09/26/2013 01:53 pm ET Updated Nov 26, 2013

I Was There

This conversation between Liev Schreiber and Jesse Prinz on happiness took place in front of just 36 people. You would have thought it would have been a sellout. And it might have been. But for a few days before the event rumors were building on the weather channels of a perfect storm forming off the eastern seaboard that might affect New York slightly. She even had a name: Sandy. But such is the dedication (and you are free to interpret this as bullheadedness) of the Rubin that, despite the fact that the Mayor had ordered the closing of public transport systems that Sunday night, the 6 p.m. program went ahead as advertised. The audience for Neil LaBute and Aimee Mann that afternoon had not been deterred, and it was just possible that our evening audience wouldn't be either. Some were, but it only made the solidarity in the Rubin theater all the stronger.

This was not Liev's first appearance at the Rubin. He had taken part in a reading with Blythe Danner the year before. Jesse had also been on stage earlier that year in our annual Brainwave series. In some ways they were singularly ill-matched. Jesse is a total cinephile. But only when it comes to silent movies. Liev is no slouch when it comes to the intellect and ways to express it, but was quite confounded by Jesse's academic book Beyond Human Nature. And yet they struck up an elegant rapport that culminated in a beautiful admission by Liev towards the end of the session: how the introduction of children into his life cleared the way for him to understand the source of true happiness: unconditional, ego-free love.

For updates on the current series on Ignorance, follow @TimMcHenryRubin.

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