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Old 06-16-2013, 10:27 PM   #1
Lynx-lynx
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Where are the great 'thinkers' and 'creators' salons today?

For quite a few moons now I've been wondering where all the 'thinkers' and 'creators' salons are.

Wiki defines salon as:

'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" ("aut delectare aut prodesse est"). '

But I'm expanding that definition to include those 'salons' that emerged in Parisian Cafe culture, between the first and second world wars for example, where the likes of Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald and many many other great notables across the cultural diaspora met.

Is the Cafe Les Deux Magots still one of 'the' spots?

If you could be a fly on the wall and observe contemporary critical (and playful) thinking amongst the foremost thinkers across any of the arts you can think of - where would you go?

And who would be these great (although maybe yet to receive the highest levels of acclammation) personages?
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:44 PM   #2
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If there are still spots like these, I think they are far and few between. Too easy to communicate at ultra speed, and in a society that should have more time for relaxing face to face chats and meetings, it doesn't seem to me that common anymore.

Now the biggest gatherings of like minds are at places with the biggest TV screen, or facebook.

Then again I hope I am wrong.

Helen
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:11 PM   #3
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Intelligent conversation is almost completely dead. We're stuck with people who want to just settle for polite conversation, and then jerks who decide that only members of the opposite political party like keeping things polite and then try to make things as rude as possible.

Edit: And I have met such jerks on both sides of the fence, so don't even think I'm trying to accuse one party or the other.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:23 AM   #4
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For current live examples, how about TED talks and Maker conferences?

I know Google hosts similar meetings on their 'silicon valley' campus, though the meetings may not be open to the public. A friend of mine ran a session on beer brewing for them not too long ago.
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:02 PM   #5
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The existence of such salons was primarily predicated upon the existence of a class of wealthy and leisured people who didn't have to work for a living. Such people are far fewer in number now than they were 100 years ago.
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Old 06-18-2013, 05:29 AM   #6
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I think salons have been replaced by a lot of different institutions. Most professions have some sort of annual convention to discuss matters of concern to that profession. There are lots and lots of book clubs to discuss literature. As mentioned, there are ted talks, and also various annual gatherings to which notable people are invited. And of course there's always something like this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homebrew_Computer_Club
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynx-lynx View Post
For quite a few moons now I've been wondering where all the 'thinkers' and 'creators' salons are.

Wiki defines salon as:

'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" ("aut delectare aut prodesse est"). '

But I'm expanding that definition to include those 'salons' that emerged in Parisian Cafe culture, between the first and second world wars for example, where the likes of Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald and many many other great notables across the cultural diaspora met.

Is the Cafe Les Deux Magots still one of 'the' spots?

If you could be a fly on the wall and observe contemporary critical (and playful) thinking amongst the foremost thinkers across any of the arts you can think of - where would you go?

And who would be these great (although maybe yet to receive the highest levels of acclammation) personages?

Twitter of course. That's the extent of great thinking in our society apparently.

TED has some great and stimulating talks. There are many interesting you-tube pieces as well. PBS - Documentaries (science, history, nature) are interesting to me, but those are all one-way things and discussions on the science forums way too often turn into arguments these days. (I suppose that happened in the Salons and Societies in olden days as well thought) Today it seems the predominant mode...

Last edited by kennyc; 06-18-2013 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:04 AM   #8
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I have friends who are excellent thinkers and we have great conversations nearly every time we meet. Writers like Doug Rice and Colin Raff, novelists like Carl Watson, composers like Gordon Beeferman -- people of that caliber are everywhere if you choose to engage them.

We've written manifestos, cobbled together magazines, parallel-thought pieces of music, collaborated on writing and letterpress anthologies, and remade civilizations glimpsed in the complexities of rising smoke and bubbles.

My grillfiend and her sister are second-gen fine artists and they teach me about art criticism virtually every time we talk about a painting. We have great conversations at home, which is one of the things that attracted me to my bee-troughed: We've never made small talk in seven moo-hanking years.

Secretly, great thinkers are everywhere. The trick is always finding them -- but once you do, your life gets richer.

Last edited by Prestidigitweeze; 06-18-2013 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:11 AM   #9
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TED has some great and stimulating talks
And that's what I'm talking about: The people who give talks are also available to meet elsewhere.

A friend of mine gave one of these TED talks, but you'll never find it on YouTube. To find out more about her theories, you'll have to chat her up after a performance by her band (which has recorded several albums), or at a poetry reading with other writer friends, or catch her style of teaching at NYU (where she's a tenured professor), or go to a Solstice event at the Greek Orthodox Church where she's the Deacon -- do you see what I'm getting at? People like my friend -- people who challenge you to think -- are everywhere if you choose to look.

I believe in supporting dilated thinkers as avidly as specialized artists. One way to do that is to befriend and value them while they're still here with us on Earth.

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Old 06-18-2013, 08:48 PM   #10
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I believe in supporting dilated thinkers as avidly as specialized artists. One way to do that is to befriend and value them while they're still here with us on Earth.
I prefer to throw rocks at them from a distance. Hardship hones the spirit. Teaches forgiveness. Aids theosis. They'll thank me later.
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:11 PM   #11
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I wonder where the most results come from, and in what fields? I think the frontier of enlightenment philosophy is online and the conversations take place in every realm of communication.

the results of great thinkers and geniuses who shoot the shit at night come from lots of fields, and I think the product is greater sophistication. maybe it's been too long since we sat around and honestly discussed government like they did in the early days at Philadelphia. I don't see the product of progress happening there, but it certainly shows up in tech and banking and medicine and biology...

lots of great chat rooms out there.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:14 AM   #12
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I think rich people are still collecting artists and thinkers, at least for the odd dinner party, and us hoi-polloi still aren't invited or informed about it.
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:56 AM   #13
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Where are the great 'thinkers' and 'creators' salons today?
We be here

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Old 06-19-2013, 02:13 AM   #14
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I think rich people are still collecting artists and thinkers, at least for the odd dinner party, and us hoi-polloi still aren't invited or informed about it.
Artists and thinkers who can find rich people to cultivate them are rarer than people claim -- especially now. There's a reason so many of them die poor.

If you're open to talking to people like that, and won't be passive-aggressive or say spiteful things, then I doubt you'd be left out.

You don't often hear from them on internet forums because of the constant barrage of what Roland Barthes called "neither-nor criticism," but places like the Nightmare Network are relatively free of that (since the influences are eclectic but the central genre tends to be dismissed as tasteless -- which is a great mix if you're looking for erudition without close-mindedness).

Facebook can also be an excellent place for discussions. Befriend a few writers whom you might think are out of your league and you'll soon be talking to them about whatever subjects they introduce.

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Old 06-19-2013, 02:22 AM   #15
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