The cutting Edge: Are you reading ‘the world’s smartest website’? (The Observer)


We are reading it for The Web’s Impact on our Mind & Future, an Honors colloquium I am teaching this spring, which already has two student posts on the course blog! Please feel free to contribute to the discussion. Our goal is to make it the best possible blog it can be. It will grow quickly, and we hope you will follow us.

In particular, we are perusing its annual question of 2010, ‘How is the Internet changing the way you think?‘ and the responses of 120 leading minds, to generate ideas & concepts for discussion.

For the adventurous among you, you may also want to explore this intuitive mind-map on the topic (and much more) which, by definition, is very much a work in progress.

It is also one of the main inspirations of the Honors Salon. We very much hope that you will join us for our inaugural conversation on Thu, Feb 7, at 7pm. Several students, staff and faculty members have already confirmed their participation. The main idea is to enjoy playing with ideas in an informal and relaxed atmosphere.

This is the Edge‘s motto:

To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.

It is probably the best expression of the ‘third culture’ available on the web today, taking its inspiration from C. P. Snow’s seminal 1959 The Two Cultures.

Here is how John Brockman, the mind behind the Edge, and ‘one of the great intellectual enzymes of our time’ (Stewart Brand), defines it:

The third culture consists of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are.

Are you a ‘third culture intellectual’? If not, what kind of intellectual are you?

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