By fellow Interintellect Kimberley Le Feuvre
My first Interintellect Salons was honestly an exhilarating experience! I don’t know what I had expected but I suppose something similar to a lecture type session followed by discussion. When I realised it would be more conversation driven I felt nervous and intimidated, but as soon as people started to share their thoughts and ideas I was mesmerised by their candidness and relatable recounts and insights.
The salon was dynamic and stimulating, even 4 hours in and at 1am, I did not want leave and miss a single word! My brain felt like it was on fire and I was completely entranced hearing what people had read and their interpretation of the topic and the reading material. It is not often you find a space where you can sit and talk to 30 strangers and feel safe enough to be vulnerable and share your intimate thoughts whilst also pushing your mind and learning.
The salon I attended was titled How Do You Know? Exploring Our Great Quest for Truth — hosted by a debut Host, fellow Interintellect Taylor Pullinger, a young biologist — which delved into ‘perception, learning and truth, and that great thirst for knowledge that drives humanity’.
It is not often you find a space where you can sit and talk to 30 strangers and feel safe enough to be vulnerable and share your intimate thoughts whilst also pushing your mind and learning.
Doing the readings beforehand I was particularly moved by the late artist Sargy Mann’s article on ‘Perceptual systems, an inexhaustible reservoir of information and the importance of art.’
Recently my sister was diagnosed with Macular Dystrophy a disease which will in time leave her almost blind. Sargy’s recount of his journey as a partially and subsequently entirely blind man exposed me to an entirely new perspective on our senses and how we appreciate them as a tool in understanding and perceiving the world.
Sargy states, “I certainly would never have chosen blindness but the extraordinary paradox is that going blind has taught me to see more and differently, it has taken me somewhere new and exciting, and I have been thrilled to discover that I can make paintings without sight, and that this activity is far more like a continuation of my previous painting experience than I could possibly have imagined.”
My brain felt like it was on fire and I was completely entranced hearing what people had read and their interpretation of the topic and the reading material.
Through our conversation in the Salon this idea was reinforced as each person recounted the ways in which they acquire knowledge and perceive the world. It made me realise that my sister’s condition, although still a significant challenge, should not be a limitation on how she experiences the world and in some ways she may even have unique enlightening experiences as she continues to learn and seek truth with her altering sight.
Finishing the salon, I felt more human and I was so grateful for the experience because it reminded me that conversation and human connection can be so inspiring. Where our lives tend toward routine and mundane thought, spaces like the Interintellect inspire us to explore our minds and each other’s.
It was a privilege to interact with all the wonderful people in my first Salon. This truly is an inspiring group of people and I look forward to many more conversations.
Thank you, Taylor!