tv Age of Anger CSPAN March 26, 2017 6:00pm-7:46pm EDT
no marine gets left behind. >> you can watch this and other programs online booktv.org. [inaudible conversation] >> good afternoon. welcome. thank you very much for coming. my name is paul eli. i'm an author an fellow here at georgetown. i am very pleased to welcome today pankaj mishra for conversation about his new book,
age of anger. a few words about pankaj mishra. he was one of the most acclaimed riders today. he was born in india in 1969. he writes and reports from london, india and points worldwide. he contributes to the new yorker, bloomberg view, financial times and many other publications. his books includes the novel the romantics, the end to suffering. temptations of the west, from the ruins of empire in 2012. that led the economy to characterize him as a leading intellectual who was. [inaudible]
[inaudible] the called the book the amazing stories of the grandfathers of today angry asians. the novel chose it as one of the books of the year in the financial times. that book when the crossroad award for the best nonfiction in 2013. in 2014 became the first book by a nonwestern writer to win germany's award for european understanding. was also shortlisted for other awards, for the best nonfiction book in english. [inaudible] the new book, age of anger, history to present is the first essential read of the trump era. the novelist put it this way, it follows berlin, john gray and
mark by delving into the past in order to throw light on our contemporary predicament, the neglected and dispossessed of the world has certainly risen up to transform the world we thought we knew. he is a member of the royal society of literature. it's a great honor to have him, have you for a guest for conversation here at georgetown. thank you for coming. [applause] >> at the very front of the new book, we describe the circumstance for which he began to write it. in 2014, after friends and family members of yours in india elected a new nationalist to power and your effort to write the book coincided with angry emergent nationalism in india and other places. can you tell us a little bit how
that came about and what it was like to write a book of intellectual history, running in parallel to current events in the present. >> it was a strange experience. as you say, it was provoked by the election in 2014. a man that many of us in india thought should be in prison, who has really, many had been disgraced by his conduct on different occasions in the past. suddenly he come into power with lots of people, including members of my own family rooting for him. this is now and experience to others, and around them world. it divided families. it really forced me to examine them on my own presumptions. presumptions that had never
really, in a way, investigated. such as, a belief in democracy producing a moral outcome, and suddenly i thought well, democracy is produced a moral calamity. what is this thing that i've believed in for so long? what are these ideas, these abstractions, these concepts that i've unconsciously embraced for so long? it sort of made me go much deeper than any other political event in the past 20 years since i've been writing. i suppose i had to move away from journalism.
i had to go somewhere deeper, and also examine and broaden my framework and include in it events, personalities that had, on the face, very little to do with india, but to which india was intimately connected. the 19th century, for instance, the fate of the russians trying to catch up with the atlantic west. similar experiences. some of those experiences i've already written about in my previous book about japan trying to do the same, trying to catch up, importing ideology in ideas from the west.
then sparking a rush to imitation amongst other asian countries. this involves going deeper into european history, looking at people who had come late to the modern world. the indian elite, the indian intelligent who had produced all kinds of figures, with a great desire to match the achievements of the modern west. that is what, we had those growing up in india, those ideas, and i felt i had to go back and consider them. >> the book is built on large and very solid historical parallel, essentially that the
history of the 125 years before the outbreak of world war i was ruled by industrial capitalism in the so-called developed world and that the responses of different figures and social movements in that time, if you look at them it gives us an idea of how to understand similar developments and movements happening now on a global scale as more countries face industrial capitalism and are introduced into global commerce and so forth. when did that big comparison between one century and another, european history and global history come into view, or did it not come into view with that clarity, you had to develop it? >> there are certain genealogies that have always been evident. for instance, hindu nationalism which is triumphant in india
right now. we know that these ideologies have traveled around the world and assumed very different for forms, but shared certain similar ideas, but i think this book, or writing this book made me think that perhaps we have to go further and look at the 19th century. look at the experience of people who are trying to catch up with the modern west and are struggling with the apologies unleashed by this attempt to catch up, so you embrace industrial capitalism. you adopt the nationstate or the
model of the nationstate for your very diversified piece and then you start struggling with the problems thereby unleashed by this process of adoption and adaptation. i've been writing about how this process played itself out in asia and africa. for this i had to go back and look at germany in the early 19th century with the increasing wealth and power and listening to its sophisticated neighbors. also the military challenge from them, germany or german-speaking people and how they responded to this enormous challenge.
those feelings of being humiliated in a military campaign and having this man who occupies this country mocking and scorning your culture. all this particular interaction that you see. [inaudible] this is a global framework that we have to consider all these experiences within the framework of the modern, the modern, which begins in the 18th century when the principles of the modern world were formulated. that's when the world we live in starts to come in to being. that's one of the most radical projects in human history which
is the modern project which is institutionalized. so, that explains why this couldn't stop in the 19th century. i had to really go back to the beginning of this. suppose a man to patient from the past, from tradition, from customs, from traditional hierarchy, from the monarchy, all those liberation and then actually had started to happen. it's still happening today. >> one of the key points you make is that members of islamic state and terrorists and violent nationalists in asia, in the middle east, have western roots. can you explain that?
