Wisdom of Crowds
Wisdom of Crowds
What's the Meaning of Meaning?

What's the Meaning of Meaning?

To find out, Sam and Shadi take a trip to Iowa.
Siesta of the Frontier Guards by the Beach

We’re living in the most prosperous time in human history with more material abundance and comfort — and yet something just feels… off. This week,

and take a trip to the heartland to find out what that something is.

In this special live recording from the Lyceum Movement’s Tallgrass Ideas Festival in Iowa, Shadi and Sam join political theorist Susan Laehn to grapple with whether a sense of meaning precedes or succeeds happiness. With the live audience jumping in with comments and questions, the three delve into the balance between personal desires and finding collective meaning in a society. Then there is the question of whether freedom, to be truly “free,” requires constraint. On this there may be some differences.

In the full episode (for paying subscribers only), Shadi, Sam, and Susan take on the increasingly challenging question of how to balance individuality and community. There are dangers of going too far in the latter direction. As one audience member challenges the panel, many have fled societies because there was too much communal feeling. And then the Crowd finishes with a conversation about the role of love. It might sound corny, but trust us—it’s not. How can there be meaning without love? And is it possible to have a deeper love—with the unconditional forgiveness that that sometimes calls for without God.

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Appears in episode
Samuel Kimbriel
Shadi Hamid