“What Have We Learned from the Pandemic?” — Sam Harris and Nicholas Christakis

Two of my favorite minds — on anything — discuss you-know-what. You might justifiably feel tired of hearing anything more whatsoever about our happy little global crisis. But you’re going to be dealing with this for quite a long time; it will linger in the near-neighborhood of most conversations you have, wherever you are, for at least the next year or so.

You really need to listen to this.

This conversation was released worldwide just thirty minutes ago, and I’m already gobbling it up. These two bodhisattvas could spend two hours talking about a teeny-weeny pink polka-dot cup of hot fucking mud and I would listen with absolutely rapt attention. It doesn’t mean I have blind faith in them, or in whatever they say. It is simply to have a front row seat at the pure flow of the most sinuous dance of intellect inspired to its highest, noblest aims: the unvarnished quest for scientific, social truth, wherever it leads. There is a whole world of practical, actionable insight and concrete information here. Such subtle, probing, frank, fearless, fact-based, creative, independent, ahead-of-the-curve, magnanimous, funny, authentic voices of reason you would be really hard-pressed to find anywhere. I feel fortunate beyond any measure to live in a time where I can just lie here in bed, a heating-pad strapped to the knee, and through a pocketable silicone paperweight have two such eminent intellects offer their decades of academic study, scientific research, and meticulous discernment — for free! — on one of the most important issues of our lives.

Professor Christakis has famously said, “We’re not at the beginning of the end of the pandemic; we’re at the end of the beginning.” This pandemic (and its enduring social after-effects) will last a good long time. This conversation might be the clearest, most complete and comprehensive, data-based tools available to manage successfully the trajectory of this all-encompassing experience.

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