>> it's not so much western roots. it's modern roots. i'm very much distrustful of these very and vicious genealogies that locate the roots of militant violence, for instance, in something that was said in the 13th century or 15th century. generally locating the roots of militant violence of terrorism in a particular religion, is really a catastrophic mistake. it is ignoring terrorism within the modern west. it starts in the late 19th century with russians and people and spain and italy and the united states. these people, their religion is not the most important thing about them. i think, they made this mistake
of identifying terrorism, or militant disaffection with a particular religious community and a particular region and come up with all kinds of harebrained theories about how we should reform islam or let's have the moderates, there's all these bizarre theories. we are now realizing a lot that we identify exclusively, they can spun up anywhere. they have spun up in all parts of the world, irrespective of what the local religion is. they can spring up whenever the conditions are prevalent. it takes a little bit of economic decline.
it takes a little bit of embarrassment but it is there under the surface. muslim countries, many of them are absolutely devastated that it would generate these young men, these figures who just want to go out and kill other people. we've seen this over and over again, as i say in this book in just about 100 or 150 years, there is nothing islamic about this. >> so you say we've come to understand that it's not just tied to their roots. you've been saying it as long as
i know you, what we have in the new book is a thi synthesis or a historical account or a counter narrative to this narrative that you been tilting with in all of your work since 911. is that the case or are these things you've believed all along but just haven't found the right shape or pattern for. >> normally i could not believe that, growing up in india with all kinds of extremist political ideologies, but not exclusively located in the muslim community or the muslim population. there were different extremists around the neighborhood. i just spent a month where there are british monks who are ethnic cleansers.
are there sanctions or violence against the infidels? maybe there is. some said architect in tibetan monastery, i'm sure you could find it. the reason why even buddhists have resulted to ethnic cleansing and extreme forms of violence, thailand, sri lanka and other places as well, has very little to do with religion or religious texts. it has to do with certain specific social economic factors, and we have to investigate and analyze and understand those. this is something i've been saying over and over again based upon my experience of these particular realities. in many ways we have been dealing, we have been exchanging cruelties for a long time. people constantly try to argue with me saying why is it that
most terrorists seem to come from muslim countries. i said just think about this question. why is it that so much violence in the first half of the 20th century was committed by europeans. why did they slaughter each other in the way they did. millions, tens of millions people killed. is anything particular to europe or christianity. when you say it that way, how cruel that question is. how ignorant of specific economic social, political realities, but this is how we been thinking about violence in the world today. >> the way you put it in the book is that people thinking about the western narrative of progress are able to put into a box the exceptions to the idea of progress.
two horrible world wars and plenty of violent imperialist adventures and all those things. all of those are box is the exception, and that enables the person promoting the narrative to say that it's essentially a narrative of progress. what you are saying is you can't put those things in the box. the problems that we are seeing today on a global scale, essentially the problems i have been a lon around with industril capitalism all along. >> that was the problem with the end of history narrative that it really, in a way undermined critical faculties. in many ways, the post- 945. , they called it a parenthesis. in a long history of violence
and history in the 19th century, we were blinded to this history by our faith in this substitute religion of universe and progress. in this instance, defined as the spread of liberal democracy and capitalism. we became unaware of this large tormented history of the modern world where efforts to moderni modernize, to embrace these new ideologies of progress and modernization invariably caused incredible conflicts, trauma, suffering and millions of people being uprooted, moving to large cities where they were exposed to inhumane conditions. this is the material of so much 19th century literature. i actually came to those
experiences largely through novels and through reading 19th century literature. this is the experience they're talking about so large scale, and we began to think that modernization was a benign process and so i think, especially since the end of the cold war, we have lived with a lot of allusions, with the united states itself in western europe itself, the ideas and principles rejoining this tormented history. >> so not this book but your previous book the ruins of empire, that was an intellectual history of modern asia or more specifically the attempt of
certain thinkers to create a modern historical intellectual narrative that could counter the dominant narrative of the west. that is a counter narrative to the western arab. in this book, the second, you mentioned that history, i think it's called. at this point should be really regard the western notion of progress is fraudulent history that we need to do away with. >> progress is the fact, but it's always patchy, it's uneven, it's the result of different factors. not all of them have to do with capitalism or democracy. we tend to give too much credit to these obstructions we cherish and love, but progress, whenever it is made, it's the result of very many disconcerting
conferences. the fact that women's rights were advanced most of all by the two world wars, we think of progress is happening because economic growth is happening in their demanding certain rights and there's a big package of rates going through. unfortunately that is not how it works. that progress has always been on uneven surfaces. basing a whole narrative of universal progress on this very complex, paradoxical story really does make it seem that there's something fraudulent about this, this notion that the kingdom of god is about to be re-created on earth, and the people i've described in my previous book who were challenging this narrative, they
were not challenging it in isolation. many of them, especially after the first world war were drawing upon and echoing the confusions increasingly reached at that time the europeans themselves, by some of the best european riders and philosophers. that was a moment of reckoning for so many of them. again, examining assumptions in the way a lot of us are trying to do now. what was this world we were dreaming about. what was this great narrative of henry james or t.s. eliot, they were questioning this narrative that so many people believed in that this is irresponsible unstoppable progress.
