2016 TMT Institute: Stephen Cedars

Cedar Institute Blog Photo Revised

The week with the TMT fellows and staff was everything I expected – enlightening, inspiring, thought-provoking, and in turns both goofy and brilliant (though those might be the same thing!) Even more amazing, it was an experience that continues to inform my thinking and work nearly a month later.

My experiment was exploring the intersection between intellectual conversation and bizarre theatricality, but the day felt as much about traversing the heat dome and navigating the tourists and suits of downtown Manhattan as it did about the experiment. As conditions and circumstances shifted (as they do), the experiment became less about the materials I’d prepared and more about how a community of people with open hearts and curious minds is always engaging, fascinating, and kind of just weird. I found myself thinking not about what I was exploring, and instead appreciating the rarity of having such a group of unique people committed to just being present with each other.  As we investigated the questions I’d roughly set up – about the necessity of war, the inevitability of intolerance, the value of hero worship, and probably one or two more escaping me at the moment – I discovered less about those topics and more about these people.  There must be something theatrically gripping in that, I think?  Luckily, there’s time left to find out.

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