Salon Culture: Network of Ideas

Andrian Kreye, Edge, Oct 03, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The first three quarters of this article offer an interesting outline of the history of salon culture, that is, the fomenting of ideas through the social gatherings of thinkers and intellectuals. The last quarter devolves into dreck promoting things like TED. Leaving aside the (paid?) placement, however, the article is worth a look. And leave aside the idea that salons are reserved for intellectuals. One of the great things the coffee-house culture did was to (to a degree) democratize the salon. In Canada, every city has dozens of Tim Hortons Coffee outlets where, arguably, our real society is forged. The internet democratizes the salon even more. TED and similar congresses are attempts to countervail that, returning to the idea of salon culture as reserved for the elites. For that reason, they should be resisted.

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