August Turak

Author Consultant Speaker

The Perfect Weekend


I just finished up an incredible weekend with Steve Shriver and Ray Sosko-- two old friends from grade school. It was also Ray and Steve who, when we were just twenty, accompanied me to that momentous lecture by that hill billy Zen Master who radically upended my life.

What made our reunion so special is that it was almost utterly free of the bane of my existence: CHIT CHAT. Hour after hour and with not a hint of boredom or fatigue our conversation effortlessly flowed. Politics, philosophy, science, Roman history, technology, mysticism, poetry, sexuality, art, psychedelics, parenting, mythology, economics, leadership,demographics, the meaning of life, the Three Stooges or the genius of Fire Sign Theater it didn't matter: We covered 'em all and a couple dozen more!
selfiesmallBest of all I found that the opinions of my old friends on all these subjects were well thought out and deeply informed by tons of reading, deep thinking and hands on experience. For example at one point Ray was giving us a short course in the technology of 3D printing in reference to the future of virtual reality; which in turn was in reference to the Turing Test; which in turn was in reference to whether robots would ever be capable of sentient consciousness, when Steve brought up the book Guns, Germs and Steel. To my utter astonishment it turned out that not only had we all heard of the book and its thesis but had all read it as well!!!

Disagreements were sharp, many and passionately expressed, but not once did we cross that invisible line into rancor. Instead, just like in the "old days," we often found ourselves laughing uncontrollably instead. On Friday night we went to see Michael Keaton in Birdman which inspired more great insights and debate.

By the second day things got quite out of hand. Every once in a while we would stop talking just long enough to hug and remind each other that we were having such an incredibly good time.

Before we adjourned Steve suggested we reconvene on a regular basis and call it the NATO to Plato Conference. I reminded them that when I bought my 75 acre farm back in 2000 I had dreamed of using it as a retreat center for just that kind of conference.

So who knows? Perhaps we will someday put TED and Bill Clinton's Renaissance Weekends to shame, but right now I'm just basking in the warm glow of a weekend well spent.