Why do civilizations rise and fall?
What are the origins and purpose of art?
How does technology shape society?
Did culture direct human evolution?
Is the Internet an agent of democracy or dictatorships?
An immensely powerful but little-understood force that impacts society, art, politics, and even human biological development, culture is the very stage on which human experience plays out. But what is it, exactly? What are its rules and origins? In this fascinating volume, John Brockman, editor and publisher of Edge, presents short, accessible explorations of culture’s essential aspects, by today’s most influential scientists and thinkers.
Contributors and topics include
Jared Diamond on why societies collapse and how we can make better decisions to protect our own future • Denis Dutton on the origins of art Daniel C. Dennett on the evolution of cultures • Jaron Lanier on the ominous impact of the Internet • Nicholas Christakis on the structure and rules of social networks, both “real” and online • Clay Shirky and Evgeny Morozov on the new political reality of the digital era • Brian Eno on what cultures value Stewart Brand on the responsibilities of human power • Douglas Rushkoff on the next Renaissance • W. Daniel Hillis on the Net as a global “knowledge web”
The publisher of the influential online science salon Edge.org, John Brockman is the editor of Thinking, This Explains Everything, This Will Make You Smarter, and other volumes. He founded the literary agency Brockman Inc., and lives in New York City.