Bernard-Henri Lévy: “The Search for Truth, and the Future of Knowledge” | Talks at Google

So let’s introduce with your first
opening question. It strikes me that
in the last decade, we have read fiction and
all sorts of philosophy, documentary, that project
a very gloomy perspective on the future. When you read science
fiction books, most of them are dystopia. You can think of “Silo,” of
“Divergent,” of “Hunger Games.” There are not a lot of
science fiction books that give you a positive outcome
for the future of mankind. However, here at Google,
we believe in progress. We believe in empowerment
with technology. We believe in greater
good and values. We received an email from
our CEO, Sundar Pichai, a few days ago. And he was writing,
“At Google, we believe in making people’s
day a little easier and ultimately, helping increase
their knowledge, their health, their happiness,
and their success. And I want to ask you
this first question. Are we at Google
the last utopians, the last ones to hope and
believe in a better future? BERNARD-HENRI
LEVY: Probably not. But I’m not sure
that to be a utopian, to believe in
progress, is so good. I’m not certain that
it is a privilege. And I’m not completely sure that
it is for the best of humanity. I know two ideas which
really harm humanity. One is the idea of universal,
indefinite, unbreakable progress. And the other one is the
universal, indefinite, and unbreakable decline. Both philosophies are,
for me, as misleading one and the other. The first one has
one big name, which might be sufficient
to incarnate it, which is the name of the
German philosopher Hegel. Hegel believed in
necessary progress. A Hegelian, at
least– not Hegel– a Hegelian would
believe that whatever you do, even if you do
nothing, even if you sit in a lazy way on the
backseat on the last wagon of the train of
history, the train will arrive at [? terminus. ?] On the other side, you have
the followers of, let’s say, Oswald Spengler,
the philosopher who published one century
ago a very important book and strong book about
“The Decline of the West.” He thought exactly the
opposite, that whatever you do, even if you do a
lot, even if you gesticulate, even if you stand at the
forehead of the train and try to push it
harder, nevertheless, the world is going to the worst. These two philosophies,
for me, are really twins and are twin
teachers of laziness. What I like around
me, among my friends, the people I respect,
are those who believe neither this nor
that but just try to apply what the Jewish thought calls– called and calls–
the tikkun olam, which is the power which every single
individual, every single woman, every single man, has to
repair, a little, the world. The world has no sense. The world can go in the worst
or in the best direction. We can, each of us, at our
level, like Mr. Pichai said, try on his own
battlefield with the means he has in hands to improve, a
little, the state of affairs, to stop or to slow, a
little, the process of decay. So it’s not [INAUDIBLE]
being utopian. It’s not [INAUDIBLE] progress. And anyway, utopia,
that last remark, as it was conceived in the
past, is probably inconceivable. We are the first
generations, mine and yours, who for the first
time in history don’t really believe
that there is a serious reason for tomorrow
being better than today. This ideal of time like
an arrow going strike straight to a target, very few
fools still believe in that. But the fact that we have
in our hands some tools and that with that tools, we
can [? embetter ?] a little or make a little worse the
world in which we live, yes. This is in our hands. BRICE CHALLAMEL: Thank you
very much for this answer. Thank you. So our way to repair the world
and is embedded in our mission statement at Google, is to
make the world’s information universally
accessible and useful. And information is a
gateway to a lot of things. And one of those things is
knowledge and the empowerment of knowledge. There was a long-standing
ideal of thinking every human being could
rise to the level of almost universal knowledge and,
you know, [INAUDIBLE].. And that meaning was
very deeply embedded in the European culture of
the Enlightenment, [INAUDIBLE] in its original meaning. The more we go in
time, the more we find that science
is a bottomless pit of very complicated
knowledge, that we hear about things that happen
at the other side of the world and that don’t make sense to us
and need a lot of qualification and explaining for us to
even grasp or understand, as you’ve done in
the last decades, to tell us about
things that happen from our European perspective
in [INAUDIBLE] very far away. And it seems more and more
elusive and distant to us to have knowledge. A lot of people– this is surveyed very
frequently– would say, I feel the world
is going very fast. I think things are
very complicated. And I don’t feel that I
can understand the world or know the world anymore. So my second question is this. Is the ideal of
