Bookends in Boston
Thursday, November 1, 2012
A long hiatus while I was traveling in Mongolia – more on that in the next post, coming soon. For now, I want to talk about the bookends to my week in Boston.
Last Saturday, I attended the Boston Book Festival. Unlike past years, when I concentrated on literary discussions, this year I attended panels where the participants talked about the economy, research on the brain and women’s issues. This gave me the chance to hear really smart people, dedicated to their fields, talk about things that are important to all of us. Some were luminaries such as Michael Porter from Harvard Business School, Anita Hill from Brandeis and Ray Kurzweil, the brilliant futurist and inventor associated with too many ventures to name; others were equally brilliant but not yet household names, though many of them will be soon. I felt enlightened by what I heard during the day, even if not entirely upbeat, particularly when I contemplated Porter’s comments on the structural deficiencies in the American economy.
This coming Saturday features the Mass Humanities symposium. Here’s the link: http://masshumanities.org/mhsymposium. Again, it will be a day of smart people talking about another important thing – how economic inequality affects our democracy. And on Saturday night, I’ll be attending the Mass Humanities dinner where Anita Hill will be speaking. http://masshumanities.org/mhsymposium/support.
I think of the Boston Book Festival and the Mass Humanities symposium and dinner as bookends to my week in Boston, bracketing the hurricane and Halloween trick-or-treating. Because Hurricane Sandy went easy on the city of Boston, I’m lucky enough to be able to attend both, without losing power, and feeling empowered by the strength of ideas.