Hosted by John Lobell, we talk with visionaries – people in the arts, technology, science, culture, and spirituality

Visionaries - 04.16.18

“More meanderings on books.” Why the vicious attacks on Steven Pinker for his book, “Enlightenment Now,” which shows how some aspects of life have been radically improving. And thoughts about David Deutsch’s “The Beginning of Infinity.” (And we can’t talk about Deutsch without mentioning quantum computing and how quantum computers get their power by harnessing their siblings in parallel universes.)


Visionaries - 04.09.18

“2001: Creation from Within or Without?” This is the 50th anniversary of the movie,”2001: A Space Odyssey.” The movie is about the search for the extraterrestrial origin of a series of monoliths, one of which sparked the origin of human intelligence. So, where does our humanness come from? There are two traditions: From without, as we see in Genesis 2.7. when God breaths the spark of life into dead dust to create Adam, “2001,” and the tradition of space aliens bringing civilization to us. And From within, as we see in Eastern traditions, especially Taoism, in which spirit is in all things, and in the architecture and spiritual thought of Louis Kahn. To see these two tradition in tension, look at the most famous panel of the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo. It shows God sending the spark of life to Adam. But looking more closely, we see that God himself is within a section of the human brain — thus a creation of the human imagination.


Visionaries - 03.26.18

“A Reading List: Part 5.” Lobell continues looking at kool books for our time. Lacking the attention span to read books, Lobell listens to audiobooks, so all the books we talk about are available in audio version. Right now we are interested in the question, “What happened?” For thousands of years human civilization bumped along with great sophistication occasionally popping up, such as Rome and periods of ancient China. But there was never much wealth and people were always short on food. Then 250 years ago, things took off. Why? A key book we will discuss is Stephen Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.”


Visionaries - 03.12.17

Bob Walter, Director of the Joseph Campbell Foundation. Campbell is one of the seminal sources of the contemporary psyche, but few have read his books. Who was Joseph Campbell? How did he become the source for much of today’s cinema? What are his key works, and how might one begin to delve into his ideas? Bob Walter, Campbell’s last editor and publisher, and now director of the foundation that maintains Campbell’s literary material, guides us into these depths.


Visionaries - 03.05.17

Lois Farfel Stark, author of “The Telling Image.” In her magnificently illustrated new book, award-winning documentary filmmaker Lois Farfel Stark reveals the human drama as a journey from the “webs” of round-thatched huts and stone circles, to the “urban ladders” of pyramids and skyscrapers organized by hierarchy and measurements, to today's world of “interconnected networks.” In “The Telling Image” Stark shows us how buildings, behaviors, and beliefs reflect humans’ search for pattern and meaning.


Visionaries - 02.12.17

“A Reading List: Part 4.” Today Lobell continues with his list of audiobooks and chats about each one. “The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future” by Steve Case. Steve Case was founder and CEO of AOL. When AOL merged with Time Warner, they were in a position to take over the Internet, but instead they self-destructed. How and Why? Case gives us part of the story. “Jack: Straight from the Gut” by Jack Welch. Jack Welch was considered the greatest CEO of modern times (until Steve Jobs re-emerged). How did he do it, and what has happened since? “How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival” by David Kaiser. What is “quantum weirdness, how did physicists cover it up, and who brought it back to attentions. More on interesting books on future shows.


Visionaries - 02.05.17

Visionaries - 02.05.18
February 5, 2018

“Rita McMahon of the Wild Bird Fund.” If you find an injured bird in New York City, there is a place you can bring it where it will be cared for — the Wild Bird Fund. Find them at My wife, Alissa Grimaldi ( joins me in interviewing Rita McMahon, co-founder of the Wild Bird Fund. We hear stories of bird rescues, how you can help support her efforts, and how we are all enriched by the presences of birds, even in New York City.


Visionaries - 01.29.17

Visionaries - 01.29.18
January 29, 2018

“A Reading List: Part 3.”
Today Lobell continues with his list of audiobooks chats about each one. Today we briefly mention books I am just starting:
- The Sentient Machine: The Coming Age of Artificial Intelligence by Amir Husain
- 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson
- Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
- Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age by Leslie Berlin
- The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball by Noam Cohen

And then look at some older books:
- Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being by Martin Seligman
- She by H. Rider Haggard
- Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
- The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future by Steve Case

Tune in next time for more.


Visionaries - 01.22.17

“TV Shows, Movies and Philosophical Zombies.” Today Lobell was supposed to continue with his book recommendations, but he got distracted by artificial intelligence, TV shows, and philosophical zombies. He discusses the new TV series, “Counterpart” about parallel universe intelligence agencies, and also creatures with no inner life.


Visionaries - 01.15.17

“A Reading List: Part 2.” Today Lobell continues through his list of audiobooks chats about each one. In this show we cover: :How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines,” by Thomas C. Foster. “Revolutionary Wealth: How It Will Be Created and How It Will Change Our Lives, by Alvin and Heidi Toffler. “A Mind at Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age,” by Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni. “American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road,” by Nick Bilton. “The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency,” by Annie Jacobsen. “To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death,” by Mark O'Connell. Tune in next time for more, and call in with your book recommendations.