the Enlightenment, of bringing knowledge to
mankind, of making every man and woman on earth
someone who has knowledge and who has understanding of
the world around them, is it still relevant? Or has it lost its meaning
in the recent years in this complexifying
of our existence? BERNARD-HENRI LEVY: It
still has meaning, in part, because of Google. It is losing its meaning, in
part, because of Google too. As far as Enlightenment
is concerned– this is your question– Google is a force for the best
and a force for the worst. Let’s enter the core
of the question. I speak frankly,
if you don’t mind. For the best, first, Google
made two great things. Google launched two
real revolutions– number one, the universal
access to knowledge, the dream of the Enlightenment,
the dream of the authors of “Encyclopédie,”
Diderot and so on. The dream of Hegel, the absolute
knowledge, le savoir absolu. This seemed out of
reach for humanity till the last decades
for the first time. And this is even incredible
and nearly unthinkable that in such a short
time, a few people achieve that this
knowledge is accessible. And this is really an
anthropological change in the destiny of
humanity, the fact that any scientific discovery,
any medical research in a remote laboratory
of any continent can be at your reach
or mine in a click. This is completely new and
completely revolutionary. And it is a gesture
of Enlightenment. Diderot, d’Alembert would have
liked this aspect of Google. There is another
thing that Google did and achieved which
goes also in the sense of this Enlightenment. It is the fact that every
single citizen of the world has, for the first time in
the history of humanity, the technical possibility
and the human right not only to express himself, but
to have his expression written, embedded, inscribed somewhere. One of my masters, Michel
Foucault, French philosopher who spent a lot of time
at the end of his life in San Francisco, by the
way, made a huge difference between two sort of people. More important than the
have and the have-ots, more important than those
who had power and those who were dominated, it
was good difference, said Michel Foucault, with
the famous and the infamous, what he called
infamous, which meant, in his language, those who
had no way to have their [? fame, ?] their
reputation, the story of their crossing of the planet
leaving any trace anywhere. Michel Foucault said, one
of the worst of inequality is that three quarters, 99% of
humanity crosses the planet, crosses life, without
living any scar, any trace at the face of the planet. And this, said Michel Foucault,
or a Michelle Foucault follower could conclude, this
is heartbreaking. This is an absolute unfairness. To this, Google
brought a reparation. Google repaired that. Since Google and since the
digital revolution in general, anyone, any one
of us can step out if he wants from out of the
night of the obscure men and women. Step out the night
of the infamous. These two gestures are true
gestures of Enlightenment. And again, Denis Diderot,
d’Alembert, d’Holach, all the French pre-revolutionaries
who made this real revolution of making “Encyclopédie,” which
was not Wikipedia, believe me– they would consider that
as to [INAUDIBLE] gesture. Then, the worst. Real Enlightenment supposes
two additional propositions, two additional things. Number one, that this absolute
knowledge, which is, as I said, under the reach of anyone,
has to be mastered. You have to have a way to
find your way in its bushes. You have to find a
way for this putting into access or
universal knowledge to be a real gesture
of Enlightenment. You have not only to have it
like this, at your disposal. But you have to be able to
mobilize it, to shape it, to mold it, to make
your own way through it, to eat it, devour it. The Hebrew prophets said– they were great eaters of words. They did not only utter
the words of prophecy. They really masticated
it, masticated them. And the new technology, the new
tools of the digital revolution at this moment, do not
give the boussole– how do you say boussole? BRICE CHALLAMEL: A compass. BERNARD-HENRI LEVY: Compass,
don’t give the compass, don’t give the cape. They’re like this system
of the world which was well described by your
German philosopher before Hegel who
was called Leibniz. Leibniz described a world of
infinite complexity, which he called the world
of monadology, which was an absolute labyrinth
of deeds and worlds where any office was and had
to be like an [INAUDIBLE] in the labyrinth. Number one, Google
and any company born from the digital revolution
did not know to this moment how to provide the
compass, the cape. And number two– this
process, this right given to the have-nots of
fame the right to have fame, is an act of Enlightenment
if you are still able to make a difference
between the worlds, between the expressions,
between the propositions, for example, of an expert
