Sunday, March 05, 2006



We charge the speakers to represent an idea of reality by describing their creative work, their lives, and the questions they are asking themselves. We also want them to share with us the boundaries of their knowledge and experience and to respond to the challenges, comments, criticisms, and insights of the members. The Reality Club is a point of view, not just a group of people. Reality is an agreement. The constant shifting of metaphors, the intensity with which we advance our ideas to each other — this is what intellectuals do. The Reality Club draws attention to the larger context of intellectual life.

Speakers seldom get away with loose claims. Maybe a challenging question will come from a member who knows an alternative theory that really threatens what the speaker had to say. Or a member might come up with a great idea, totally out of left field, that only someone outside the speaker's field could come up with. This creates a very interesting dynamic.

(The more than one hundred and fifty individuals who have made presentations at Reality Club meetings and the more recent EDGE Seminars include a wide range of people in the arts and sciences: actor Ellen Burstyn; philosopher Daniel C. Dennett; scientists Richard Dawkins, Freeman Dyson, Niles Eldredge, Murray Gell-Mann, Stephen Jay Gould, Stewart Kauffman, Benoit Mandelbrot, Lynn Margulis, and George Williams; psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Howard Gardner, Steven Pinker, and Roger Schank; artists Gretchen Bender, Peter Halley, April Gornick, and Gary Stephan; poets Michael McClure, Paul Mariani, and Gerd Stern; religious scholars Richard Baker-roshi, Elaine Pagels, and Robert Thurman; editor Steven Levy; social commentators Betty Friedan, Paul Krassner, Naomi Wolf, and the late Abbie Hoffman; writers Annie Dillard, Ken Kesey, Steven Levy, and Mark Mirsky.)

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