EPICURUS CAFÉ: A CULTUREPLACES SALON
Rather than try to tackle complex national and international issues and institutions that affect the entire U.S. , we concentrate on place based trends and academic research that more directly reflect our everyday experiences in our own neighborhoods, workplaces, and other closer connections.
That said, however, certain patterns of behavior associated with racial, gender, and employment relations, for instance, which have various impacts affecting human activity around the world including strong influence over our own daily lives. These human tendencies, we believe, can best be examined as they are manifested in particular contexts which we call CulturePlaces.
By culture we mean the normative order, grounded and manifested in specific places, explained by the behavioral sciences, and illuminated and animated by the arts and humanities, which allows us to comprehend ourselves, others, and the world around us, and through which we make sense of our experience. We probe the Human Condition with an emphasis on societal trends and artistic expressions that we experience in our own lives and provide texture and insight leading to pleasure. In short, culture is shared meaning.
Rafting the Cultural Currents of the New Millennium
A pop-up Epicurus Café at the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, Half Moon Bay
Clearly, one’s genes as well as class, gender, age, race, sexual orientation and the numerous other distinctions that seem so wrapped up in our identity these days, lead to our personal points of view. The CulturePlaces Salon provides more opportunities to compare these views on the ramifications of the changing social landscape constrained or enhanced by our biological influences. (Nurture/nature)
We have found that understanding the implications of our experiences emerges best through discourse, not absorbing more information. All that is required is a curious and probing mind and the capacity for dialogue (attributes that are too often missing in conversations around the water cooler or at the dinner table). And while we may wrestle with weighty matters that can ignite strong emotions, we want to be able to treat them playfully and with a disinterested passion for clarity that avoids partisanship, ad hominem arguments, grandstanding, or ax grinding. Such a mental exercise results in pleasure and reduces the pain of confusion and discord that too many conversations can devolve into.
The Threat and Promise of Diversity
Diversity has become the holy grail of our times. but we consider that diverse groups can either add to or reduce the enjoyment of our get-togethers. Clearly political differences have grown more acrimonious making good conversation ever more elusive.
Ethnic and Social Heterogeneity
This controversial finding is difficult to interpret. After all, the bridging between groups that eventually reduces long-term conflict cannot easily occur if we lack empathy. What really needs to be established is what factors facilitate the growth of social capital in contexts where the starting point is characterized by strong ethnic and social fissures but which hold out the possibility of an enriched community. In other words, how do we go beyond the alienation that led to "Trumpism".
An Example of one salon
Throughout human history, people have tended to live and die in the same place, or at least the same region, in which they're born. Place is an important part of one's identity.
Recently, we joined Philosophy Talk's John and Ken in Berkeley whose guest was India born UC Berkeley English Professor Bharati Mukherjee, author of Miss New India and other novels exploring migration, alienation, and identity. Afterwards, we walked over to the Jupiter restaurant for THE MAIN EVENT--our discussion--accompanied by pizza (voted best in the East Bay) and some brewskis. We broke into smaller groups so all could participate and hear each other. The ethnic and racial diversity were both irrelevant and advantageous for enhancing our discussion because of a diversity of experience. Miss New India (2011), in which Anjali leaves her traditional family in Bihar and moves to Bangalore. A woman determinedly pursuing personal happiness is a revolutionary – a threatening concept for her traditional parents.”