"Are the arts habit forming?" At Museum 2.0, Nina Simon asks that question by way of wondering what keeps people going to museums, to concerts, to the theater - and what prompts them to make those activities part of their everyday lives.
At their best, the arts offer a fresh and sometimes challenging take on what's important. At their best, museums bring people into contact with that one idea at a pace suitable to that individual.
For introverts it's an easy sell. We're energized by ideas, not the crowd.
As Nina points out, gyms are very good telling people what they'll get out of the experience - a stronger, toned body and self-confidence.
"What you get out of" the IdeaFestival are fresh ideas from the most eclectic and accomplished group of people you will find in one place. You will hear from people like Philippe Petit, who entranced audience last year with stories from his life.
From Petit, I heard about a life fearlessly led. I heard how he was able to find answers by creatively confronting problems related to his art. I heard that risk can unlock opportunity. I saw what practice and hard work brings. He identified the atomic elements of life - passion, tenacity, intuition, faith and so on. I heard a modern day parable.
True, I won't be walking a high wire any time soon. But I am a father to two, quiet to a fault and perfectly restless inside - introverted, as I said. The IdeaFestival is not just about making random connections, but about personalizing those connections. In an article for Wired some time ago, "Revenge of the Right Brain," Dan Pink wrote that
the curtain is rising on a new era, the Conceptual Age. If the Industrial Age was built on people's backs, and the Information Age on people's left hemispheres, the Conceptual Age is being built on people's right hemispheres. We've progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers to a society of knowledge workers. And now we're progressing yet again - to a society of creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.
Information - and misinformation, sadly - has become a commodity. But to the extent that anyone is willing to take in the whirl of four days at the festivall - and you should, the effect cumulative - what you get is not just more information, but the very real possibility that you'll consider a new personal or professional path, and, in time, experience its commensurate reward. Today, the meaning makers win.
Image: Geoff Oliver Bugbee