whose expertise is nearly impossible to understand
because he spent all his life with [INAUDIBLE] and
somebody who just expressed his mood of the day. The opinion of a
moody guy cannot– from an Enlightened
point of view– cannot have the same weight and
the same value as the opinion of a scholar, an academic, a
woman or a man who devoted his life and who put all the
interest of his [INAUDIBLE] in the production
of this opinion. And this passage, this way of
going from proposal number one, I have the right
to express myself, and you have the duty to respect
me, to proposal number two, I have the right to say
that my truth is the truth, and you have no right
to make any hierarchy, to make any difference, between
a better truth or a lower truth. This way of going from one
to the other, this passage, is a non-Enlightened one. By allowing that, the
digital revolution, for the moment, for the
moment, overshadows or spreads, casts a path of shadow
and of night on the light that you, Google,
and others produced. BRICE CHALLAMEL: All right. Thank you very much for this. And also, “eating
the words,” I think, will please a lot of Googlers
because we have a lot of love for food at Google. And so we should put
this on the menu, I think, more words, right? So this brings us to another
consideration and another segue from information,
which is truth or lies. This topic– which
seems very simple, and you could take a five-year
old child and say that this is a lie or this is the truth– suddenly becomes
much more complicated when you apply it to
a grownup or grownups. And a little story
here, my grandmother, when I was a child, used
to say, oh, you know. Truth is like a mirror
fallen from the sky. It has exploded in
a million pieces. Everyone grabs a piece,
look at themselves, and say, I hold the truth. And I would like
to ask you this. Do you think that there is
still such a thing as truth? And how should we handle that
notion of truth versus lie? Or have we gone and veered into
an environment of opinions? And if yes, how can we find
our way out of the opinions and get back to the guidance
to the meal of words, to the meat of meaning? BERNARD-HENRI LEVY: I don’t
know if there is a truth or not. Or if I know, if I
have my idea on that, this is not a fair thing I
would like to share with you. The first thing I
want to share is that if we don’t believe that
there is a truth, if we believe that there is as many truths
as there are individuals, then the world will become hell. Then the world will
become the stage of an unfinishable battlefield
between every truth. This is a real problem. If really the truth
is this broken mirror, if really each human being has
the legitimate feeling that he owns part of the true cross
or mirror of the truth, then it will be war forever. So the real question, you
have two opposite problems. Number one is the
one I just mentioned, to believe that there is as
many truths as human beings. This is a position
of the sophists. The Greeks five
centuries before Christ had a school of thinkers
who exactly thought that. They exactly thought, they
said, that [FOREIGN LANGUAGE],, every single man is the
measure of the value of things. He has an opinion on the
truth, and his opinion is absolutely respectable. This was a sophistic position. And we know by history, we
know by their contemporaries, that number one, they were
the allied of the tyrants, of the despots, and
especially of those who condemned to
death Socrates, which was a huge event in the
history of humanity. The death of Socrates is
something on which humanity reflected for centuries. It was a trauma which affected
humanity for centuries. You have this temptation. And you had, at this time,
another temptation, which was to say there is one truth. It is somewhere. And some, a few of us, have
the divine power to know where and to know how. This gives, obviously,
to those who are in touch with the
truth, an incredible power. And who would refuse to someone
the absolute power if he could say and prove, come on. I have the grail. I know where it is. I know the ladder and so on. And this is, again, a
justification of tyranny. So you can justify tyranny,
which is for sure the biggest– for an Enlightened citizen– the biggest evil. You can justify tyranny
by the two ways– by saying that there is as many
truths as there is individuals, and by saying that there is
only one truth hidden somewhere, but reachable. These are the two
opposite risks. In the middle, you have
a more humble way, which seems to me at the same
time, the most reasonable, the one that has the advantage
to produce less disease and to be probably the most
close to the reality, which is that there is a truth, number
one that it is out of reach, number two, but that
it should be targeted, pursued with good
will by each of us, and knowing that none of
us will ever say, I got it. We are like in the Greek
paradox of Zeno [INAUDIBLE],, and the [? tortuga ?]
