Last reminder for Wednesday

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out this post for links and background for this Wednesay’s discussion. We will be launching our discussion by exploring a ‘systems approach’ to thinking about society change. Grabbing this preamble (homework!) will probably be helpful.

See you at 7pm at Chaucers (Atrium room) this Wednesday!

You might also want to jump on board with the Facebook event page for this discussion too.

February 10th topic: How do we (actually) make positive changes in society?

Our first gathering of 2016 is only two weeks away!

Here’s the question voted up for discussion:

How do we (actually) make positive changes in society?
(Proposed by James Shelley)

I’d like to have a high level discussion about how society transforms and evolves. To prompt the dialogue, I’d invite everyone to read an essay entitled ‘Leverage Points’ by Donella Meadows. This essay to serve as a lens to provoke/frame our initial thoughts.

If you would rather not read the entire article (about 9,300 words), I recently condensed the main thesis into a 12 minute video presentation as part of another project. (Note: in this video, I am applying Meadow’s theory to poverty reduction specifically. In our discussion on February 10th, I hope our conversation explores how we think about change in other political, social, and environmental arenas as well. In Meadow’s argument, these are all interrelated.)

Of course, the assumption that we can (or should) actually try to change society at all is also up for consideration. Join us on Wednesday, February 10th, at 7pm at Chaucers (Atrium room) for a discussion about the nature of change itself.

Know some other people who might interested in joining this discussion? Invite them to join you on February 10th, and be sure to invite them to sign up for this email list for further updates.

Facebook event details here.

1 month to go!

The first City Symposium of 2016 is just a little over 4 weeks away! Make sure that Wednesday, February 10th at 7pm is marked in your calendar.

If you haven’t done so recently, be sure to visit the ideas page and vote for (and pitch!) ideas that you’d like to prioritize for discussion! (There are 15 days left to select our discussion topic for the February 10th event.)

City Symposium in 2016

Mark your calendars for City Symposium discussions this year:

  • February 10, 2016
  • April 13, 2016
  • June 8, 2016
  • August 10, 2016
  • October 12, 2016
  • December 14, 2016

We will continue meet in the Chaucer’s Atrium room at 7pm on these dates (the second Wednesday of the month, bi-monthly).

Also, be sure to vote for the topic(s) you are interested in discussing in February!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Is it worth living forever? See you on Wednesday to discuss.

Come to the City Symposium this Wednesday at 7pm to explore a very thought provoking question: Is immortality worth pursuing? The discussion will be facilitated by Brian Frank. Here are some perspectives to stir your curiosity.

All are welcome, as always.

Details: December 9th, 7pm, at Chaucer’s Pub (122 Carling Street), in the Atrium room.

Is Immortality Worth Pursuing?

Our upcoming City Symposium discussion idea was proposed by Brian Frank: Is Immortality Worth Pursuing?

There’s growing research into ways to extend the human lifespan to 150 years and even theoretically “forever.” The quest for immortality raises a lot of questions about what that future might look like, how it could be possible (if at all) and, for me, whether it’s even desirable (personally or socially).

Brian recommends checking out the following resources to help frame and contextualize the discussion:

Join us on Wednesday, December 9, at 7pm at Chaucer’s (Atrium room) to discuss. All are welcome.

What would you like to talk about on December 9th?

Our next symposium is on Wednesday, December 9th (7pm at Chaucer’s Pub, Atrium room). You have 25 days to vote for the topic you’d like to discuss — and don’t forget to add new ideas to the mix as well!

Vote now for the topic(s) you want to explore!

At the time of this post, these are the propositions on the table:

Is immortality worth pursuing?
There’s growing research into ways to extend the human lifespan to 150 years and even theoretically “forever.” Some background here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/04/04/tech-titans-latest-project-defy-death/ The quest for immortality raises a lot of questions about what that future might look like, how it could be possible (if at all) and, for me, whether it’s even desirable (personally or socially). This discussion would be quite interactive and exploratory, with many perspectives encouraged.

How can we (actually) make positive changes in society?
I’d like to have a high level discussion about how society transforms and evolves. To prompt the dialogue, I’d invite everyone to read an essay entitled ‘Leverage Points’ by Donella Meadows. This essay to serve as a lens to provoke/frame our initial thoughts. http://www.donellameadows.org/archives/leverage-points-places-to-intervene-in-a-system

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD): Disorder or Superpower?
As someone who was diagnosed with ADD and took medication for many years, I’m fascinated by the tension between how ADD is perceived in our society, and how we deal with that perception. Now in my life, I see it as a super power, my greatest gift, years before this, I thought it was my greatest curse. I want to explore this tension, and how it plays out in our society.

Mental Illness: is it a Gift or a Curse?
Coming from a family with both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and a sufferer of GAD I have seen the wonders of mental illness but also the suffering. If we could eliminate Mental illness totally, would our world be a better place?

Can we understand the present without understanding the past?
I have finished a rough draft of a book about the role that ancient literature plays in contemporary society. My thesis is straightforward: I propose that the writings of the past teach us things about ourselves today that we can learn in no other way. I’d (greedily) like to take advantage of this room full of smart people to pitch my main arguments and get your critiques and input.

Vote now for the topic(s) you want to explore!

The End of Homelessness? October 14th City Symposium.

The topic for our next meeting has been decided. This month we will be discussing a proposal presented by Abe OudshoornEnding Homelessness is Achievable in Canada. Here’s a quick synopsis:

It is often assumed that homelessness is a natural consequence of large urban areas in developed nations. However, I would propose that we can actually eliminate homelessness, reaching a point where every Canadian has a home.

Join us at 7pm in the Chaucer’s Pub ‘Atrium’ on Wednesday, October 14th to discuss.