped by military technocratic megalomania and the imperatives of commercial read which is the
voice of money talking to money in the voice that tony morrison when she accepted the nobel prize in 1993 did nominated as the language that drinks blood. happy to admire its own paralysis, possessed of no desire or purpose other than maintaining a range of narcotic narcissism. , predatory, sentimental, exciting reference in school children providing a shelter for dust that's. language design to sanction it ignorance and preserve privilege and that to me is the language of scientism. and talk about capitalism. talks about the barbaric part in one of your books and connect the ideology in scientism with the capitalist devouring of the earth. >> one of the constant themes if
you will of scientism is the idea that we are machines, that we are like computers. if we want to talk up the brain we have to talk about its wiring and this is not only thoughts on the face of it but actually no evidence that the brain is like this. they are using a metaphor for this far more labile dynamic and changeable then wiring will allow. this assumption has been one of the things that most of the books of neuroscience have been most consistent about. and the ideological function of that idea is i think think pretty clear. for example it in relation to
creativity, there is this idea that if the same part of the brain lights up when beethoven writes a symphony or bob dylan writes a song, and when somebody comes up with a logo for a tennis shoe which is essentially what he argues believe it or not, if the same part of the brain lights up in those two activities go on, they must be the same because wouldn't it be elitist for us to say that no, that part of dylan's brain lights up it must be in some sense better than that part of the brain when it lights up when milton glaser comes up with a i heart you nor hard you nor thing that you must live with everyday? so, what that allows that sleight-of-hand, what is allows it to do is to move creativity without denying.
it allows it to move creativity almost seamlessly into the work ways. so for example eyesight for ge motto at present, imagination at work which i point out is reportedly identical to work makes you free but it also makes you creative, free and creative for jabber. so that seems to me to be a really powerful and troubling ideological consequence. thinking that you are a machine. so the more they can convince you that you are like a machine, the tendency would be that you will be more likely to accept the idea that you should accept a position and a role in a function within your society that is as much machinelike as
society can make it. so you know we have very limited roles and jobs that we are obliged to claim as our own. >> that is division of charlie chaplin. >> exactly. modern times. >> yeah, modern times. we live in a world where it's the machine that thinks it's the man who does the function of the machine. >> these are not things that are new but they are sort of sadly out of the way. >> no, no they have been suppressed and you're here to revive them. >> i am trying in my own little way. >> talk about art. the end of the 18th century, 19th century romanticism is in part and ticket early music, that is you know you can quote
show pennon although those wonderful people but what do you mean by the human being reaching the height of philosophy through art rather than through mathematics? >> talk a lot about romanticism and one of the things i try to do is to redefine it. >> yeah because now it's a dirty word. >> it's a pejorative and most people associate the idea of romanticism with naturism that walks in the woods and reading a poem while you are out were out there and getting inspired by waterfall. that is actually a really lazy way of thinking about romanticism in gross stereotype. the roots of romanticism are really in german philosophy and i take great pains to make
accessible for nonprofessional readers of philosophy of friedrich schiller and also friedrich shelling. shiller in particular is the touchstone for romanticism in general as i understand it. the primary thing is not nature for shiller. it's anything but that. he didn't even like nature. he said he can go out and see a flower, fine. that is how we should think about romanticism. it starts with the idea of alienation, feeling that you are not part of your own world. now, schiller blames this alienation of what he calls the -- of culture and i would say in the present the ideology of science is substantially
responsible for the misery of culture. >> and it reinforces it. it's the defender of the misery. >> you are right. work in this country. the bright part in schiller is his idea that seeing romantics as artists, their primary chore as hard as it was to refuse the world as it was in the rules in a world that had been provided for them as people, people like wordsworth and to move into arts for the purpose of creating an alternative world and for the purposes of -- so if they didn't like the limited roles that the culture had provided for them they would
invent their own roles. so the idea of the genius for the poet are really new roles for people to inhabit just as the beatnik was, just as the danny was. all those new kinds of roles for human beings to inhabit as a way to fleeing the roles of the dominant culture had provided for them. so, that is a very different way of thinking about the function of romanticism and it allows us to think that romanticism is not something that existed merely in a limited kind of age period in the beginning of the 19th century. but it's something that has never stopped functioning because we have always had artists. there've always been arts in which primarily identified with a certain kind of dissidents through the creation of art
discord. one of my favorite philosophers oliver court says all art is rule governed d. formation and if it's not deforming it's not art. the reason for that d. formation is not a joy in the uglier something ugly or something like that. it's a desire to be free of the dominant culture. >> that me read again one of your senses on precisely this point. for the romantic, the most desirable society is not one organized for the benefit of the nobility or the church or capitalism or even science and reason but one that maximizes the tolerance for play art is played. the spirit is played. freedom is played. >> right. >> and i'm totally in agreement with that statement. you can go on about it.