will never reach. It will never bypass. The seeker of the
truth will never fill the space, will always
fill half of it and so on. So my reply to your
question would be that. No to the broke– I’m sorry for your grandmother. BRICE CHALLAMEL: I think
it was a cautionary tale. So I think you’re in the spirit. BERNARD-HENRI LEVY:
So no for the mirror, no for the Platonician ideal,
but yes to these women and men lost in the night
and seeing, from time to time, a shining star hiding
itself but showing nevertheless the path. This is a way I believe in. BRICE CHALLAMEL: All right. Thank you very much. So interestingly, we’re
leading to the next part of our discussion
about solutions, about how we can contribute. What I heard from you today was
that to the meal of knowledge of words, we have to
be guided, that there is a search for the truth and
that the search matters more than the truth itself, in
a way, and the good will we put into this. I deeply believe that
at Google, everyone has a lot of good will. We are very much a
good will company. And we even hire one
another with good will as one of our main criteria. We call this
Googliness, and it’s a form of extension
of good will. And we all want to
do the right thing and look for the right thing. So I want to ask you
next about solutions. There is a quote that you make. And you actually made it several
times over the last 20 years. So it’s a quote
from Virgil that you say Freud had at the
introduction of “The Analysis of Dreams,” saying, “If
I can’t move the gods, at least I can move the
river of the shadows.” And I think Juneau used to
say this in Virgil’s place. And here we are,
reaching to the gods, to people who have incredible
power, knowledge, perspective, and yet, having to move
the river of shadows, which is the whole of mankind
moving as a whole and almost a subconscious thought for us
because it’s billions of people empowered. How can we arbitrate? What do you think? What do you propose to us
as solutions, guidelines to repair the world in the way
that we can repair the world? And how would you
dream Google to tackle these tough challenges
that we have discovered together and
that lead from information about truth, about
knowledge, about empowerment? BERNARD-HENRI LEVY:
What I think is that you have definitely a
huge and even frightening responsibility. You– digital companies in
general, but especially Google, which is incomparable
to the others– you have a huge responsibility. No company in the
history of mankind ever had such a power,
ever had such an influence in the way in which your fellow
human beings, your brothers in humanity, think. You have a huge
influence on that. There was a point I did not
mention, this, for example, the relationship we all
have to our own memory. This is a point I
make in my book. I call that, after
one of my masters, the syndrome of Saint Denis. The syndrome Saint Denis
was this French bishop of the 3rd century
after Christ who was beheaded by a
group of by pagans and who is reported by a miracle
to have climbed the hill which is named today as the
[? calling ?] of Saint Denis with his beheaded
head under his elbow. He continued to climb the hill. Why do I mention that? Because today, because
of the digital revolution and with the help
of Google, we all are some sort of
Saint Denis, having not our brain, but our
memory not under our elbow, but in our pocket. We all know the experience of
having a coffee with friends at the cafeteria
or a Chinese soup, delicious, which
I just had, trying to remind, to recall an event,
a date, a quote, whatever, and checking, Googling it. It became a verb. So there is a sort of,
in very short time, we are facing a real concerning
process of exfiltration in a great machine
that goes so fast, who puts things in such an order
of a big part of our memory. There is an exfiltration,
an externalization, and off-shoreization beyond
the shores of our head of a big part of our memory. On some regards, why not? This machine is maybe
more intelligent and makes less slip of
the tongue and so on. But at the same time,
slips of the tongue, misunderstandings,
false memories, are so crucial for the
soul, the imagination, and the process of thinking. So you have a huge
responsibility. In 20 years, you produced,
you injected in your own minds and in our worlds and in
the minds of three quarters or maybe four fifths of
humanity, real changes. Number two, I know
about the good will. I know that. I know it through my
