Homer-Dixon on heroes, art and hope

Stack of folded newspapers

Cascade Institute director Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon joined host Shelagh Rogers on CBC’s The Next Chapter to take its version of the Proust questionnaire.

Here’s an excerpt:

Who was your favourite painter?

My mother was an artist. She adopted quite a few different styles. But her most stunning work is wildlife illustration, especially of fish. So before she passed away, she passed away from multiple sclerosis in her 40s, she was developing a technique that was quite extraordinary in the representation of fish. I learned a lot from her about art and about the appreciation of nature because she was a wildlife biologist as well.

Who are your favourite heroes in real life?

I think we all try to be our own heroes. It's something I write about in Commanding Hope. There's a social psychological theory called terror management theory, terror as in terrorist.

But in this case, it's about how we all have to manage the terror of our impending death, death anxiety, and how one of the ways we do that is by creating what social psychologists call hero stories that can transcend our mortal existence.

We raise a family, write a book, we found a firm or we're just a really good friend or a staunch member of our church community. Each of us has a hero story of some kind.

Read and listen to the full interview at The Next Chapter.