“But at a purely personal level, Rondon embodied the best of both modern and old-fashioned virtues. He was intensely and genuinely patriotic, adhered to traditional codes of honor, bravery, and chivalry, and repeatedly demonstrated a moral rectitude that, enhanced a character both ascetic and abstemious, impressed those who regularly came into contact with him.”
Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! In this episode, we’re picking up the conversation on our favorite Brazilian explorer, Cândido Rondon, with Into the Amazon. Rohter’s book dives into the untold stories of Rondon and Roosevelt, shining a spotlight on the uncharted territories, unique challenges, and extraordinary legacies left behind in the heart of the Amazon.
We cover a wide range of topics including:
(0:00) Today, we’re venturing into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, as we discuss Into the Amazon by Larry Rohter. Though not a direct sequel, it spins off of a previous episode on The River of Doubt, and gives us more insight into the life of Cândido Rondon.
(1:57) In the era of great explorers, Rondon’s discoveries were often overshadowed by the Europeans. Though he is very well-respected in Brazil, his accomplishments aren’t as widely known in the US.
(6:18) We talk a bit about Paul Rosolie and his preservation efforts in the Amazon rainforest, as well as why the forest felt empty in terms of wildlife throughout their exploration.
(8:41) Rondon’s peaceful demeanor and rationalist approach. He had a high tolerance and respect for the native tribes that he came across, and in return, they embraced him and his crew.
(12:12) In addition to being an explorer, Rondon was a soldier. We also talk about Brazil’s infrastructure advancements and how Rondon viewed the natives as Brazilian, whereas the Brazilian government hardly saw them as part of their people.
(15:48) The friendship between Cândido Rondon and Theodore Roosevelt, and Roosevelt’s profound respect for Rondon. We witness how Roosevelt’s initial perception of Rondon transformed during their shared journeys, shedding light on Roosevelt’s character and open-mindedness.
(20:43) The rich history of Rondon’s story is preserved through detailed diaries and journals kept by the explorers. The survival of these records is nothing short of miraculous when you consider the conditions they were in on their journey.
(22:21) Meta’s new AI features where you can talk to different personalities, based on the topics that you’re interested in.
(25:35) Rondon had opportunities to go down many paths in his life. He had developed several unique skills very early on in his childhood, yet exploring the Amazon is ultimately what he chose to pursue.
(30:48) There were several elements to Rondon that uncovered as we read Into the Amazon that we may not have realized while reading The River of Doubt. Very military-like, Rondon created order for their day and took leadership on their expedition.
(35:17) We share some badass Rondon stories that stuck out to us, including how he navigated a seemingly improbable river crossing with all of the cargo of his crew.
(39:30) When times got tough and supplies ran low, Rondon always stuck to the mission.
(42:31) Deforestation and its long-term consequences. Plant life is so dense in the Amazon; if it ever gets cleared out, it’d be near impossible to bring it back to what it once was.
(47:13) The effects of global shipping traffic and it’s pollution into the atmosphere.
(50:32) The later years of Rondon was more of a focus in this book vs. The River of Doubt. We discuss his family life, which included a wife and 7 children. They communicated via telegrams throughout his many missions and projects where he was forced to be away from home.
(57:40) Einstein had heard so much about Rondon during his time in Brazil that he submitted a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for him without even meeting him.
(1:00:34) Your body always tells you what you need. If Rondon is sick? Just give him some pineapple!
(1:01:31) Though Rondon is framed as a tough explorer, he was also an intellectual. He documented a lot of the indigenous languages and transcribed it based on his interactions with the tribes.
(1:04:45) Tangent time: Which celebrities could potentially run for office, and who is big enough to have their names still referrenced after their passing?
(1:07:39) Our thoughts on the movie Idiocracy and theories on the relationship between technology and intelligence levels. Will our generation always be the most technological competent generation?
(1:15:09) How technology has shaped generations differently, especially Gen Z and Millenials.
(1:20:33) We throw it back to when we were younger, talking about different devices that were around then and how they compare to the more modern, current models.
(1:23:08) The development of Apple, and how they were able to shift so elegantly from the iPod to bigger and better devices.
(1:29:01) We throw out some ideas of books to cover in future episodes. Which ones stuck out to you? Let us know!
(1:40:48) That wraps up this episode! Make sure to pick up a copy of Into the Amazon if you liked this episode. Stay tuned as we will be reading The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and Novacene in the next few episodes.
If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by leaving a review on iTunes and tell a friend. As always, let us know if you have any book recommendations! You can say hi to us on Twitter @TheRealNeilS, @adilmajid, @nateliason and share your thoughts on this episode.
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Thanks for listening. See you next time!