Upcoming Events: Humanities

Wed 4/1

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion: To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and

Humanities West Book Discussion: To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918

Date: Wed, April 01, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Join us to discuss To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918, by Adam Hochschild. It has been a century since the start of the Great War, whose cultural aftermath is still influencing us. Yet it remains relevant to ask if the solutions to the illusions that led to trench warfare are still eluding us a century later. Discussion led by Lynn Harris.

Mon 4/13

Image - Overcoming the Fear of Death

Overcoming the Fear of Death

Date: Mon, April 13, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With Kelvin Chin, consultant and public speaker

Kelvin Chin, Consultant; Public Speaker

Why are we so afraid of death? After all, death is inevitable. But what is death? Is it the end, the beginning or a transition? Kelvin Chin will help people rethink how they respond to the death of a loved one and how they think about their own deaths. His new approach is sensitive, insightful and non-religious.

Image - Evolutionary UpWising

Evolutionary UpWising

Date: Mon, April 13, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Swami Beyondananda

Swami Beyondananda, Humorist; Satirist; FUNdamentalist

Once in many lifetimes there comes a being so enlightened, so evolved and so pure that the whole world is transformed. Unfortunately, Monday Night Philosophy couldn't find anyone like that. But we did find Swami Beyondananda, whose favorite yoga pose is tongue-in-cheek. A spiritual and political pundit (if anyone punned it, Swami probably punned it first), Swami will offer a healthier alternative to a revolutionary uprising to overthrow the system – an evolutionary upwising to overgrow the system. At a time when politics is laughable yet not all that funny, Swami will give you reason to laugh and reason to think. And if you have an answerable question for Swami, Swami will have a questionable answer for you.

Mon 4/27

Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, April 27, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

The Humanities Forum brings Socrates Café to The Commonwealth Club. It will be held once a month on a Monday evening for the discussion of philosophical issues. At each monthly meeting the group's facilitator, John Nyquist, will invite participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic will briefly explain why she or he considers the subject interesting and important. An open discussion will follow, ending with a summary. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Wed 5/6

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Humanities West Book Discussion: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Date: Wed, May 06, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
The classic novel about World War I.

Join us to discuss the classic novel about World War I, All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque. The discussion will be led by Lynn Harris.

Mon 5/11

Image - The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice

The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice

Date: Mon, May 11, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author William Damon

William Damon, Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Education; Co-author, The Power of Ideals: The Real Story of Moral Choice

The Power of Ideals thoroughly examines the full range of available research on moral choice and presents a compelling new theory. It takes into account current scientific claims and explores our undeniable capacity to act on noble ideals, to make principled moral choices, and to live lives of generosity, integrity and genuine human connection.

Wed 6/3

Image - A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light

A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light

Date: Wed, June 03, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With author David Downie

David Downie, Author, A Passion for Paris

Downie seeks to uncover why Paris has reigned as the world's most romantic city for over 150 years. In his combined memoir, history text and travelogue, Downie takes us through Paris' secluded parks, artists' studios, cafés and streets—many unchanged in centuries—while walking hand-in-hand with Victor Hugo, Flaubert, Georges Sand, Baudelaire, Balzac and many others. Downie finds hidden sources of Paris' chic, glamorous allure in its bizarre culture of heroic negativity, and in the carefree atmosphere created by its subversive literature extolling rebellion, mayhem and melancholy.

Mon 6/8

Image - A God That Could Be Real

A God That Could Be Real

Date: Mon, June 08, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
A fresh approach to an ancient topic.

Nancy Ellen Abrams, Author 

Many people find it hard to put their faith in a god that is based upon their own beliefs, without any external evidence. As a philosopher of science, lawyer, atheist, environmental activist and wife of the astrophysicist Joel Primack, Nancy Ellen Abrams was one of them – until she surprised herself by asking the question: "Could anything actually exist in our strange and counterintuitive universe that is worthy of the name God?" Shedding traditional religious conceptions, she builds on the idea of emergence, a powerful new scientific concept that cuts across many fields and hones in on the complex relations inherent in our universe. Come experience a fresh approach to an ancient topic that has intrigued scientists and theologians.

Mon 6/22

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, June 22, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Tue 7/14

Image - San Francisco's Jewel City

San Francisco's Jewel City

Date: Tue, July 14, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Laura Ackley, Architectural Historian; Author, San Francisco's Jewel City

San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition opened its doors to much acclaim a century ago. The fantastic goings-on in each of the 11 neoclassical palaces that transformed the Presidio found their way into many of the pages of the Commonwealth Club’s reports during that summer of 1915. The exposition, which attracted such renowned American figures as Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Edison, served as a poignant symbol for both San Francisco’s resurgence from the catastrophic 1906 earthquake and its irrepressible spirit of innovation that continues through today. Come celebrate this remarkable centennial with Laura Ackley, the author of San Francisco's Jewel City, which details the history of one of the most elaborate fairs ever held in our city.

Mon 7/20

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, July 20, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Wed 8/5

Who's Afraid of Opera? Exploring the Wonderful World of Music’s Grandest Art

Date: Wed, August 05, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With dramaturg with the SF Opera, Clifford Cranna

Clifford Cranna, Dramaturg, San Francisco Opera

It’s glorious. It’s grand. It’s larger than life. It’s opera. San Francisco Opera’s longtime staff member Kip Cranna, a noted Bay Area music-appreciation speaker, offers an insider’s look at the world of opera and a whirlwind tour through opera’s 400-year long history, using video examples (with subtitles) to illustrate the evolution of this multi-faceted, fascinating and continuingly vital art.

Mon 8/10

Image - Pythagoras Thought Music Matters

Pythagoras Thought Music Matters

Date: Mon, August 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author George Hammond

George Hammond, Author, Conversations With Socrates and Rational Idealism

Monday Night Philosophy understands thoroughly that music matters. Pythagoras (whom we all know from basic geometry) thought so, too – he is well known for having uncovered the mathematical ratios underlying musical harmonies. He was so taken with his discovery that he proclaimed "all is number," and that there is a divine harmony, a music of the spheres, caused by the planets racing around a central fire in perfectly circular orbits. This first idea led directly to the development of the lush harmonies that came to define European classical music. The second, while partially obfuscating the realities of our solar system, nevertheless inspired Ptolemy, Copernicus and Newton in their search for the physical truth of our universe. Join us for a conversation of where the excitement with sound all began.

Mon 8/17

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, August 17, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Wed 8/26

Image - Mozart and Masonic Semiotics

Mozart and Masonic Semiotics

Date: Wed, August 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Mozart scholar Steven Machtinger

Steven Machtinger, Attorney; Violist; Independent Mozart Scholar

Steven Machtinger and the London Quintet return to The Commonwealth Club for the Music Matters series, this time exploring how Mozart expressed Masonic attitudes toward death and immortality in the third movement of his G minor String Quintet of 1787.

Mon 9/28

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, September 28, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Mon 10/26

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.
On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Mon 11/16

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, November 16, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Mon 12/21

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, December 21, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.
On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.