friends, while working for big digital companies. And I know it from
Google because I happen to have discussions– I don’t know if I
can say that here– but with Mr. Sundar Pichai
last summer, your president, and more closely with the
European team of Google. You have some, in
Paris and in Europe, a team of ladies and gentlemen. Some of them have
become friends. Mr. Carlo d’Asaro Biondo– I don’t know if you know him. And I know that these
ladies, these gentlemen– maybe because they have
the head in the new world and the feet in the old one,
maybe because part of them is still belonging to the
Italian Renaissance world, maybe just because they
are just good people– I know. And I seldom saw that. I seldom in my life
saw such big companies having such a
terrifying, huge power and having so much good
will, so much will to repair. The Jewish commandment of
repairing the world, tikkun olam. It’s true that in all
big digital companies, and especially in this one,
I find it as a real motto, as a real reason to work
and to live and to win. I know that there is
leadership in this company that prefers to leave a good scar,
to repeat the metaphor I made before, a good scar, a scar
of life and of light and of hope in the future of humanity
than a bad inheritance. Number two, and I’m
convinced of that. Number three, after that,
you have to know what to do. When you made a golem, a
golem like in Prague, Maharal of Prague, this sort of
great admirable and somehow crazy machine that is able to
produce some effects which you programmed, but that
you do not control, you put them in the machine. You don’t control
completely all the outcomes. How can you act? What can you do? I had, in Paris, a meeting of
this sort with your colleagues of European Google. And a few ideas stemmed
out of the conversation. For example, I
launched the idea of, as I told before, access
of knowledge, great, but if you are able
to walk into it and if you are able
to memorize it. So I launched the idea
of an “Encyclopédia.” When I said that, the
beginning of our conversation, each time I quoted Diderot,
I quoted the “Encyclopédia.” Why not to do? If I were Google,
if I were Google, I would certainly devote
one of the billions or half of a billion or one tenth
of the billions I earn, my company earns every
year, in order to produce the “Encyclopédia” of the
modern times, of the 21 century. It is doable, even if
this knowledge is complex, even if it is as you said. It is possible to assemble it. There are few hundreds,
maybe a few thousands, of high ranking scientists
who devoted their life in their discoveries. They could make accessible
to all the Google researchers their knowledge
as the scientists of the time of Diderot did. So I have a dream. This is what I said to your
Paris colleagues, d’Asaro Biondo and his colleagues. I have the dream of– because we have an
encyclopedia today. It is called Wikipedia. OK. I am well placed– each
of us is well placed– to know that it is the
worst possible encyclopedia. It is not good. Really, it is not good. It is full of vested interests. Each article of “Wikipedia”
is a battlefield in which some forces fight
as in the fight of sophists in the ancient Greece. You had in the agora of Athens
Gorgias, Pythagoras, Callicles, who were just fighting
for their truth. And the most strong,
the strongest one, this is “Wikipedia.” It is not dictated by the
idea of the inaccessible star in the darkness or in the fog. An encyclopedia that
would be directed by that, I’m sure that it would be a
real progress for humanity, a good way to allow each
of us to make his way, like in the “Inferno” of Dante,
but an “Inferno” of Dante who would have a few
lights suddenly coming in. I would do that. You know as well as anyone
that we are living in a world where truth is under attack. It is not the fault of Google. It is the fault of Donald
Trump and Vladimir Putin. It is the fault of
the philosophers of the 20th century. It is the fault of the
post-Nietzschean descendents. There is a lot of
responsibility. But you know how a tool like
yours can speed the false truth and can block them. You know that you can– company like a tool. Don’t speak about company. A tool like the tools of Google,
like the algorithms on Google, can have an incredible
contribution to the process in both ways. This needs– deserves, also– to be thought, to be reflected. And there is
certainly some means. In Paris I proposed the
idea of making in real time a sort of hall of
shame of the fake news. I launched the idea of making