been informed by this master narrative that progress is happening, and it's all working out. we only have to adopt these particular models of capitalism and democracy and things will work out in the way it has worked out for us. >> so i want to talk about anger, but your reference to the kingdom of god makes me ask, as i understand it, tell me if i've got this right. so with the decline of religion in western societies, religions were placed by the sub sub religion and ideology but what you are bringing to the floor is how this third sub religion emerged, the religion of progress and were only now seeing the elusive qualities of that belief.
>> it is the great unbeatable religion, really, in a way it seduces, and makes people discard their critical intellectual faculties. we know that religion and christianity has been marked by doubt, but progress, the religion of progress does not admit to its doubts. in a way it's more hard-line than most religions. it's also deeply persuasive, especially if you stop believing which is the case for most of us today in any other form. then your horizons are basically defined by progress. the simple belief that the
future would be better for your children and grandchildren and things are going to get better and better all the time, which has been the experience again, that has been the experience of many people since 1945. this is not an experience that people have in the first half of the 20th century could have had. they could not if they were living through the civil war in china. you could not have imagined a better future for your children or grandchildren, but hundreds of millions of people since 1945 have believed things are getting better all the time and the belief is grounded in certain realities that progress has happened, but again, it turns out that was a moment in the long sweep of time which has now ended. we are now looking at a completely different reality altogether. >> so this is why it's an age of anger. you have hundreds of millions of people who have glimpsed the
promise of progress, who have had conflict in their own lives, they have a vision of what progress represents, but they run up against the lack of actual progress for their own lives and societies and are angry. >> i think it's a case of extravagant expectations, thinking that the privileges in this part of the world that you have enjoyed for decades now are going to continue forever. not with globalization. not with the chinese join in the global economy and their large labor force. then if you're in india thinking that you will have one day the life promised to you by everything around you, television, the internet, a
house with two cars in the garage, that's not going to be the reality, the realize promise of most people in that country. so in one instance you have the fear of downward mobility and in other places where people have been taken out of extreme poverty and now find themselves or find their path ahead not, so that is a case of blocked mobility. at some point, the accumulated frustrations become politically toxic and that is what has happened in the last few years. we've been promised a lot by the ideologies of progress which are brought to us from all different directions, and we find that most of these promises are unfulfilled. they're certainly not been fulfilled and it's quite likely they are unfit unfulfilled.
we have constraints. we've already seen the political risks of unfulfilled promises. now you have some of the simple facts that the planet doesn't have enough resources to bring billions of indians and chinese that a few people in america and western europe have been on for a few decades. >> this anger is more general, it's not confined to people in the developing world who are going to be able to live the way people live in washington d.c., it seems to run right up to the top where people in the middle and upper middle class in this country, who are extravagantly well-off by global standards are still prone to the same anger and resentment that you are also seeing in nigeria and india and
indonesia and this is why it's an age of anger. >> absolutely. it's supposed to run by this ideal of constantly comparing yourself to the lives of other people, to the well-being and contentment of other people and thinking that you're missing o out, that you're lacking something, what other people have, and the fear that whatever you have might be taken away from you, that you might lose it. those kinds of emotions are prevalent universally today because we live in a global society that is supposed to be driven by comparison, by vanity, by wealth seeking, and when you
find that, this is an incredibly unequal society where opportunities are horribly and evenly distributed. even those who have, start to be victims to the same fear and anxieties as the have-nots. this is what we see today. the house also have, in addition to economic inequality, they also have other problems which is that even though they have money and wealth, they don't have access to intellectual capital which is certainly the case of the president who is neurotic about the culture of power possessed by manhattan liberals, for example. he's constantly beating them and targeting the new york times. there are those kinds of
resentments also at work where people feel that a tiny elite has monopolized. >> it was to me striking to see rené girard show up in the middle of this argument. most of the thinkers in the book are from the 18th, 19th and first part of the 20th century in europe and suddenly the frenchman who taught at stanford and died last year contributed to a key idea, the idea of human neck rivaling. >> it is a notion that lit up a whole world for me. he did not really explain his theory of rivalry to geopolitics or history, but this notion that what we desire is done through
the desires of other people, that suddenly made me think about much of modern history as an incredibly intense game of emulation where a small minority achieves extraordinary amounts of power and wealth and cultural sophistication, and the rest want to catch up. they want those things for themselves. this process then spreads all around the world in the kind of escalated fashion. >> and has a basis which you bring out very powerfully is something that's more than material want that people are after when they imitate others. the being that the other person seems to have. >> very much so.
