On Eccentricity
Apr
28
4:00 PM16:00

On Eccentricity

 

“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.” -Bertrand Russell
 

What makes someone eccentric? Are people born eccentric or is it cultivated in their social environment? What is its relationship to intellectualism and the arts? Are true eccentrics aware of their own eccentricity? Does a society loose something important when it stifles idiosyncrasies or are they a threat to stability and social order? What can we learn from those who think and act radically differently from the majority? Do they reveal some greater truths about the world? In this salon we will consider the nature of eccentricity and examine the lives of those who have lived a vicariously eccentric existence, challenging our perspective on a fixed reality and seeing beyond what is to what could be. 

Joining us as speaker is Patric Dickinson, respected genealogist, Clarenceux King of Arms at the College of Arms and Secretary of the Order of the Garter.

Location upon RSVP

RSVP required to justinek@publicspheresalons.com

 

*Please note: this salon may be filmed or photographed. By partaking in the salon you (and your guests if you bring them) are agreeing to the possibility of being filmed or photographed.
Hieronymus Bosch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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The Vulgar and the Grotesque
Jun
16
4:00 PM16:00

The Vulgar and the Grotesque

 

In 1777 Mozart wrote a letter, a paragraph of which said the following: 

Wouldn't you like to visit Herr Gold-smith again?—but what for?—what?—nothing!—just to inquire, I guess, about the Spuni Cuni fait, nothing else, nothing else?—well, well, all right. Long live all those who, who—who—who—how does it go on?—I now wish you a good night, shit in your bed with all your might, sleep with peace on your mind, and try to kiss your own behind; I now go off to never-never land and sleep as much as I can stand. Tomorrow we'll speak freak sensubly with each other. Things I must you tell a lot of, believe it you hardly can, but hear tomorrow it already will you, be well in the meantime. Oh my ass burns like fire! what on earth is the meaning of this!—maybe muck wants to come out? yes, yes, muck, I know you, see you, taste you—and—what's this—is it possible? Ye Gods!—Oh ear of mine, are you deceiving me?—No, it's true—what a long and melancholic sound!—today is the write I fifth this letter. Yesterday I talked with the stern Frau Churfustin, and tomorrow, on the 6th, I will give a performance in her chambers, as the Furstin-Chur said to me herself. Now for something real sensuble!  Read the full letter here

How could such a genius, so sensitive to beauty be capable of writing something so crude? Does his vulgarity diminish from his art? Do we take offense to his words or does his directness appeal to our modern ears? How has unrefined taste influenced culture, fashion, music and the arts historically and how is it influencing our society now? In this salon we will question what makes something vulgar or grotesque. We will interogate everything from the dangers associated with vulgarity to the potentially liberating quality of the profane. In 2017 the Barbican had an exhibition called The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined. Prior to the salon you can view the images in this article for inspiration. 

Location upon RSVP

RSVP required to justinek@publicspheresalons.com

 

*Please note: this salon may be filmed or photographed. By partaking in the salon you (and your guests if you bring them) are agreeing to the possibility of being filmed or photographed.

Image Attribution: Caravaggio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Empathizing with the Enemy
Jul
14
4:00 PM16:00

Empathizing with the Enemy

 

“Remember particularly that you cannot be a judge of anyone. For no one can judge a criminal until he recognizes that he is just such a criminal as the man standing before him, and that he perhaps is more than all men to blame for that crime. When he understands that, he will be able to be a judge. Though that sounds absurd, it is true. If I had been righteous myself, perhaps there would have been no criminal standing before me. If you can take upon yourself the crime of the criminal your heart is judging, take it at once, suffer for him yourself, and let him go without reproach. And even if the law itself makes you his judge, act in the same spirit so far as possible, for he will go away and condemn himself more bitterly than you have done. If, after your kiss, he goes away untouched, mocking at you, do not let that be a stumbling-block to you. It shows his time has not yet come, but it will come in due course. And if it come not, no matter; if not he, then another in his place will understand and suffer, and judge and condemn himself, and the truth will be fulfilled. Believe that, believe it without doubt; for in that lies all the hope and faith of the saints.”- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

In this salon we will consider the importance of understanding those who we have deemed to be the villain or the enemy. We will question why they hold the beliefs that they do or perpetrate actions that we think are wrong or unjust. We will then analyze the set of circumstances that contributed to their worldview and employ our empathy to expand our perception of the world. We will also consider the possibility of our own culpability in contributing to the social ills that we despise and how, by empathizing with others, we may come closer to our own moral betterment. 

R.J Hernández, the New York based writer, who has been likened to Salinger and Fitzgerald, will join us as speaker. He will read excerpts from his new book which deals with this topic. 

 

Location upon RSVP

RSVP required to justinek@publicspheresalons.com

 

*Please note: this salon may be filmed or photographed. By partaking in the salon you (and your guests if you bring them) are agreeing to the possibility of being filmed or photographed.

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On Death
Mar
24
4:00 PM16:00

On Death

 

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” 
― Mark Twain

In this salon we will explore philosophical and psychological questions concerning the nature of death. Among them we will consider if we ever truly die, or if we merely enter a different state of existence, how our mortality impacts the way we live our lives, what it means to die a good death, especially in relation to Socratic philosophy, as well as the benefits or problems associated with positive and negative perceptions of death. We will also explore certain philosophical arguments such as Plato's Cyclical Argument (summarized below.) 

To begin the salon we will stage a mock funeral like they do in South Korea , writing our own eulogies and attending our own funerals as an experiment to unveil our underlying perceptions about life and death. 

Location upon RSVP

RSVP required to justinek@publicspheresalons.com

 

Plato's Cyclical Argument

"Socrates mentions an ancient theory holding that just as the souls of the dead in the underworld come from those living in this world, the living souls come back from those of the dead (70c-d).  He uses this theory as the inspiration for his first argument, which may be reconstructed as follows:

1. All things come to be from their opposite states: for example, something that comes to be “larger” must necessarily have been “smaller” before (70e-71a).

2. Between every pair of opposite states there are two opposite processes: for example, between the pair “smaller” and “larger” there are the processes “increase” and “decrease” (71b).

3. If the two opposite processes did not balance each other out, everything would eventually be in the same state: for example, if increase did not balance out decrease, everything would keep becoming smaller and smaller (72b).

4.  Since “being alive” and “being dead” are opposite states, and “dying” and “coming-to-life” are the two opposite processes between these states, coming-to-life must balance out dying (71c-e).

5. Therefore, everything that dies must come back to life again (72a)."

Excerpt from Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

 

 

 

 

Image Attribution: Andrea Mantegna [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On Eccentricity

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