Lawrence Wright is reluctant to offer any details about an upcoming project other than that he’s “gonna write about ISIS.” It’s a subject that he is well equipped to cover, as a Pulitzer Prize-winning author with a focus on fanatical groups including al-Qaeda and the Church of Scientology. While he is tight-lipped about the specifics of the project, he discusses his motivating fascination with the fundamental fragility of civilization. When the tenuous equilibrium is disturbed, individuals swept up in uncertainty and doubt can justify previously unthinkable acts of hatred, as they desperately grasp for something to hold onto. Civilizational infrastructure makes the equilibrium appear to be more stable than it really is. Infrastructure has no more force than that of the individuals who bring it to life, enacting and reasserting their values day by day.
DateApril 14, 2015TitleHere’s The Thing: Lawrence Wright on Religion, ISIS, and ScientologySegment00:40:51 – 00:41:29Lawrence Wright:
I’m fascinated by the fact that the entire fabric of civilization can simply be ripped away and that barbarism is just under the sheets—and in most grotesque fashion. We look back in the 20th century and we see Nazism and people ask, “How did that happen?” Well now it’s happening again. It’s a mystery when these things occur that human nature can encompass such savagery but it’s right there in front of you and it’s also a fact of human nature that people are drawn to it.