What we're about

From the time of ancient ancestors, we have distinguished ourselves by our consciousness within communities, use of tools, and interest in big questions about the cosmos and our lives within it. Even as the knowledge, means, and desire to celebrate life has grown, the big questions persist.

Finding answers is now both more exciting and more troubling than ever before. It’s exciting because we're witnessing dramatic increases in...

— knowledge in every field: the physical and biological sciences, the social and psychological sciences, and in the arts
— new technologies enabling an overwhelming flood of new facts, knowledge, techniques, as well as falsehoods
— new techniques, frameworks, and regimens that can jump-start and accelerate personal, professional, and community growth.

The questions are also more troubling because we face new problems, difficult for us to overcome, including an existential threat to our survival as a species.

— Can we create the knowledge we need to resolve our most significant problems?
— Can we stir up the courage to act on knowledge in timely ways to resolve problems and enhance our lives?

The jury is still out on those last two questions, but we know at least this. Openness to learning from each other is the key to getting at them.

Our meetings focus on a diverse mix of books/topics/questions of significant scope, impact, or interest. Our meetings objective is to Go Big and Go Broad, to cover as many different types of Big Picture topics in as much detail as we can as best we can.

The purpose of The Bend Big Picture Book Club is to explore big questions, celebrate life, and have fun with friends old and new.

BOOK CLUB CAVEAT… You DO NOT have to read the book to participate… Most important books are summarized in online videos or short articles. And for each topic, we’ll provide at least 1 summarizing video link and spend time summarizing the topic content as a group during the meeting.

____________________________________________

Clicking on the link below opens a web-based spreadsheet containing a list of the books we've discussed so far by Year, Month, TopicType, and Title.

http://hdw.shor.tn/tbbpbc_meetinglist

Draft materials from meetings are archived at the link below. They include rough notes, images, outlines, and miscellany, all organized by meeting. Some are way shy of being good, others, IMO, highlight important insight. It's an amorphous mix of stuff.

http://hdw.shor.tn/tbbpbc_archive

____________________________________________

Topic of the Month (TotM) meetings focus on books/topics/questions of significant scope, impact, or interest. Our TotM meetings objective is to Go Big and Go Broad, to cover as many different types of Big Picture topics as we can.

Big Picture Event (BPE) meetings are organized around unique events that happen from time to time. Lectures, movies, plays, music are all in play for these sorts of meetings. The 2017 Solar Eclipse was on our calendar as a BPE. (https://www.meetup.com/The-Bend-Big-Picture-Book-Club/events/236763233/)

My Personal Passion (MPP) meetings are planned and led by members with desire to share interest and learning with others about their passion. MPPs provide an opportunity for sharing and learning more about that completely familiar or weirdly strange thing you’re into... :-)

We look forward to you joining us for discussion, refreshment, and connection!

Upcoming events (5)

Socrates Cafe

Online event

Join us for discussions from science to philosophy and most everything in-between! Topics are decided by group vote after submission by individual members. We have been debating issues here in Bend since 2011 and are part of a larger informal group that was started by Christopher Phillips in the 1990's. Our sessions are structured with guidelines so that all voices can be heard and each topic is fairly reviewed. Previous knowledge or education in philosophy is not required...just bring an open mind!

See you soon!

Read Sistah Vegan by A. Breeze Harper

Drake Park

We will meet outside likely at Drake Park, Bend, OR. TBD closer to June 1st.

https://www.amazon.com/Sistah-Vegan-Female-Identity-Society

From the Amazon description:

Sistah Vegan is a series of narratives, critical essays, poems, and reflections from a diverse community of North American black-identified vegans. Collectively, these activists are de-colonizing their bodies and minds via whole-foods veganism. By kicking junk-food habits, the more than thirty contributors all show the way toward longer, stronger, and healthier lives. Suffering from type-2 diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, and overweight need not be the way women of color are doomed to be victimized and live out their mature lives. There are healthy alternatives. Sistah Vegan is not about preaching veganism or vegan fundamentalism. Rather, the book is about how a group of black-identified female vegans perceive nutrition, food, ecological sustainability, health and healing, animal rights, parenting, social justice, spirituality, hair care, race, gender-identification, womanism, and liberation that all go against the (refined and bleached) grain of our dysfunctional society. Thought-provoking for the identification and dismantling of environmental racism, ecological devastation, and other social injustices, Sistah Vegan is an in-your-face handbook for our time. It calls upon all of us to make radical changes for the betterment of ourselves, our planet, and―by extension―everyone.

After Billions of Years of Monotony, the Universe is Waking Up!

An audaciously titled TED Talk was given two years ago now with little notice since... http://youtu.be/fh5KLfd9Km8

After Billions of Years of Monotony, The Universe is Waking Up

The speaker wasn't some New Age Idea Marketer, Eastern Mystic, or some mix of Western Christian-Pantheist...

David Deutsch is an Oxford University Physicist. He is a / the...

... developer of the first quantum computing algorithm to rival Turing's
... winner of the Dirac Prize and, later, the Dirac Medal in Physics
... Fellow of the Royal Society
... intellectual heir to two of the most important minds of the 20th century: Karl Popper and Jacob Bronowski
... author of two books... the first, entitled, The Fabric of Reality

But the second book title was an early hint that Deutsch's ideas were several standard deviations distant from the conventional wisdom...

The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World

Woah... Wait! What?

Explanatory Knowledge is a human creation. It can't possibly be the basis for anything infinite. We all know that to be a fact, to be true... Right?

Nope. Deutsch says Not Necessarily: this Human Creation, Explanatory Knowledge, might be leveraged and have profound, large-scale impacts on the physical universe.

In the TED Talk we'll focus on and in his second book, he sketches some details about how profound his dissent is from that conventional wisdom.

Link to a larger meetup image to read quotations... http://hdw.shor.tn/bbpbc_deutsch_1

------------------------------------
In this meetup, we will...

... review and discuss the elements of the argument Deutsch makes in detail
... zoom out to more broadly discuss and debate whether we believe Deutsch is on to something in his talk, or not.

Some Deutsch argument details related to Statis and Human Suffering aren't especially clear in that video above. But they are detailed elsewhere. Our review of his key argument details will take those latter details into account from the first 13 minutes of another Deutsch essay here... https://youtu.be/2ccJsXG4b5Y

------------------------------------
Other Resources for the discussion...

A key resource for understanding Deutsch's ideas is Brett Hall's series of video commentaries... http://hdw.shor.tn/bretthall

-- 7-min - Brett Hall Intro to Deutsch #1 - https://youtu.be/DmrIFSIunyo
-- 13-min - Brett Hall Intro to Deutsch #2 - https://youtu.be/PaI_uxLYdWM
-- 10-min - Deutsch explains Explanations in this Closer To Truth interview - https://youtu.be/3eEffbjzNwE
-- 18-min - Deutsch - TED talk re explanations - https://youtu.be/folTvNDL08A
-- 61-min - Deutsch talk - "How to Think About the Future" - https://vimeo.com/22099396

-- Scientific American, "The Infinite Optimism of Physicist David Deutsch" - http://hdw.shor.tn/sciam_Deutsch

------------------------------------
Be Safe! Have Fun!

Steve Buss

Socrates Cafe

Online event

Join us for discussions from science to philosophy and most everything in-between! Topics are decided by group vote after submission by individual members. We have been debating issues here in Bend since 2011 and are part of a larger informal group that was started by Christopher Phillips in the 1990's. Our sessions are structured with guidelines so that all voices can be heard and each topic is fairly reviewed. Previous knowledge or education in philosophy is not required...just bring an open mind!

See you soon!

Photos (169)

Find us also at