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Socrates Café
A Fresh Taste of Philosophy
Category: Philosophy
Location: SocratesCafe.com
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I'm the founder of Socrates Cafe -- see SocratesCafe.com -- and a noted author (Socrates Cafe: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy, The...

by Christopher...
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March 28, 2017 06:05 PM PDT

It's time for "all hands on deck" if we're to keep our democracy from sinking. So says Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, the dynamic co-founder of the Moms Rising movement that has galvanized millions into action to build a nation where children, parents, and businesses thrive; and that puts an end once and for all to the endemic discrimination against mothers. Even so, forces are at work that seek to undermine our open society. What specific strategies are available and accessible to us all, so we all can pitch in? How must each of us rise, if we are to prevent our society from falling over a cliff? What must we do on our watch to insure that the generations to come can rise and flourish? Listen in as Kristin shares a world of keen insights. (And kudos to her dog Junie for offering her two barks' worth as well during the podcast, perhaps presaging a Dogs Rising movement smiley

March 26, 2017 11:04 AM PDT

How do we best care for and heal ourselves, so we can better care for and help heal others in our orbit? Sadie Kaufmann, a leading nutritionist and holistic health counsellor, has quite a gripping personal and professional story to tell and a transcendent philosophy to share when it comes to personal health and healing. Listen in to our latest Socrates Cafe podcast. (And feel free to contact Sadie directly at: SadieNutricion@gmail.com )

March 24, 2017 08:57 AM PDT

What kinds of difference should be celebrated? How can you quit looking at others -- who may see the world and approach life and living (and philosophy and politics) in diametrically different ways than you do -- as 'the other.' How can we forge a greater sense of fellow feeling with all our fellow humans, regardless of their dispositions, stances, outlooks? I delve into such questions with highly esteemed and greatly admired kindred spirit Malka Kopell, co-founder of Civity (Civity.org), which is "a culture of deliberately engaging in relationships of respect and empathy with others who are different." Listen in.

March 21, 2017 10:15 AM PDT

How can design thinking help us, at any age and stage of life, to become more of a global citizen? That's the question I explored with Sanjili Gidwaney in this latest Socrates Cafe podcast. Sanjili is the Director of Design for Change USA (designforchange.us), which is part of a groundbreaking global initiative (DFC World) that enables and empowers young people in particular to create social change in their communities by incorporating design-thinking principles. Sanjili, who graduated from Harvard School of Education's graduate program, is part of a global initiative (DFC World). Listen in to how her personal and professional journey has shaped her powerful approach and perspective to becoming a global citizen through design thinking.

March 19, 2017 11:58 AM PDT

O'meun Johnson is one of the most impressive young men I've met in many a moon. When I had the opportunity to participate in a Socrates Cafe with him in Gainesille, Fl, thanks to Adrienne Thieke and the nonprofit Hands-On Gainesville, I was hoping for another chance to have an inquiry with him -- and was thrilled when he accepted my invitation to be a guest on my Socrates Cafe podcast. On the Skype account of O'meun, an 11-grader at Eastside High School, there is this quote attributed to Socrates: "The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new." And so we delved into how to focus on building the new rather than fight the old. Listen in to O'meun's wise insights -- among others, why it's important to connect with nature, and how this helps us be more civil -- and stirring honesty. (My apologies for one recording glitch near the end of the exchange).

March 17, 2017 10:10 AM PDT

How do we make America again? How do we 'make America' -- bring its promise and practice into ever greater alignment -- again and again and again?

Chris explores this question with none other than the renowned Iraq-American artist, activist and entrepreneur Anas (Andy) Shallal, founder of the extraordinary gathering place Busboys and Poets (often frequented by Michelle Obama, among many others, across the political spectrum -- website at BusboysandPoets.com).

Anas, who came to the U.S. as a child and whose father was Ambassador of the Arab League, was inspired to call his restaurant/cafe/performance venues Busboys and Poets by our incomparable poet Langston Hughes. And at a 'Peace Ball,' Anas included in the program this poem -- 'Let America be America Again' -- by Hughes, which goes in part:

We the people must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain —
All, all the stretch of these great green states —
And make America again!

And so, rather than explore the (arguably) empty catchphrase 'Make America great again,' Anas and I instead plumb this far more timely and timeless question: How do we make America again?

Listen in to Anas' stirring insights.

March 14, 2017 08:42 AM PDT

How do we become a genuinely integrated self, so we can flourish in ways that forever push outward the boundaries of who we can? How can we sculpt a self that blends the best of Eastern and Western (and Northern and Southern, for that matter) philosophies and perspectives of self -- of human thoughts, sensations, feelings, the mind/body process -- on individual and grander scales? A self that is forever a work in progress, a sculpture in the making -- that forever pushes upward and outward the concept of what a self can amount to? To be all that you can be, do you need to dispense with the notion of 'I'? Michael Ostrolenk has some fascinating insights borne of a world of unique life experiences. A leading expert in the field of transpartisan public policy, program director and master coach for SEALFIT’s Unbeatable Mind Academy (be sure to check out his website at: Michaeldostrolenk.com ), Michael is sure to get your mind and heart working overtime as you mull over his wise words. Listen in.

March 11, 2017 08:32 AM PST

What does it take to make the most timeless music? What part does human suffering have to play in the creation of such music? What kinds of formative experiences do many of the greatest composers and music makers have in common? What lies at the core, the heart and soul, of our most acclaimed music makers and musicians? Those are the kinds of Socrates Cafe questions I put to celebrated pianist and versatile composer Leonardo Le San, who has performed around the world, and at everywhere in the U.S. from the he White House to the Lincoln Center. Listen in. (And then, or beforehand, be sure to check out some of his soul-stirring music. https://soundcloud.com/leonardolesan

March 09, 2017 07:56 AM PST

If you lived forever, could life be meaningful at all? If you accept the 'finiteness' of life, then what must you do to engage in a fruitful search for meaning? How do we make our life narrative both intelligible and consummately meaningful? The acclaimed novelist, philosopher, poet, humanities professor, and all-around amazing guy Ron Cooper (oh, and great trivia teammate) -- you must read his 'Purple Jesus,' 'Hume's Fork,' 'The Gospel of the Twin', and 'Heidegger & Whitehead: A Phenomenological Examination Into The Intelligibility of Experience' (see his website at roncooper.org) -- weighs in in a most moving, thoughtful and revelatory way. Listen in.

March 03, 2017 01:05 PM PST

[Note: please forgive the pesky recording glitches, especially between minute 1:27 -- 1:35 seconds]

How do we each best go about repairing the world? With so many wonderful causes to support and dedicate ourselves to, where should we put our focus? Venture philanthropist Gary Lauder discusses in this latest Socrates Cafe podcast how and why he focuses on things that few others, or no one else, is paying attention to, but that affect us all; and how this is in considerable measure driven by the Hebrew concept of Tikkun Olam, "repairing the world."

Gary is the Managing Director of Lauder Partners LLC, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm investing primarily in information technologies. He serves on the board of directors of ShotSpotter, the Technology Advisory Board of Liberty Global International, the Advisory Board of Santa Clara University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, the Board of Governors of Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation and on the Transportation Committee of the Town of Atherton. He is the co-creator of the Aspen Institute's Socrates Society with his wife Laura Lauder, and he's a member of the inaugural class of the Aspen Institute's Henry Crown Fellowship Program.

Here are links to Gary's transportation-related wonderful TED talks:


Here are links to other intriguing and informative presentations of Gary's:







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