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LOA LIVE: The Fate of the Earth: Jonathan Schell and His Legacy

To mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the fiftieth anniversary of the first Earth Day, renowned psychiatrist and author Robert Jay Lifton and Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation, discuss the writer and friend who put his remarkable literary gifts in the service of disarmament, nonviolence, international cooperation, and the irresistible power of democracy. Moderated by Martin J. Sherwin, editor of the new LOA collection Jonathan Schell: The Fate of the Earth, The Abolition, The Unconquerable World.

Originally aired on August 6, 2020, by LOA LIVE.

LOA LIVE: Online programs inspired by Library of America publications

Presented in partnership with The Nation, Type Media Center, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Friends of the Earth, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, The New Press, Arms Control Association, and Global Zero.

“Hiroshima and Covid-19”

(First published here, by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on August 5, 2020)

By Robert Jay Lifton and Charles B. Strozier

We are always terrified by a deadly force that we cannot see or in any way perceive until it strikes.

That was the kind of fear one of us (Lifton) encountered in survivors of the atomic bomb when he interviewed them in Hiroshima some decades ago—a fear of “invisible contamination.” Their fear was based on their witness or experience of grotesque early symptoms of radiation effects, a later increase in leukemia and other cancers, and the possibility of hereditary harm to subsequent generations.

With COVID-19 the dread involves a force that is everywhere and nowhere; the virus takes on an almost supernatural aura that in turn leads to bizarre conspiratorial explanations. It is very difficult to bring reason to a deadly force that is invisible.

Continue reading ““Hiroshima and Covid-19””

Bill Moyers Interview with Robert Jay Lifton

“Losing Reality: Can We Get the Truth Back?”

Robert spoke with Bill Moyers about his most recent book, Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry, and how it relates to current events for Moyers’ podcast, Moyers on Democracy.

Listen to a SoundCloud recording of the interview and read a copy of the transcript on the Moyers website, or listen to the episode anywhere you get your podcasts.

The New Press, Oct 2019

“The Assault on Reality” in Dissent Magazine

Essential to understanding Trump is his attempt to subject the public to his own solipsistic reality—and thereby destroy our shared basis for democracy.

An important way to understand Trump and Trumpism is as an assault on reality. At issue is the attempt to control, to own, immediate truth along with any part of history that feeds such truth. Since this behavior stems from Trump’s own mind, it is generally attributed to his narcissism (and he has plenty of that). But I would suggest that the more appropriate term is solipsistic reality. Narcissism suggests self-love and even, in quaint early psychoanalytic language, libido directed at the self. Solipsism has more to do with a cognitive process of interpreting the world exclusively through the experience and needs of the self.

Read the full article on the Dissent magazine website.