every year a competition all over the world with an award,
with a prize, with money given to the YouTuber or
to the user of Google who would propose the best short
video or short tale or whatever able to turn into laughing,
into ridicule, the fake news. I don’t know how it
can be proceeded. And you objected me
in a conversation that the way in which
the new world works makes that shame can
be a source of desire. And the more you put shame
on fake news, the most– maybe I’m wrong. But there must be a way
when you are Google, when you are such a big company,
to put all your knowledge all your technicity,
all your algorithms at the service of the truth. I’m sure of that. And the memory– again,
I’m sure that this process of exfiltration, of Saint
Denis-ization of our memory is reversible. Today, we have every
day some young genius who invents a start-up with
an application producing crazy things to sleep better or
to count your step, whatever. I’m sure that there is ways to
restart and to make our memory work again. I would reflect on these
sort of path if I were you. BRICE CHALLAMEL: All right. Thank you very much. So thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] So I could go on and ask you
questions for the whole day. But we don’t have the whole
day, and I’m not alone here. And this is the perfect time to
give the mic to the audience. Does anyone want– so maybe we
have one here in front and then one there on this
side, follow-up. AUDIENCE: You spoke
at great length. And I truly agree with a lot
of the things that you said. But you haven’t touched a lot
on the book that you wrote and which the talk is about. And so I hope with my question
to give you an opportunity to expand a little
bit on the five kings. And what is the
metaphor behind that? And in the list of these
places that you mention, you do mention the United
States as being in decline. You do not mention the European
Union or the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth. So what is the main
idea and thrust that we should get from the book
that is being presented here? BERNARD-HENRI LEVY:
I did not do it because I did not come
to speak about me, but to speak about
you, honestly. No, no. For me, it’s a real
treat to be here. And I really wanted to. So a few words, my book is
about the bill of $1, which you may have in your pocket. If somebody here has a bill
of $1 in his pocket, $1, she or he will find
that on this bill of $1, there are three quotes. These three quotes, these
three quotes are here. The first one is in
Latin, “annuit coeptis.” The second one is in Latin
also, “novus ordo seclorum.” And the third one is in Latin
also, “e pluribus, unum” on the wings of the eagle. So three Latin quotes
in a bill of the most materialistic country
in the world– these three Latin quotes are
all driven from the same author. This author is called Virgil. And Virgil is the author of
a book called “Aeneid” that tells a story which is,
for me, the founding story of the birth,
of the growth, of the success of America. This is what my book is about,
why there is three Virgil quotes of a bill of $1. And the book is
also about the fact that when you forget the
three Latin quotes on the bill of $1, when you forget– which is happening today– the Virgilian root of the
United States of America, in other words, when you forget
that you are a country based on the rock of certain
values and principles, when you forget that
you, your ancestors, your grand grand grand
grand grandfathers invented this country in
order to reset Europe, because this is
America, those three quotes of Virgil on this bill– because the idea was to reset
Europe exactly as Aeneas did reset Troy, the
city of Troy in flames, the city of Amsterdam,
Paris, and London in flames in the 16th century. And in face of these
flames is the idea of reinventing a shining
city on a new land. If you’ll forget
that, then five kings appear, five kings that are
former empires that collapsed one after the other, who thought
since decades and centuries that they collapse forever,
and who are beginning to think that if America withdraws,
if America recedes, if America abdicates,
then there might be an opportunity for them to
advance, to occupy the field, and to fill the vacuum. This is what this book is about. But it is also about Google. It is also about the
fact that the super power that a few digital
companies have has something to do with this movement
of tide going back in terms of geopolitics. I give you back your dollar. [APPLAUSE] BRICE CHALLAMEL:
Thank you very much. So we had another
question there, please. AUDIENCE: Thank you. Thanks for coming. You said something
interesting about “Wikipedia” being one of the worst things
we could have as an encyclopedia and also that one of the
reasons, If I understand correctly, that it’s
one of the worst things is because “Wikipedia”
is a battlefield for vested interests. I’m curious how
you think about– so the big difference between
“Wikipedia” and Google is Google gets most of
its revenue from ads, and “Wikipedia” has
pledged over the time that it will never
accept ad dollars. How do you think about how this
would impact vested interests and would impact the truth
that both systems can produce? BERNARD-HENRI LEVY: The
worst vested interests are those who are
hidden, who are not fully and officially expressed. An ad, the vested
interest is here. It is like a board. A vested interest disguised
in self for truth, this is the worst. This is my reply. I have nothing against ads. “The New York Times,” “Le
Monde,” the best newspapers on Earth and others have ads. It is clear. It’s open. It does not mean that they are
a battlefield for champions of so-called pieces of truth. Problem of Wikipedia is
that under the appearance of neutrality, under the
appearance of everyone, of participation,
and under the idea that you have an invisible
hand like in the market that will be as a referee, correcting
in real time all the excess and will reach the
truth under this idea. There are some real
intellectual interests– I’m not speaking about the
intellectual interests– of people who want to
impose or to make advance or to give a chance to
something which is a lie. I remember Philip Roth,
the great American writer. He saw a mistake on
his Wikipedia page. He protested. He wrote, innocent
way, old world. He wrote a letter to Wikipedia
saying, I’m sorry, but see. The reply was, you are
not une source fiable. BRICE CHALLAMEL:
A reliable source. BERNARD-HENRI LEVY: A reliable
source for Philip Roth. So this is Wikipedia. You cannot make an encyclopedia
if you don’t believe that there is a ladder, that
there is a scale, that there is a hierarchy
in terms of knowledge. Nobody has the full knowledge. OK. Nobody is able to say, I
have the final knowledge. OK. We all know that the
history of science overshadows every
provisional truth. At a point, every truth
is a provisional one and will be bypassed
by another one. But you cannot say that a
provisional truth has the same status as a crazy idea just
stemming out of a vested interest desire. You cannot say that. And the problem today of most
of the, especially Wikipedia, will have is that it works
under this false idea. And we have to restore,
even if it sounds elite. I know that you are
a democratic company. I know that. AUDIENCE: Uh, no. We’re not. BERNARD-HENRI LEVY:
You praise democracy. You praise democracy. AUDIENCE: Externally, yes. But internally, we’re
not a democratic company. BERNARD-HENRI LEVY: OK, I
don’t want to enter in that. But to praise the idea
of every point of view having to be respected, having
to be praised, and so on, this, why not? But to be respected does
not mean everyone should be respected in expressing– his caprice, his belief,
his will to think, his hope that the truth
should be this or that, but not in the idea that he
has the truth when he did not make the process, when
he did not make the path and the road that
the scientists know and which is the road for truth. The two cannot be put
on the same level. And there is something
to restore there, which is not a reactionary
gesture, but which is, yes, a gesture of restoration. And it would be great that
the most democratic company– one of the most, maybe
another than Google. I don’t know– makes
this restoration and dares to say
that between Einstein and any crazy member
of a conspiracy sect, you have enemies. This has to be reminded. BRICE CHALLAMEL: All right. Well, thank you very much. We are on time. So time to thank you again
for coming and joining us. As we say in English,
food for thoughts. So we have a lot of
words to chew now and to ruminate for the coming– BERNARD-HENRI LEVY:
Chew, chew, chew. BRICE CHALLAMEL:
–weeks or months. We hope to have you
again at some point, because this is an ongoing
conversation, of course. And wish you the best of
stay here on the west coast and for your next travels in
America and all over the world. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE]

Leave a Reply