Many of you have heard me mention the website Edge.org a few times. I think that just about every person who is interested in intellectual pursuits should read this site regularly. As they write on their about page, “The mandate of Edge Foundation is to promote inquiry into and discussion of intellectual, philosophical, artistic, and literary issues, as well as to work for the intellectual and social achievement of society.”
Edge was founded and is edited by one John Brockman. Brockman has coined the phrase “The Third Culture” to describe a fundamental shift in the what kinds of people that make up the intellectual elite. In his own words, “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.” Contributors to the site include Richard Dawkins, Danial Dennett, Jaron Lanier, Ray Kurzweil, Michael Schermer, Steven Pinker, and many other scientists, philosophers, writers, engineers, artists, and thinkers.
Since we so highly value rationality and the scientific method, this website can serve as a valuable source of information and discussion. It will also serve as the starting point for many of my posts. As such, I will have a permanent link to Edge both on my home page and on the left side of this blog under multiple categories. Once again, I highly recommend it.
A great place to get started is on Edge’s World Question Center. Each year, Edge asks the Third Culture to respond to one question. The results are often surprising and almost always thought provoking. I am currently reading the responses to the 2007 World Question, “What are you optimistic about? Why?” You can also find the responses to the last questions from the past 10 years. Edited versions of the 2005 and 2006 are available in paperback. In fact, it was finding the 2005 book while wandering about a bookstore that lead me to discover Edge.