it's on a peaceable existential envy and desire. >> this person seems more alive or more for filled or more participants in the life of society than i am because that person has a better house or better car or better job or better real estate and that's why i want to not just have better lands but to have more being. >> someone who illustrated this perfectly identified rivalry as a source of a serious spiritual deformity. it was something that prevents individuals from enjoying inner freedom. very early on, as this commercial society glamorized on
vanity and imitation is coming into being, here is a man saying okay, there are some serious contradictions here which relieve most human beings deeply unhappy and frustrated because this particular desire to shine and compete with others and achieve more than other people is kind of on a peaceable. it's unfulfilled. what we can also do is make individuals feel happy when they dominate others that domination would become a kind of an idea secretly so i think others identified other psychologies that have assumed political
forms today and again, they had in the past and lead to all kinds of incredibly bloodied competitive wars and conflicts. now they are relatively controlled. we are still seeing them exploding within particular national conflicts. we are not faced with a repeat of the destructive wars that we saw in the first half of the 20th century, all driven by this competitive instinct to have what others have got. what is the history of germany which is this fanatical desire to catch up with britain and france, to beat them at their
own game, to accumulate the same kind of political and economic and military power that they seem to possess. at least today they don't seem to be erecting into another major war, but the conflicts we are faced with is serious in its own way. >> these emotions on the narrative that you set out take root again and again in what you call the young man of promise. the alienated young man of promise speaks on behalf of the illiterate majority, the minority or himself. the self that turns out to be painfully divided, in all cases he defines inadequacy and tries to draw a blueprint but this cannot be neatly mapped under the ideas and movements of left
and right, liberal and conservative that mediate our understanding of current affairs. is this a promise or figure you've encountered in your report all over the world? >> absolutely. also, since i started out as a novelist, my unit of analysis has always been this divided human being, and one reason why i specified very clearly is that i do not reallywant to talk about my subject in these categories of left and right or use class to describe this broad span of history. i want to stay focused on the individual, and as i said i encountered this 19th century individual through fission, through literature and i wanted
to show how this person is deeply internally divided so this is not, we cannot simply take the claims that this person makes whether the claim for liberalism or socialism or nationalism at face value, that we have to examine what exactly this person is suffering from and that was really what i wanted to do in this book. too simply assume this person was on the left or the right or liberal or conservative, based on what they say about themselves and about their aims and their intentions, it meant that a lot of conventional history, and the way i look at
it it basically sets off these abstractions against each other without taking into account this concrete human being with this fear and anxiety and desire and i think, in a way some really helped me and i think gandhi was very alert to this particular divided figure still, i think in the way we've done history and intellectual history, we haven't really taken on board literature
into this individual and this is a book that would not have been conceivable without the help it got from novelists and poets. >> you visited a couple years ago and i think of him as someone who has that same attention to the 19th century, looking at some of the patterns we see, he will write a novel and applied to a situation in russia, then to the situation in turkey in recent times or did you get to talk about this kind of thing with him. >> we did. i think whenever people from the left behind nations get together there is a lot to discuss about these issues because you realize at a very fundamental level, there are a whole set of
experiences that link us, the feeling of being left behind that we have to catch up and do something and then of course the feeling of confronting the superior civilization and feeling intimidated and scorned by it in many ways they enact the syndrome in his fiction. you can think of any number of japanese novelists. in fact, before i started writing this book, i had been taking notes for a book that was going to be primarily about left behind nations and taxonomy of these countries and people and
their literatures who share certain very important features whether you are egyptian writer or an indian writer or chinese writer, there are certain resemblances they are. i think that again came in very handy, all the notes i've taken the story of the left behind people when it turned out that there are lots of people left behind who also manifested some of these traits, the feeling of envy and resentment, that depending on circumstances, these feelings and emotions can
arise in unexpected context with the loss of power and economic decline. it can induce those feelings and emotions and the riches countries in the world. >> you talk about belonging to the left behind nation and yet he's got a nobel prize, you have a list of prizes as long as my arm. when you describe that man of promise and his division, sometimes speaking for the eli elite, sometimes speaking for himself, it sounds like there's some self-portrait there. you talk about your multiple social location and how you identify yourself. >> expose and they did not really have access to a whole
set of experiences that are taken for granted by people in power, wherever you are, whether you're in india or china, because i grew up with a really small place in india and belonged, it's not quite accurate to call it normal class, but somewhere there in those levels so it was a very different experience where some of the feelings i described in the books were widely shared among people i grew up and went to college with. the kind of. [inaudible] that he has done in india, i grew up with that with local
elites who seem to be wide speaking of democracy and progress and freedom, people who had monopolized intellectual capital and scorned people who do not have access to it. they have done that to great advantage, this particular version of class conflicts in india by ruling against this corrupt and arrogant elites and he has found lots of people who believe he is right. he is right to a certain extent. it's easier for me to understand his peace because i had felt those emotions in the past and i had spent a lot of time with people who had spen felt those emotions or were feeling those emotions.
