Over this New Year’s I was very grateful to attend a conference with 1200 though leaders called the “Renaissance Weekend”
I was so impressed by the caliber of attendees. The Renaissance comes from “renaissance person” not from the flagons of hearty mead and knaves cavorting with wenches. Some of the highlights for me?
- I had drinks with the man and women who spent two years in the Biosphere and are planning to take people into low earth orbit in special balloons.
- I ate shrimp grits and danced to bluegrass music with a children’s book author and director of the Flying Doctors, a former advisor to the Vice President, and a social innovation fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation.
- I got to ask an astrophysicist over dinner about whether time was real and whether consciousness was a physical property.
- I found myself on a panel about sex with Dr. Ruth Westheimer. I commented on the challenge of American women maintaining bedroom fireworks with their domesticated modern men and yet fantasizing about the “50 Shades of Grey” caveman.
- I enjoyed the talk by a Yale professor who explained the nature of pleasure and then fielded a difficult existential question by yours truly with the skill of a Federer cross-court winner.
- Loved the stand-up comedy and satirical songs of the über-talented attendees
- Singing patriotic, holiday, and Broadway songs after the toll of midnight with a couple hundred happy folks.
What moved me most was the inter-generational aspect to the event. You know even before you say hello that the 70-year-old to your left or the 17-year-old to your right will relate to you with the same passion, enthusiasm, and authenticity.
So if you ever get an invitation to attend, you owe it to yourself to go at least once. Still don’t know who invited me but if was you, then thanks! I just signed up for my third consecutive weekend this President’s Day in Laguna Beach, CA.