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BOOK CLUB:"CULTURE:L­eading Scientists Explore Societies, Art, Power, Technology"

Why do civilizations rise and fall?
What are the origins and purpose of art?
How does technology shape society?
Did culture direct human evolution?
Is the Internet an agent of democracy or dictatorships?

An immensely powerful but little-understood force that impacts society, art, politics, and even human biological development, culture is the very stage on which human experience plays out. But what is it, exactly? What are its rules and origins? In this fascinating volume, John Brockman, editor and publisher ofEdge, presents short, accessible explorations of culture’s essential aspects, by today’s most influential scientists and thinkers.

Contributors and topics include

Jared Diamond on why societies collapse and how we can make better decisions to protect our own future • Denis Dutton on the origins of art Daniel C. Dennett on the evolution of cultures • Jaron Lanier on the ominous impact of the Internet • Nicholas Christakis on the structure and rules of social networks, both “real” and online • Clay Shirky and Evgeny Morozov on the new political reality of the digital era • Brian Eno on what cultures value Stewart Brand on the responsibilities of human power • Douglas Rushkoff on the next Renaissance • W. Daniel Hillis on the Net as a global “knowledge web”

This event is hosted by Bob Braine. for information on this month's book, email [masked]. This event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.



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  • Milt M.

    Some of the history, potential and problems of the Internet were discussed, and I thought that the overall effect was good--that we had a healthy respect for the virtues of the digital world and a healthy wariness of its vices. In addition, we discussed (briefly) how civilizations which become divided against themselves about serious issues may collapse, how societal buzz gets transmitted through memes, and how biology and evolution inform the arts. There was more to discuss, but as usual, we ran out of time. Michael Shermer once wrote: "When we understand, we have the illusion that we are in control." I still have the hope that we can apply our understanding so that we (society) may truly gain some control.

    3 days ago

  • Milt M.

    Although the book "Culture" has essays of widespread interest, literally 1/2 of them were on different facets of the internet, and where that is taking us. It makes sense to do the internet as one segment, and to do the other areas such as why societies collapse, the arts, technology, etc, separately.

    November 27

  • Mohammed

    Hello people, this meeting sounds really interesting and intellectually stimulating.
    Civilizations raise and fall relies on resources durability (P. Kennedy studied all superpowers from 1500s until today and wrote a book about it), although I think this is true, but I also think it's eventually the same reason for the survival and termination of groups/tribes ever since we were in the cave. I think technology has been and will always play a key role in any social change, from the the invention of agriculture to the iPhone. I don't think culture direct the human evolution, but it has an impact on the velocity of the evolution, sometimes it speeds it up, sometimes it slows it down, but it couldn't/didn't change the direction. As for art, hmm I've absolutely no idea about art :) ... These are my quick thoughts about the good questions above, I'd love to share more thoughts in the meeting and also learn from you as well, looking forward for this meeting, and thank you for organizing it.

    November 21

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