Meet the Author: Franklin Foer (WORLD WITHOUT MIND)


Hi. I’m Franklin Foer, author
of World Without Mind. [MUSIC PLAYING] So one of the great
promises of the internet was that everybody would
have their own soapbox, everybody would be able to
express their true selves. But as we’ve seen, what
really happens with Facebook and all of the other
powerful gatekeepers that rule over the
internet is that instead of getting individuality,
what we get is conformity. We get this great push towards
everybody lumping together in tribes. Because what Facebook does is
it creates this feedback loop where it tries to
give you everything that you want in
order to keep you addicted to their site
for as long as possible. And in politics, we’ve
seen the worst of it. Because instead
of everybody being able to formulate and
express their own opinions, what we’ve seen is that
people get lumped together in these tribes, and so
polarization, which has always plagued American politics,
has gotten far worse in the age of Facebook. So I wrote a book called How
Soccer Explains the World. And I had to go to
the former Yugoslavia, to Serbia, where I interviewed
members of a fan club that had been turned
into a genocidal militia during the Bosnian War. And I had a very terrifying,
strange encounter with them. The advice that I
give to young writers is that writing seems like
this romantic profession. It seems like you’re able
to indulge and to really fulfill your aspirations
to do the thing that makes you most happy. But writing can be so lonely,
and it can be really hard, and there are those moments
where you just kind of sit and you’re so stuck and you
really just slam your head against the desk repeatedly. And I think it’s
important to both maintain the romantic illusion that
you’re doing the thing that is most fulfilling,
but then also remember the ways in which writing
is a job, and like all jobs and like all professions,
it has its hardships and it’s really–
it’s just not easy. There’s no individual
genius who’s sitting there at their desk
churning the perfect sentence. Even the people
who look like that are experiencing
passages of blockage, and they’re churning out crap
sentences, and they persist. And so you should persist too.

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