S+ Stimulant: Gather
In 1988 Stephen Hawking, Arthur C. Clarke and Carl Sagan got together to discuss God, the Universe and Everything Else. We recently watched this fascinating colloquium again and it reminded us how stimulating open discussion about mysterious and ineffable topics can be.
Next time you’re having friends over for dinner, instead of your usual subjects of discussion, why not choose one challenging topic and go deep into it, explore it from each person’s point of view. In other words, we’d like to encourage you to try hosting a Salon. As you likely know, a Salon is ‘a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace’s definition of the aims of poetry, “either to please or to educate.’*
Gertrude Stein is perhaps the most well known of Salon hosts. For some forty years, the Stein home at 27 rue de Fleurus on the Left Bank of Paris was a renowned Saturday evening gathering place for both expatriate American artists and writers and others noteworthy in the world of vanguard arts and letters, most notably Pablo Picasso. The gatherings in the Stein home “brought together confluences of talent and thinking that would help define modernism in literature and art.” *
The video above, as well as all the lore surrounding the now infamous Stein salon inspired us to invite you to create one of your own. Take charge, be that inspiring host, select a vivid, curious and intrepid group of friends, pick a topic that will stir debate and dive in…Your guests will leave, as Horace promised: either pleased or educated; or both.
For a list of potential topics to tackle, please check out our open-ended thought experiment: What If?
Published: March 11th, 2014