In the mid-1950s, as the icy horror of the Cold War was cloaking the embering rubble of two World Wars, the BBC manufacturer and cartoonist Hugh Burnett visualized an unexampled program to serve both as a cross-cultural bridge and a mirror beaming back to a dimmed and discomposed mankind the noblest and most stunning ideas of its noblest and most beautiful minds. Face to Face– a series of intimate discussions with individuals of genius, influence, and remarkable largeness of spirit, interviewed by the British broadcaster and politician John Freeman– started as short-wave radio broadcasts to listeners in the Far East and quickly ended up being a BBC tv program. Tv was then a young medium, aglow as any young medium with the promise of its blind and potential to its hazard– something shown with chilling clarity in Burnetts own optimistic vision for it, so starkly contrasted by the echo chamber and adjustment lab television has ended up being in the half-century given that:
This is the vision that formed Face to Face, which set the template for what ended up being, half a century later, the most popular symptom of a brand-new medium: the podcast. The very best of these BBC conversations, accompanied by the terrific Polish expressionist painter Feliks Topolskis live portraits of each subject, were later on condensed and edited into what may best be referred to as first-person stories fusing autobiography and existential reflection, and published as the out-of-print 1964 treasure Face to Face (town library).
Bertrand Russell by Feliks Topolski from Face to Face, 1964. Amongst the thirty-five subjects included in the book, along with Martin Luther King, Edith Sitwell, and Carl Jung, was the Nobel-winning English mathematician, logician, sanity, and philosopher steward Bertrand Russell (May 18, 1872– February 2, 1970), whom I continue to consider among the most lucid and luminescent minds our civilization has produced, and by far the philosopher whose ideas– ideas at the rare and required nexus of science and humanitarianism– I most admire in totality.
One of the most essential functions of tv is the sincere display of people to one another. When this happens, it becomes possible to evaluate whether the requirements and beliefs being held up for approval are really as legitimate and typically supported as we are led to believe. Social progress is slowed by isolation, and one of the fantastic advantages of excellent television is that people are exposed to varieties of views and attitudes quite various form their own.
Having lost his mother when he was two and his dad when he was three, Russell fell for Euclid amidst the solitude of his youth. In the loveliness of mathematics and reasoning, he found an instrument of idea that might have, were it more widely embraced, avoided the inhumanity of the world wars. Quickly prior to his amazing reaction to a fascists justification, he shows on the greatest peril of and to our mankind:
Fanaticism is the threat of the world. I might nearly state that I was fanatical versus fanaticism.
Bertrand Russell by Feliks Topolski from Face to Face, 1964. When asked what, in nearly ninety years of living, he has learned about life that he thinks about most essential to hand down to posterity, Russell provides two things– “one intellectual and one moral.” The first is a belief expressive of Carl Sagans “Baloney Detection Kit” for critical thinking:
When you are studying any matter or considering any approach ask yourself just what are the truths and what is the reality that the facts substantiate. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to think or by what you think would have beneficent social results if it were believed, but look just and certainly at what are the realities. That is the intellectual thing that I need to wish to state.
Two world wars after Tolstoy asserted in his little-known correspondence with Gandhi that “love is the only method to rescue mankind from all ills” and a decade after W.H. Auden made what remains the single most poignant one-word modification in the history of the English language– the optimistic “we must like one another or die” prior to the Second World War to the disillusioned “we need to love one another and pass away” after it– Russell includes his 2nd essential knowing:
Complement with Russells kindred-spirited contemporary Albert Camus on the 3 antidotes to the absurdity of life– the third of which is a charming affirmation of Russells ethical bequeathal– and a poetic counterpart in Maya Angelous “A Brave and Startling Truth,” and after that review Russell on how to heal an ailing and divided world, our mightiest defense against political manipulation, what makes a fulfilling life, and his profoundly informative Nobel Prize approval speech about the 4 desires driving all human behavior.
In this world, which is getting more and more carefully interconnected, we have to learn to endure each other. We have to find out to put up with the reality that some individuals say things that we dont like.
Face to Face– a series of intimate discussions with people of genius, influence, and extraordinary largeness of spirit, interviewed by the British broadcaster and political leader John Freeman– began as short-wave radio broadcasts to listeners in the Far East and soon ended up being a BBC television program. Television was then a young medium, aglow as any young medium with the guarantee of its possible and blind to its peril– something reflected with cooling clearness in Burnetts own idealistic vision for it, so starkly contrasted by the echo chamber and manipulation lab television has become in the half-century since:
One of the most important functions of television is the sincere display screen of human beings to one another. Social development is slowed by isolation, and one of the great benefits of excellent tv is that people are exposed to broad varieties of views and attitudes quite different form their own.
Bertrand Russell by Feliks Topolski from Face to Face, 1964.