DiscoverVox ConversationsMarilynne Robinson on writing, metaphysics, and the Donald Trump dilemma
Marilynne Robinson on writing, metaphysics, and the Donald Trump dilemma

Marilynne Robinson on writing, metaphysics, and the Donald Trump dilemma

Update: 2020-10-1511
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Marilynne Robinson is one of the greatest American novelists alive today. She’s the author of the Pulitzer-prize winning Gilead — one of my favorite books, ever — as well as Housekeeping, Home, Lila, and her latest, Jack. She’s also produced four brilliant collections of nonfiction essays. 

But Robinson is not simply a beautiful writer; her work is inextricably bound up with the most important issues of our times: race, religion, education, geography, and democracy — so much so that in 2015, Barack Obama chose to interview her on the state of the country while he was still the sitting president. This was a joy of a conversation to have right now, and it covers vast amounts of ground, including:

• Robinson’s obsession with the doctrine of predestination 

• What we know -- and all we don’t know -- about the nature of reality 

• The power of loneliness

• How, for all the talk of polarization, there are certain ideas that Americans widely, quietly share

• How the logic of efficiency and growth has come to invade every aspect of our lives

• The differences between writing fiction and nonfiction 

• How to train yourself to notice the world around you

• The sobering purpose of studying history

• What it will take to keep American democracy alive and well  

• The particular problem that Donald Trump poses

• The baseline assumptions and practices a democracy demands we share

And much more. I found this conversation a tonic to have in this moment. I hope it’s the same for you.


Book recommendations:

Birdman of Alcatraz by Thomas E. Gaddis



Credits:

Producer - Jeff Geld

Audio engineer - Jackson Bierfeldt

Researcher - Roge Karma


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Comments (3)

zac wallace

I don't think she understands evolution. I was also surprised to hear her step into an appeal to ignorance. Pathetic.

Oct 31st
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Constance Moylan

this interview was outstanding- the discussion on time & on wasting loneliness were insightful & thought provoking.

Oct 19th
Reply

Mark Saltiel

MR says evolutionary theory is deterministic. Surely it is not at all deterministic. One could never work out in advance how species would change. Folks often talk about evolution using language that suggests a species studies a problem and then decides how it will change to fit the situation. The idea behind natural selection is actually almost completely opposite to that. EK thinks MR is very humble but what is humble about demanding evolutionary theorists answer the question of complexity properly. I have never come across a theological account of complexity that is not absolutely reductive to "that's the way God made it".

Oct 16th
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Marilynne Robinson on writing, metaphysics, and the Donald Trump dilemma

Marilynne Robinson on writing, metaphysics, and the Donald Trump dilemma

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