i feel that has given me a kind of access to the alienated stranger, the outsider who we tend to neglect in our intellectual courses and they become politically. [inaudible] in these elections. they did not feature much in our conversations, who had been, in a way with all kinds of rage and frustration, and now we see this figure all around us. books are being written about this figure. new journalists articles are
being commissioned, but i think what is disappointed that you mentioned is this extraordinary absence in our discourse all this time. i feel like we really need to pay more attention to the losers of history. we been too obsessed with the winners, in a way this book is an attempt to describe those pieces of history and what to do when losing becomes intolerable. >> you said history was written by the winners. >> it becomes almost a kind of tourism. >> this is an attempt to write history with a greater attention to the seeming losers, in economic terms, in the last 40 or 50 years.
you bring up timothy mcveigh at a crucial point of the book. that becomes very suggestive for the way different kinds of angry people in different cultures have more in common than we might expect. can you explain? >> this is another way of talking about how the class of civilizations, this idea that people belong to different religious communities and are bound to enter into conflict with each other and they don't really share much. any number of examples, historically, and in the present, his friendship is one example. >> so they were in adjoining cells in prison. >> super max prison and discovered each other and became great friends and realize they had a lot of common politically.
mcveigh said he believed in him and that they were right to do what they did. that kind of meeting of minds, that kind of ideological affinity, we see over and over again. we don't want to notice it. the norwegian mass murderer is fascinated by hindu fanatics. he wanted to get into an alliance with hindu fanatics. the young boy, the teenager who killed minor ten people, any number of such instances where these affinities are crossing religious national borders and
what they are pointing to as a kind of shared temperament, again that divided selves and driven by rage and frustration into extreme acts of violence, identifying targets where there's multiculturalists or liberals or the states, the american states in this instance, and i do think, going back, think about the world today it's constituted by sameness rather than differences and increasing similarity of experience and emotion and ideas rather than say, this is all a refugee, we really have to look at how these ideas and
ideologies travel and how they result in different contexts and turned to different users. >> when we swapped e-mails last summer, one of us said to the other we have to talk about pope francis, and then i see him referenced in the book is the most influential and in ways where he is seen as lining up persuasively with some of your most important points, can you explain that. >> i think, superficially, there is a man with enormous, representing an institution who dares to speak of charity in a time when we become, individuals, not just people
that i don't disagree with politically, people who want to become possessive so we start to define ourselves in exclusive ways with particular nations and particular ideologies. here's a man who comes at the end of a really long phase of relative peace and stability and he still talking about how charity is the way out, how so many of our foundation concepts lie in tatters. the only way in which we can escape is through acts of charity and acts of compassion. the life and the way it has been institutionalized has had very
little space for this discourse or conversation. there was a time when a motivated thinker was still central to the culture. mlk is another one. we haven't had that kind of figure who speaks, who employs that moral vocabulary. otherwise, it's become regurgitated the ideology of the day. maybe disagreeing to a certain amount but these assumptions are probably shared by the so-called public intellectuals. and, we are struggling. all of us are struggling to make sense of what happened today. i don't think pope francis is
struggling to make sense of what's happening today. he has been warning about it for some time. >> what do you think, is there anything to be done, it's an age of anger, it's global, things are getting worse. the anger that people fea feel s perfectly justified because society is unfair and getting worse in so many ways. what should we do? >> i could go into his notice with my indian background. mostly i feel that as a writer, all i can do is challenge myself more and more and just work harder. if i were to describe anything to other people, i would actually, i would say that it's
actually these prescriptions that are supposed to work universally that have got us into this mess and that they have to be contingent on our circumstances wherever we are in the world today. there are certain broad principles. i think the fact that so many people have become politicized overnight in the past few weeks and have realized how high the stakes are, suddenly, for themselves, for their children and grandchildren, they become engaged with politics with everything that's happening around the world today, that in itself is a great sign. :
