The salon culture of the 18th century was unprecedented. It allowed women to participate in intellectual life, and even men, who were educated, but not of the appropriate social class. These became known as blue stocking societies, because the (male) participants could not afford black stockings normally required at high society gatherings.
We live in an age like theirs: Most educated non-elites are locked out of meaningful discussion. For them, there is click-bait.
Welcome to the next manifestation of the blue stocking salon. Guests are invited to relax in our bohemian mattress den. Each week, a new topic is introduced by some expert. After the initial presentation, a general discussion is opened.
The goal is to cultivate fact-based discussions, which might not lead to the same place that state school left you.
Freedom of Speech
2 September, Friday 19:00
Why freedom of speech is not a right, and why no one wanted it anyway.
Conspiracy Theory Theory
12 August 19:00
Contrails (Chem-trails) are taken by many to be evidence that some nefarious parties are releasing nefarious chemicals in the atmosphere for nefarious purposes.
Los Angeles is a sprawling city of nightmarish traffic and dystopian levels of pollution. The conspirators are known to history, but they never became the subjects of a conspiracy theory.
Why do some coincidences become conspiracies, and why do some conspiracies become coincidences?
22 July 19:00
In the 1950, we were promised a future in which automation would free us from the drudgery of repetitive labor. The resulting wealth would bring forth an era in which we were free to read and contribute to the development of civil society.
That automation did occur, but we have less leisure now than people had in the 1950s, not more. What happened? Bullshit jobs. Jobs, which did not exist in the 1950s, were invented to divert us into an alternate future. The wealth from automation instead flowed to the top 1%. Jobs, important to that future, but not to a workable civilization, came to define our existence.
How did this happen? More importantly, why do we accept it? How can we get back on the promised time-line?
Origins of the Enlightenment
We like to think of the Elightenment of the 18th century as a uniquely European phenomenon, perhaps drawing on classical roots. Yet, there is much scholarly research to suggest that it was contact between European settlers and the relatively egalitarian culture of native North Americans that pushed the Enlightenment in the direction we recognize today.
Indians of the Iroqois confederacy had great leisure and better health than European settlers. The agriculture of the Iroquis was conducted harmoniously with the forest that also provided habitat for game animals. While Iroqois women did not participate in the political sphere equally with men, they did have some kind of political power.