>> in writing this book i read a lot of the early primary texts, german philosophy and romanticism and i was stunned by how often the word play was written as a primary. in romantics nature was playful. nature was dynamic. nature was always sort of rolling the dice. god does not roll but dice. well nature does. it certainly does. and play then became a kind of ethic for their romantics and the most desirable society was one in which the people were the freest to create their own world, to create their own roles within that world. that was the sort of ethical principle that moved the romantics the most.
and i was really surprised at how often i found that word play. coleridge of course was the one who brought german idealism over to england and by the great english poets of this period. >> in understanding media he has a long riff on the object of life being play. what kind of time do we have? >> i think i see the interview pulled up. >> questions? >> i think we have got all the things that we wanted to get out.
[inaudible] science itself bare scarification. i'm not sure if you're familiar with his work. he argues that anything that has a rigorous formulation is not true science and the use the galilean revolution as an example of that. everything was called science before that point was overturned by the work that galileo did in similar things happen happened with einstein. i was wondering if you had anything to say on the idea that science itself may be in anarchic process rather than one that follows rules? >> i do talk about that at some length. in other words, the randomness in science proper. this is not an anti-science book. i like science. i love reading science books. one of the great pleasures of retiring for me is that i finally got to, from my
university gig, was finally being able to read this shelve books, books about science, the history of science, the books about string theory, supersymmetry and all this stuff. who knows if the string theory is true? it absolutely an anti-empirical kind of theory but it is for me a delightful story. and i think one of the things that science as a community but certainly the science ideologists like dawkins don't understand is that they are telling a story to match. certainly the idea that there is no such thing as nature. there is an ecosystem. that is a story and the problem is that culture begins to believe that story.
sciences such it has always been contingent upon you know what's his name? somebody. [laughter] >> sciences happiest when it's overturning. >> right, that is much to sciences credit. science get most excited when it's turning over what it already established and new. that is much to sciences credit and i think that's a form of play. the thing is that is disturbing is how much science ideologists want to dismiss the arts and philosophies from the room. they want to say that it dead or you can't learn anything from it. i would have extensive quotes in the look, or it's for entertainment only. so they don't really believe that art thanks that but that is a fundamental function of art, to think.
>> george steiner's recent book called the poetics of five where he analyzes the pros of them material is thinkers. you think part of the problem with layering gladwell on people like that is the preposterous he of the language? do you think if they were writing more complexly they would have room and allowance for metaphor in there? >> i think you would need a brain transplant. frankly. [laughter] or a very different drug than the one you are taking. it's hard to imagine. they are ideologues. they are doing what they want to do which is pushing a certain point of view because for some reason they think it's in their interest to do that.
scientists like dawkins are very jealous of the idea as his lawrence krause cosmologists, very jealous of the idea that science has a privileged perspective on what will count as fact or truth. but in the phrase, they are purveyors of truth. they are truth. >> you have been reduced to an ought in science. [laughter] >> everyone agrees. that is what i think. >> one of my favorite passages in the book is where you talk about these crazy functions of the language that he used.