think again about the shape of our societies, the shape of our ideologies. but if salt and delete the -- that in itself is a way we can look for solutions. >> it is thrilling to have you here and to hear your answers the question. i want to open up to questions from the audience. the microphones are in the
center. >> thank you so much for an enlightening conversation. in this pursuit of happiness. it doesn't mean there is a pathological wall in the founding documents that then perhaps augurs what is built into our bloodstream. >> it is a question that can be answered in lots of different ways. one is the contradiction that opens up into individual soul
when you enter the race for status and wealth and rejoicing the domination of other people or the humiliation abjection of other people. that is a contradiction that lots of people have talked about. the other contradiction is the idea of freedom. there are people that see the freedom isn't going to be available. on the other side of the atlantic, people have already made assumptions of who is
deserving of freedom and who isn't so we are looking at civilization and the minority that is not formulated for themselves and how do they extend those ideas as mobile as they are to the majority that wants to realize them, that is a question. after the experience what you see is the minority. and that in many ways at least the experience of a lot of
people and what we have seen today is outrag outraged that is generated by this exclusion. >> you are quite profound of the problem and i would like for you to talk more about solutions in abstract terms. i am struck by pope frances charity of course he is a political person but not a politician and some of the people you praised were not politicians but they are very political and in a political and social movement. it seems to me the problem we have is caused by bad politics, divisive politics and without
some overarching sense of movement and based on the value that is taken over i would like to push you a little bit on that. they try to marry spiritual projects with political activi activism, and what they realize is the needs of the aspirations are not being met that the politics became determined by
certain persons that were deemed to be essential to the. that has caused a deep division in the society. other needs of the community and feeling of a particular group in unison with other people. all of them are being systematically neglected so that in a sense was to combine the politics in a way that those needs are met and at the same time, a very distinct and
it is a bold expression of and longing for identity. it was a new deal and the state appropriated doing this good work and systematized and she thought that the solution had to be loved and the caring of people for one another spontaneous and offered a person-to-person and that idea sounds truly strange today if that is something like you are suggesting.
society so that the majority of them have been marginalized and can suddenly live well and the deep cynicism that could ever be the case and you have to rely on the legal practices of the states to protect people. are we back there now and rehashing the same problem and if so, how do we not fall into the same and pass? >> they thought of this notion creating the conditions that antidiscrimination could be achieved and it was at least the
we can't expect much from the companies that are unable to harness any political energy and it is the case again anywhere you see that in europe and you see that here. although there are certain movements here and there. the institutionalized projects in a really depressing way. but in his distrust of abstraction, there is a line of a van unlikely hero who never gave speeches about freedom and
liberty that he was focused on the things of life. essentially what he was focused on is basically these are meaningless slogans and in the end, you have to deal with individuals and he also feared that could be unleashed by the shattering of these abstractions and we are seeing some of that today that it will fail. and before that happens it is best to introduce these ideas into politics, so i think that
was the project not depending on the state or the conventional political parties but depending on the individual persuasion and dialogue. >> you talk about a lot of the books that you read growing up how you came to these ideas and understood then and a lot of scholars recognized the literature in disseminating the ideas and sort of expressing a feeling you are talking about. do you see any parallels from the 19th century and that type of literature in the 21st
century into a wa the way that t of different national movements have moved online and have been moving in a way that have not really been looked at and how they are using those platforms to frame the movement >> it is central to the culture of europe in that it is where the communities are being formed and created. the speed with which this happens is quite flattering.
it is defining the national idea or community and how it can happen more or less overnight. the 20th century in that sense finds himself or herself in a strange place that is being taken and also this is another discussion, but it would be hard pressed to draw the historical lessons and insight that you withdraw it. it's been interesting to compare
the and render the novel so important and marginal. but that is a different discussion. >> is it just lacking the power of the predecessors or are there people putting it together? >> it is set in a different era altogether and is being transformed so dramatically and it is hard for anyone to keep up, yet alone a novelist.
