#30: Daniel Everett on Being Fully Immersed

Dan Everett is the closest thing we have to a real life Indiana Jones. He is an academic whose work has mostly taken place in the far reaches of the jungle, where few others dare to tread. His crowning achievement is learning the Pirahã language, which before Dan undertook it had never before been cracked by an outsider. Dan began his swashbuckling career as a missionary and Bible translator. But after a while his ideological alliances shifted. He remained in the Amazon as an anthropologist and linguist. In this interview we talk about how this shift impacted his relationship with his family (imagine having a crisis of faith while on a mission in the Amazon while your entire family is along with you; his ex-wife, by the way, is still there as a missionary). We also talk about how he brought back evidence that directly contradicted major claims that Chomsky had made, his experience between the subject of famous American writer Tom Wolfe's last book before he died (The Kingdom of Speech), and Everett's forthcoming project on the life of Charles Sanders Peirce. Dan's official title is Trustee Professor of Cognitive Sciences at Bentley University.

A picture of Dan, fully immersed.

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"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge."

-Bertrand Russell