Playlist: The Black Keys – El Camino, Attack & Release, Brothers; The Head and the Heart
Sam Harris and me!
“The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.”
-Frank Herbert (1920-1986)
FOR THOSE OF YOU whose thirst for knowledge is not quite satisfied with the classes you’re already enrolled in, allow me to introduce to you some more opportunities to learn (right here at UBC!).
Last week, I attended my first UBC Philosophy Students’ Association meeting. While I am not an intended philosophy major (and neither were the majority of the other students at the meeting), I very much enjoy reading about and discussing various philosophical topics (ie. epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, free will, existentialism, etc.). We talked about chapter two of Daniel C. Dennett’s book, Freedom Evolves, last meeting – which was really interesting, despite not having had the chance to read the chapter prior to the meeting.
If you’re interested at all in philosophy, drop in on a meeting! Upcoming ones include:
-Tues. 10/30 from 5-7pm in the Henry Angus building (AKA Sauder School of Business), room 235
-Thurs. 11/01 from 4-7pm in Buchanan D229
You can join their mailing list here and be up-to-date on when & where the meetings will take place.
This past Friday night – the weekend before Halloween, while many of my floor mates were getting ready to go to a frat party – I headed to Irving K. Barber to attend a lecture on the psychology of good and evil by Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani (who is actually a prof. at UBC!). A few of the beautiful things about this lecture were that:
1. The lecture was totally optional, so the people who were there wanted to be there. This made for a more interested and engaged audience – which worked out super well because Dr. Jhangiani created a very comfortable environment free of time constraints and embracing of question-asking and answering throughout the lecture (as well as during a designated Q&A period at the end).
2. I am a total BRAIN DORK who basically oozes with excitement over psych. lectures – especially those that overlap with elements of philosophy (in this case morality). I took extensive notes, of course. (:
3. The event was put on by the Vancouver Centre for Inquiry (CFI), which hosts lectures like this one every month!! “Like” their facebook page and stay updated.
4. It was by donation!! So I contributed $2 – the equivalent of a cup of tea at Blenz – to participate in this extraordinary event!
Just yesterday, I had planned on going to another lecture I’d reserved a seat for online. I went to work out at the Birdcoop (our on-campus gym, for those of you who are not familiar with it) and finished with just enough time to arrive at Sauder and step into the elevator just as the door began to close. Once I did, I turned around and realized that Sam Harris — the person giving the lecture – was standing right beside me! I introduced myself to him and the woman I believed to be his publicist and expressed to them both my excitement to attend his talk. This guy has given a legit TED talk before, so he must be good – right?
Anyway, I walked to the main entrance of the lecture hall as Mr. Harris and his publicist (?) walked through a separate entrance – only to find that my seat had been given up since I’d arrived later than five minutes prior to the start of the lecture. Not only that, but a manager of the event had decided to cap off the attendance and wouldn’t let me, or the other elevator passengers, in.
What was I to do?!! I thought quickly and told someone I’d met on the elevator to come with me…[I had an idea]. We went down the hallway that Mr. Harris and his publicist (?) had gone down – and we saw her! I told her the situation we were in and she helped us sneak into the auditorium!! The lecture was incredibly interesting, and I was SO glad I’d had the opportunity to go! Needless to say, I took plenty of notes. (:
Afterward, I ran into them again and was able to snap a photo with Sam Harris! (See photo above). And later I e-mailed back and forth with him regarding an analogy I’d made for something he’d brought up in the lecture – it was SO COOL.
Oh! As for the content of the lecture, Harris is a neuroscientist, modern philosopher and author who talked about his belief that free will is merely an illusion. Interesting, huh??
Alsoooo….It was FREE. And he supposedly normally charges hundreds of dollars per ticket to attend his lectures!
THOSE ARE JUST a few examples of the thought-provoking events I attended and participated in – in the past WEEK. If you have a passion or topic you’d like to delve further into, check to see if there is a club or upcoming lecture at UBC that covers or relates to it! If not, start your own club or find a way to organize an event. It’s possible! This is an institution of higher learning, after all.