>> if that is the case, then no social consequence that has happened in our time. >> i wouldn't go that far. i would say fiction in the way remains a guide to the societies. in particular, the politics and attitudes to learn about the stock exchange. if you are interested in the big philosophical debate over the century.
even the philosophers are reading the novelist of the century and being stimulated by then. they have a different role so it would not have the same kind of relationship with fiction but it's hard to imagine a a book as meaningful in all kinds of ways. i know these are unfair comparisons in many ways but you could also look like the underground features a lot in this book and take the ratings of particular psychologies in
the way that the 19th century novelist david. i just don't know if that is possible in the fragmented societies today. >> you said frightfully it's a decent book but you don't know how he would have been. it's about the past 25 years could you imagine someone looking back on the best nightfall and understanding this idea in the culture at the time through the novel that we look back? >> i suppose it's good that you wouldn't think of that novel again as breaking new ground
bringing together this alien outsider in this particular setting is interesting and something new, but i am not sure that will stand as an account. >> you are saying that's novel owes more to its predecessors -- >> it is finished because the big moment in the century so he actually admits. >> there's also a philosophical dimension in which the ideas are tossed and turned in a way we are not used to seeing fiction today where they will go on a
discourse about the odyssey. that is easy access to ideas. >> and also the experience and the century. we may blame the novelist today but it is unfair because what they were describing was a moment of transformation he or she were looking through and it was happening to many people for the first time in history. today when the novelists are written about in india or they find a fine balance, you can
have one of the pleasures of reading fiction like that is the memory that constantly haunts you of those that you read previously. >> there is also the sense that it was developed in the way society was developed and there is a sense of discovery and breakthroughs. >> there's this small area now. >> great talk supported with
historical examples. there are people who don't even know most of the words you've said today, let alone understanding them. you mentioned earlier that there are divided families and people that are led by their emotions regardless of the circumstances, and i kind of feel that way sometimes where i feel like for example "the new york times" and the person i'm talking to is donald trump and i wanted to ask like how you facilitate a dialogue between people like that. like how do you dumb down this material or should you with these important arguments that you are making
>> i don't know whether it is my role to have a dialogue as it were with people on the other side. we are as i keep saying we are all inhabiting the same space. these divisions are essentially mental constructions, so i could talk about this book and its content in a particular kind of language and when i go back to india there is a different language i speak about and i don't see why i have to dumb down anything because these people who i am speaking to have the benefit of these experiences i'm writing about.
so it is for anyone dumbing it down, i'm the one guilty of th that. one of the ways we can transcend this conflict and division of our time is by not really trying to think of these divisions as essentially constructions that we also have created and learning to recognize and experience places far outside our circles and particular groups and the ability to identify and talk about them. i feel like that is something as
we were discussing earlier has been lacking in a journalistic discourse has been too much about the winners and hasn't talked about the losers and we need to focus attention on them. >> we have time for one more question. >> i am still trying to understand the limits that you put on the idea of progress. you're talking about if i understood correctly, social progress and your skepticism about social progress i can understand, but i have
solid dependent very much contingent on who's making them at what i can speak from my own experience, again of individuals who have seen leave the village where the the life had in search of better opportunities and traffic move from the village to the big city where they are suddenly earning money after kind that could have previously only dreamed of. so not only have they been lifted above a level of poverty, they are almost in a kind of bank estimates of normal income group. but the life has suffered dramatic, in the fact that they're living in a horribly polluted city in a slum whatever
had money they're making does not entitle them to anything more than a room, a roof above their head an sometimes, you know, they have to sleep in the open if you're doing jobs like taxi, taxi driving people simply sleep in the open all -- over o the roof. so that kind of imminent existence you're making money but you can't afford working 14 hours day can't afford to have your family there and start a family. you know -- i've seen people from that experience and come back and retreat, go below the poverty line again. because a whole lot of pains tharn important to them that made life meaningful was not available to them when they moved about the poverty line. so what i'm saying that they used to assess progress are are very deaccept again they're
leaving out range of human experience and whole range of human needs that are important and for many people -- you know they simply don't want to be part of this particular adventure of progress so many people i see they're very much content to do this small businesses few add-ins here and there. farm a little bit and be generally idle. they don't want to be part of the adventure of this consumption, and i think forgotten that what had it consists of all kinds of people who don't sob scribe to our ideology of educated people. people have who actually benefited from progress who are, you know, essentially the main beneficiaries of modern world idle. the fact that people don't want to be a part of it. and i think, you, you know, a sy
that honors these diverse modes of existence, a society that assumes that the the good life is diversity conceived is in my books the good society. not the society that insist there's only one way to be and one way to go forward which is the way of more growth and productivity and consumption and more work and so on and so forth. >> sounds like what you're setting out could come out of that bock you describe about the left behind and if i hope you get a chance to write it because it is mesmerized to hear you describe, people who forget about progress don't even want to participate in the ideology of growth. this has been fantastic i'm so glads you're here. so glads you're still going to be here to talk with us during the reception and to sign books.
if you have a book to sign come on up to the aisle and will sign books here. we're going to have a table and pen set up here in just a moment. thank you so much. it's -- been a tremendous event and i'm so grateful to everybody here especially before the break. thank you so much for coming and thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> booktv is on twitter and facebook and we want to hear from you tweet pus twitter.com/booktv or post a comment on our facebook page facebook.com/booktv.
