Wiser Together: Partnering Across Generations

By Juanita Brown and Ashley Cooper
Tucked away in the small Appalachian community of Burnsville, North Carolina, is a family farm and a place of meeting that has recently become the new home base for Juanita Brown and David Isaacs, Co-Founders of the World Café. Together with Ashley Cooper, a young educator, community organizer, and Executive Director of TEDxNextGenerationAsheville, they are collaborating with Juanita’s 90-year-old mother and younger members from the nearby community to deepen the legacy of the farm for future generations. In these “notes from the field,” Ashley and Juanita tell a story that was also featured in the Innovation Marketplace at the …   Read more

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System Failure, System Reboot

By Edd Conboy Systems thinking has become one important way of making sense of experience in all its complexity. So much so that we sometimes forget that a “system” is a construct, and not some sort of independent “fact out there” sculpting and defining those experiences. Thinking in terms of systems does have the advantage of highlighting the interrelationships of the component parts allowing us to see just how much and how often the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This thinking can break down at times. Most notably this can occur when systems thinking is applied …   Read more

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Endings and Beginnings


By Chris Phillips
“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” —T. S. Eliot

The very first Socrates Café dialogue I held at Collage II coffee house in 1996 in Montclair, New Jersey, was on the question, “What are beginnings?” Part and parcel of the exploration of that question was an examination of questions like, “Is a beginning the same as a first? Does every beginning have an ending?” The Socrates Café group in Montclair has not had an ending; …   Read more

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A Fundamental Review of Fundamentalism

By Pia InfanteAndrew Himes recently published a fascinating look at his family’s history and relationship with religious fundamentalism called Sword of the Lord. With the notion of fundamentalism, in recent years, being associated primarily with terrorism or irrationality, this complex and nuanced dialectic about it, from the perspective of a son and grandson of fundamentalist preachers, offers a fresh look at what seems to be a very old story.This book is at the top of my summer reading list, and while still in the first chapters, it is proving to be an engaging read. I visited the website recently and found an …   Read more

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Empires of Illusion

By Les Adler

A quirky, but striking piece of public art, leavened with a twist of Central European humor, marks a downtown street corner in the Slovakian capital city of Bratislava. One comes across it suddenly: a life-sized bronze figure in a hard hat or helmet, head resting on hands, partly emerged from a man-hole in the middle of the sidewalk. Is it a peeper peeking under women’s skirts? Is it a political satire on working life in this former Communist land, reflecting the old bargain that “we’ll pretend to work and you’ll pretend to pay us”? Is it a …   Read more

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