West Wing Wednesday Night #37 May 32, 2011

 Important postscript from the West Wing

As always a new theme has emerged in the last few days so I will add it for your consideration: spurned on by thinking about the amazing evolution of technology and society, the nagging question is  “Now that we can do anything, what will we do?”. Would love to take the credit for that question, but it’s actually the title of an award winning article by McGill Professor Nancy Adler. And here is a link to another of her articles which will guaranteed make you reconsider “business as usual” http://itol.org/uploads/images/articles/I%20am%20my%20mother%E2%80%99s%20daughter.pdf
This particular month of May has been so full of activities, elections and events, that for us it’s spilling into June! Yes indeed, the only time we can hold the May salon is … on the Wednesday next week, which is technically June 1st, honorarily renamed May 32nd (a valid date within the time zone change we have experienced since January – BST (Baby Standard Time) 😉

After recently attending fabulous gatherings (including of note Sam Sullivan’s Public Salon (finally!!! and it was AMAZING!!!), Leah Costello’s Bon Mot Book Club (EXCEPTIONALLY executed!!!) and Rick Peterson’s Burgundy Luncheon Club (as always snappy and thought provoking!!!), I was reflecting that ingenious ideas almost never spring into people’s minds fully formed – they often result from a discovery process that benefits from friction.

Our honest and interactive (sometimes over-active ; -) discussions at the Wednesday Salons provide the necessary friction, and we are never short of topics to apply it to…. I would be curious to see what our discussion brings out on the issue of the relationship between intelligence and success, and not just as a predictor of achieving success, but also as a factor in prominent failures. In recent years, we have seen massive failures – companies, entire governments, economies, disaster recovery efforts… This month in particular, we have been witnesses to an eclectic assembly of smart people and their downfalls/reversals of fortune:

  • The arrest in New York of one of France’s leading global figures and a possible next president, Dominique Strauss-Kahn
  • The Schwarzenegger Affair
  • the HST non-debate and Gordon Campbell (see an interesting take on the debate – courtesy of Mark M. – who e-mailed the link to me via dial-up in Rwanda!)
  • Michael Ignatieff and the crash of the federal Liberals
  • David Cameron and NHS reform
  • There is even a movie – Stupidity – by Albert Nerenberg – and a book on that topic – Zachary Shore’s Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions.

Closer to Canada, thanks to Diana Nicholson for pointing us in the direction of an interesting warning sounded on the possibility that our country suffers from the Dutch Disease.  For more detailed take on the topic, have a look at the Montreal Wednesday Night Salon site for the write up of this week’s 1525th edition of the salon.

And last but not least, for those of us lovers of art or passionate about hockey playoffs, I will put on the table for discussion the question of sponsorship of the sports and arts, but not as the perennial debate on which one we should fund, as I believe we should fund both. The question I would like your take on is: What should be the ratio between activities we can watch vs. participate in?

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