It's 1939. Hitler is rising in power. England is on the brink of declaring war on Germany. Against this backdrop we witness the impending war of ideologies in an imaginary meeting between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis.
From the age of 17 up until two days before his death, Schnitzler kept a diary -- some 8,000 pages, now collected in 10 volumes -- that is notable for the casualness with which he describes his sexual encounters, as well as for his obsessiveness.
Salman Rushdie's memoir Joseph Anton rebels against the reduction of The Satanic Verses to an insult to Islam. I agree. But modern liberal democracies, freedom of thought and expression are impossible without the right to offend.
After Hitler came to power, many Jews saw the writing on the wall and left Germany. Einstein, for example, did so almost at once. But Freud steadfastly refused, even though many friends warned him that the Nazis were bound to take over Austria.
For an episode of mass hysteria to begin, all that is necessary is troubled times in the culture, a shared set of beliefs and a final, fearful, anxiety-provoking trigger to set the phenomenon into motion.
The reason for Kepler-22b's fame is that it might sustain living organisms. But what if it does? I suspect that if life were discovered the first thing we'd want to do after we'd recovered from the initial awe would be to exploit it.