>> in 1977, about sadat was making a speech at the parliament in egypt. an he put down his papers, and he said i won't go anywhere. ly go to the ends of the earth. i would go to israel. i would go speak -- if they would save one more egyptian life. and nobody believed it. they applauded, about no he wasn't even mentioned in the newspapers the next day. ten days later sadat's plane -- over tel-aviv. now, you would have to understand this thinking of both sides at this historic moment. here is israel's greatest enemy coming to tack talk to them
really uninvited he invited themselves but formally they have to invite him but israel symphony out there in the -- at the airport they didn't know how to play the egyptian national anthem but listen to radio kyrie to get a sense of how it goes and then a question of -- if sadat were really in the plane could it be full of terror are, be full of explosives we're going to have all of the meetings of israel here wait for them. you know, there's a sniper all over the rooftops just incase. and the plane is at the end of and search lights catch fuselage and people are -- and lands and sadat comes down and ems gold in my ear and
shakes hands -- and people are of jubilant and not describe it. it was, you know, sense of unmorality that this could happen, and then it went and made his speech and it was stern. but he expected something in return. and he left, he left jerusalem empty handed and a lot of that was because of bacon -- bacon is fascinating figure in history. he was born in a little polish town called brisk and his first memory was of polish soldiers blogging a jew. when nazis invaded poland his parents, his mother was this in the hospital with pneumonia and
nazis went through the hospital murdering patients in their beds. his father -- they tide him up with with ropes and filled his pockets with rocks and threw him into the river bog. he was hiding in lithuania at the time and then he spent two years in -- soviet prison in the gulog before stalin released all of the polls to fight the nazis and so bakingen joined a jewish unit and they were sent to palestine is and when he got to pal stain he became a headed of a terrorist organization. and as a terrorist, he was brilliant. there have been very few in the history of terrorism that had quite as much effect as baggen. there was -- he was inventive
and imaginative and theatrical. for instance about when the british hanged three terrorists who have been tried and convicted in military court of baggen hang three british sergeants. and booby trad their bodies. he blew u up the david hotel which was at that point the most luxurious hotel in the middle east but a wing of it was also devotessed to be in the nerve center of the british mandate. 91 people were killed and broke the spirit of the british occupation and they withdrew and turned over the problem of palestine to the united nations. now, just to underscore the
effect in history after 9/11 when they went into bin laden's compound, they had found in his library a copy of baggen's memoir, and i think it must have been because he would want to know u how there's a terrorist leader become a prime minister and win the noble peace prize. [laughter] it's a trick that very few have published in history. after the british left, baggen turned his attention to the palestinians, and there's a little village just outside jerusalem. actually i visitedded it now a psychiatric hospital that is very weird. this psychiatrist have their arzt offices in palestinian homes and the grounds are -- occupied by lunatics but it's --
it was a palestinian village a peaceful village they have a nonaggression pack with their orthodox neighborses but baggen determined that it stood above strategic approach to the city and had to be taken. and so there was some initial resistance and baggen people went throwing grenade u through window and killing families as massacre. 20 pen who survived were taken and shot some of the women and children who were sure were placed on a flat bed trk and paraded through jerusalem and then deposited outside the city. there were -- there were palestinians who are already leaving. but after that, hundreds of thousands of palestinians fled into the west bank and neighbors arab countries. so these were the men who came
to camp david. inexperience unpopular failing president nazi collaborator an assassin and a terrorist. those men, they are budget of three to four days to try to reach an accommodation and he actually thought if he could only get them alone they would get to know each other. we would like each other. they would come to trust each other. after the second day he realized he couldn't put them in the same room at all. they hated each other, and it was -- really one thing that was key. i guess if you can draw a lesson from camp david, there are no perfect partners for peace. these are really flawed
individuals. but one thing they had in common, a lot of political courage and they were willing to make the compromises and sacrifices that these required. >> you can watch this and other programs online, at booktv.org. you're watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books television for serious readers. >> this is booktv on c-span2 television for serious readers here's our prime time lineup next natasha examines what college students in the u.s. and u.k. think about race and diversity programs. and on booktv's afterwards at 9 p.m. eastern, lisa rortsz on at alternatives to traditional bang g at 10 fox newsradio host todd
officer his thoughts on america's political and cultural landscape. and to wrap up our sunday prime time lineup at 11:00 peter looks at genderification in detroit, new orleans, new york and what the impact has been on residents of these cities. that all happens tonight, on c-span2's booktv. first up, here's natasha discussing college students and their views on race. welcome everybody. welcome to our third colloquium