For many years now, Jeffrey Epstein has been an active and supportive member of a very fascinating group, called Edge Foundation: Third Culture, which was put together by his friend publisher John Brockman. Brockman founded it in 1988 as an intimate, and by-invite only party, of some of the most interesting and cutting minds in the world of thought. Many of the Edge Foundation’s members are friends of Jeffrey Epstein, and he has preferred to support the work of number of Edge members through the Jeffrey Epstein Foundation.
Brockman was influenced by C.P. Snow’s classic work, The Two Cultures, first published in 1959, which investigated the communications gap between literary “intellectuals” and scientific “intellectuals.” Snow tagged these the Two Cultures. Later on, Snow, elaborated how much was dropped because of the effect of essentially two “different vocabularies,” which made it efficiently difficult to connect. The scientists were not communicating effectively to the artists and the artists were not communicating effectively to the scientists. There was little in the way of understanding or perception among them. Even with art, the scientists looking for common ground, in say an artist such as M.C Escher, whose mathematical symmetries were beautiful to them, were ignored by the artists, who were content with the “emotive” power of a painting expressed through light, tone, and color, as well as technique. It all boils down to one party, the scientists, while looking at a modern art abstraction and thought “I do not get it” to one more party, the artists, declaring “I do not understand it.”. As Jeffrey Epstein said, this looks like the story I read about physicist Richard Feynman who agreed to trade lessons in physics for lessons in art with his friend, the artist, Jyair Zorthian. Although Feynman turned out to be a very good draftsman, his friend Zorthian was still not able to see the beauty of physics even when Feynman tried to illustrate electromagnetism using a coiled magnet. In that scenario, a disaster took place since the Two Cultures clashed despited Fynman’s reputation as an outstanding physics teacher.
This gap is still existing up to this day. Snow included a new essay in “The Two Cultures: A Second Look” in 1963,which indicates that the human race will benefit greatly if this gap between two cultures is closed and this will not only improve the Two Cultures, but whole world as well. Snow coined this group the Third Culture. It is in this vein, Brockman has assembled a first class collection of minds from the disparate areas of hard-core science, philosophy, high-tech, and social enterprise, to supply a forum for eclectic and robust thinkers to discuss ideas that are bold, controversial, and cutting edge, and allow the public audience to have access to some of the deepest thoughts at the level of an intelligent reader, empty of technical language.
As the author, Brockman acts like a glue to these individuals by organizing events that enable them to share their candid thoughts and opinions on the various queries thrown at them, their answers to these questions are then compiled in a collection of Edge essays.
Every year, Brockman issues a new query, and it is dutifully answered by many affiliates of the Third Culture. Some of the questions can be serious and deep, others philosophical, and others, quite mundane. Nonetheless, given the people answering, there are always surprises, as able thoughts make the most of what’s there. It is the imagination at play that’s so much fun to watch.
The answers to his queries can be glib, sarcastic, and idiotic, but the content is rich enough to activate one’s mind. When requested his recommendation of a good place to start, Jeffrey Epstein stated “If one were to search for richness and creativity of thought among some of the world’s elite, Brockman’s yearly question is my suggestion of a good place to start.”