>> these people that are having their labor alienated but to be the outsider within the company. can you elaborate on that a little? >> it's a form of co-optation. for example silicon valley is the most famous for claiming a certain kind of hippie genealogy and bringing everyone into their tattoos and their nose piercings or whatever. but i call that a fake bohemian culture. the silicon valley and that kind of capitalism, the creative economy, is sort of knowingly manipulating the idea of dissonance that is part of the romantic tradition and by putting it to work for codified
capitalism purposes. there is a long "that are words that i cannot use on c-span in all likelihood. i will use this word instead of the word that they words that they use. this one guy was employing what he called weird dudes in his madison avenue company. he makes no bones about it. he says we can't have all these straight guys into advertising. we would bring in these weird dudes and milk the mother where descent after a couple of years with ring and some more weirdness. so there is no real respect for that appearance of the counterculture. it's a very fraudulent appearance. >> in large part the flower children of the 60s were an invention of the media in order to sell clothes.
if you look it up you will see that is the way that it worked. >> does anyone else have any questions? i expect you are not calling out science as a whole or any of the scientific advances. only the ideology behind it but i was curious what you think of some of the more mathematic, because i was a little upset by the math factions going on. it's quite a useful language and there has been a beautiful formulations in mathematical language to talk and quantify the emperor session in mathematical language and almost any language you can think of and i was wondering if you think that is germane to your point or a different thing? >> my problem with mathematics is with the claim that mathematics is entirely adequate to the real which is false.
>> there is proof that the mathematics is -- [inaudible] >> music is mathematic in its entire form. [inaudible] >> i forgot what i was going to say. yeah, i like it. i have nothing against meth. [laughter] >> mathematics is a substructure and you see that in a lot of -- >> sure. that is the next thing might on my list is to learn calculus.
>> it was a bestseller but when it all came apart there was a great zeal and almost joy in taking him down. is there any -- does that speak well of our society? >> frankly, you have journalists getting in trouble all the time. it's almost kind of a lynch mob in the attitude towards him now is you can never have a job again. how was the pork i supposed to live? you've got to cut him some slack but i think a lot of the ire comes from the fact not just that he -- -- but it was a spokesperson for a point of view. he was carrying a load. he was carrying a master's load and he screwed it up. so it was really the mainstream that has gone after him. >> they never say that but a lot
of their ire is that you made the position we gave you a verse possibility behind the scenes of course. no one has to be able to say it, that he messed up. >> shall we call it there? i know i am tired. >> you are obviously in good shape. thank you all so much for coming out. it was great. a lot of fun. [applause] >> what are you reading this summer? booktv wants to know.
>> what are you reading this summer? booktv wants to know. >> the first on my list that i've only read the first chapter of his called eating animals by jonathan safran foer. my daughter is in environmental studies major and is interested in the whole food movement and fighting against factory food. i eat meet and i eat chicken and i eat seafood. i may come away from this book not wanting to be any that are at least be more selective about how it eat it. foer is a good writer and i'm looking forward to that one. the next on my list is the new biography of david foster wallace and it's called every
love story is a ghost story by dt max. i have heard that it is very well researched. david foster wallace was a professor at the college where my son just graduated and my son is a fan of fall is. wallace was regarded by many to be one of the most interesting and creative writers of his era and tragically killed himself a few years ago. i'm just very interested in what happened with his life. i know he had many struggles and i love letter fees so that is my biography for this summer. next is a book by a friend of mine named jonathan rowe called our commonwealth. jonathan sadly passed away two years ago without having finished his book. some of his friends came together and pulled together his essays all about the commons which is basically anything that belongs to humanity.
it's the air, it's the water, its public spaces, it's the internet and one of his drives and life was to protect the commons and make sure that everything doesn't get taken over by private enterprise. so that is very much on my list and i've heard that it is really very interesting. and last is fiction. the new book by the college hosseini called and the mountains echoed. i read his first two books. i've never been to afghanistan and so this is my little way of going there without getting on a plane. it's a family story. intergenerational family and i think he is a wonderful writer. i plan to cry and just enjoy every minute of it. thank you.
>> amy butler has written her first book, "knocking on heaven's door" the path to a better way of death. katy butler who is jeffrey butler? >> jeffrey butler was my father and your holding up a picture of him and me in a very loving position. he was a world war ii veteran. he lost his arm in the war. he had amazing debts. he builds a floor to ceiling bookcases for a living room with only one arm which was just amazing. he was a professor of history. >> where did he teach? >> he taught at wesleyan in connecticut and lived a very