This is the premiere food symposium in the world. To quote you guys: 'Intended to invoke a sense of courage and urgency...Enabling this year's symposium to become a venue where we can reflect on the stories and ideas that no one usually gets the opportunity to tell.' So I stand here with the guts to ask you, please, let's do something. Let's do something and feed those that we're not reaching collectively.
The Earth Turned to Bring us Closer by: Eugenio Montejo The earth turned to bring us closer it turned on itself and within us until it finally brought us together in this dream as written in the Symposium. Nights passed by, snowfalls and solstices time passed in minutes and millennia. An ox cart that was on its way to Nineveh arrived in Nebraska. A rooster was singing some distance from the world, in one of the thousand pre-lives of our fathers. The earth was spinning with its music carrying us on board; it didn't stop turning a single moment as if so much love, so much that is beautiful was only an adagio written long ago in the Symposium's score.
In 1951 Dec 20th, Nehru, while campaigning for the first democratic elections in India, took a short break to address a UNESCO symposium in Delhi. Although he believed democracy was the best form of governance, while speaking at the symposium he wondered loud... the quality of men who are selected by these modern democratic methods of adult franchise gradually deteriorates because of lack of thinking and the noise of propaganda... He[the voter] reacts to sound and to the din, he reacts to repetition and he produces either a dictator or a dumb politician who is insensitive. Such a politician can stand all the din in the world and still remain standing on his two feet and, therefore, he gets selected in the end because the others have collapsed because of the din. -Quoted from India After Gandhi, page 157.
Do you know, when I am with you I am not afraid at all. It is a magic altogether curious that happens inside the heart. I wish I could take it with me when I leave. It is sad, my Grey. We are constrained by the rules of this Game we play. There is not one little place under those rules for me to be with you happily. Or apart happily, which is what makes it so unfair. I have discovered a curious fact about myself. An hour ago I was sure you were dead, and it hurt very much. Now you are alive, and it is only that I must leave you, and I find that even more painful. That is not at all logical. Do you know the Symposium, Grey? The Symposium of Plato. [He] says that lovers are like two parts of an egg that fit together perfectly. Each half is made for the other, the single match to it. We are incomplete alone. Together, we are whole. All men are seeking that other half of themselves. Do you remember? I think you are the other half of me. It was a great mix-up in heaven. A scandal. For you there was meant to be a pretty English schoolgirl in the city of Bath and for me some fine Italian pastry cook in Palermo. But the cradles were switched somehow, and it all ended up like this... of an impossibility beyond words. I wish I had never met you. And in all my life I will not forget lying beside you, body to body, and wanting you.
One can say, looking at the papers in this symposium, that the elucidation of the genetic code is indeed a great achievement. It is, in a sense, the key to molecular biology because it shows how the great polymer languages, the nucleic acid language and the protein language, are linked together.
I hadn't been there [Comic-Con] before. It's pretty eye-opening, when you haven't been there, just with the sheer amount of fans that are there for different shows and films. It's like a big fan symposium, in a way, as well a way for film studios and television studios to really promote their product to their loyal audience base. It was an experience.
What is truth?' said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer. Pilate was in advance of his time. For 'truth' itself is an abstract noun, a camel, that is, of a logical construction, which cannot get past the eye even of a grammarian. We approach it cap and categories in hand: we ask ourselves whether Truth is a substanceor a qualityor a relation.... But philosophers should take something more nearly their own size to strain at. What needs discussing rather is the use, or certain uses, of the word 'true.' In vino, possibly, 'veritas,' but in a sober symposium 'verum.
J. L. Austin
It's rather the possibility of friendship, unencumbered by feelings of attraction or shyness; the possibility of working on the same wavelength, as it were, with someone who understands you because he's a boy as you are, or a girl as you are. Committee work stifles the imagination, because people have to work down to the common denominator of what would be minimally acceptable to everyone. But friendship exalts the imagination. Indeed it is one of the things that the ancients said friendship was for. Plato suggests in Symposium that one of the highest forms of friendship is one whose love issues forth in beautiful and virtuous deeds, for thus "the partnership between [the friends] will be far closer and the bond of affection far stronger than between ordinary parents, because the children that they share surpass human children by being immortal as well as more beautiful.
But recently I have learned from discussions with a variety of scientists and other non-philosophers (e.g., the scientists participating with me in the Sean Carroll workshop on the future of naturalism) that they lean the other way: free will, in their view, is obviously incompatible with naturalism, with determinism, and very likely incoherent against any background, so they cheerfully insist that of course they don't have free will, couldn't have free will, but so what? It has nothing to do with morality or the meaning of life. Their advice to me at the symposium was simple: recast my pressing question as whether naturalism (materialism, determinism, science...) has any implications for what we may call moral competence. For instance, does neuroscience show that we cannot be responsible for our choices, cannot justifiably be praised or blamed, rewarded or punished? Abandon the term 'free will' to the libertarians and other incompatibilists, who can pursue their fantasies untroubled. Note that this is not a dismissal of the important issues; it's a proposal about which camp gets to use, and define, the term. I am beginning to appreciate the benefits of discarding the term 'free will' altogether, but that course too involves a lot of heavy lifting, if one is to avoid being misunderstood.
Daniel C. Dennett
Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament-the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana-is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea. The same applies to the seder at Passover, which is obviously modeled on the Platonic symposium: questions are asked (especially of the young) while wine is circulated. No better form of sodality has ever been devised: at Oxford one was positively expected to take wine during tutorials. The tongue must be untied. It's not a coincidence that Omar Khayyam, rebuking and ridiculing the stone-faced Iranian mullahs of his time, pointed to the value of the grape as a mockery of their joyless and sterile regime. Visiting today's Iran, I was delighted to find that citizens made a point of defying the clerical ban on booze, keeping it in their homes for visitors even if they didn't particularly take to it themselves, and bootlegging it with great brio and ingenuity. These small revolutions affirm the human.
During the youthful period of mankind's spiritual evolution human fantasy created gods in man's own image, who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to influence, the phenomenal world. Man sought to alter the disposition of these gods in his own favor by means of magic and prayer. The idea of God in the religions taught at present is a sublimation of that old concept of the gods. Its anthropomorphic character is shown, for instance, by the fact that men appeal to the Divine Being in prayers and plead for the fulfillment of their wishes. Nobody, certainly, will deny that the idea of the existence of an omnipotent, just, and omnibeneficent personal God is able to accord man solace, help, and guidance; also, by virtue of its simplicity it is accessible to the most undeveloped mind. But, on the other hand, there are decisive weaknesses attached to this idea in itself, which have been painfully felt since the beginning of history. That is, if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him? (Albert Einstein, Science, Philosophy, and Religion, A 1934 Symposium published by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., New York, 1941; from Einstein's Out of My Later Years, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1970, pp. 26-27.)