by Jerry Alatalo
fter decades of being known the world over as a highly influential intellectual, dissident and social activist Noam Chomsky, now over eighty years old, keeps going. While reading some of his books and listening to a good number of his addresses and interviews through the years, one thing about Mr. Chomsky that has stood out is his strict, consistent adherence to the “study plan”, so to speak. In other words, it is extremely rare to see the man showing his emotional or spiritual side, as he plays those cards very, very close to the chest.
The only two instances in memory of seeing him even approach letting his personal guard down were when he responded to a young college student’s question “why do you do it?” with “a person has to look in the mirror every morning”, and a recent appearance on Democracy Now where he almost cracked a full grin when Amy Goodman mentioned that he had just gotten married. For persons reading this – many who have, like Chomsky, spent time reading and researching for truth that is, after coming upon it, seemingly too-often painful to discover – it is understandable how a person could become protective of their personal feelings. Especially in the case of Chomsky, who has undertaken such an almost-masochistic intellectual effort rigorously for decades.
That’s not a judgment on Mr. Chomsky, but only an observation. Maybe it just comes with the scholarly territory, and, because Chomsky has worked his scholar/academician muscles harder than most, perhaps, as athletes and hard physical workers who eventually wear out their bodies from prolonged, intense competition/work, one could excuse Noam Chomsky for suffering any form of burnout. At any rate, after recalling advice from a book about healers given by a Native American medicine man on how he dealt with similar issues of stress on the mind and spirit – and body in the case of medicine men and women – he relieved stress by balancing through reading old western novels, his favorite writer being a man famous for western novels whose name escapes at the moment.
Stress-management and observations aside Noam Chomsky deserves a lot of credit, along with his friend the late Howard Zinn, for bringing the truth to millions of men and women worldwide through many years of dedicated struggle and effort. During his interview on RT’s “Going Underground” one can almost sense a rare occurrence of optimism coming from Mr. Chomsky’s voice when he describes – agreeably – changes in Latin America, Greece and Spain. It’s good to see that married life, along with world events showing signs that humanity is in some regions moving in a positive direction, have given Noam Chomsky the reasons for optimism and increased hope that he so richly deserves.
(Thank you to GoingUnderground RT at YouTube)