#50MeetUps – Consciousness Club #11: Determination of Death by Cessation of Brain Function

“Hey team, we’re going to go to 100 Meet Ups!
Okay, how about 50?”

– Tom

The Consciousness Club logo

On our journey through #50MeetUps to discover the key components of successful communities, our second stop was a conversation about death and when it starts. (Stay tuned for Tom’s post on our first Meetup – Taco Tuesday.) One Meetup, The Consciousness Club, was to discuss Determination of Death by Cessation of Brain Function. Side note: While we are not looking specifically at the titles of the Meetups, that’s a pretty awesome, yet technical, title.

This particular session met in a reserved back room of a restaurant. The guest speaker was a neurologist from Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in NJ. He shared interesting facts, like how  you can be legally dead in California, but not in New Jersey (?!) Then he opened the floor to questions.

The structure of this group impressed me. It started on time, the speaker had interesting information and the conversation went everywhere from robots to dreams. It felt great to speak so openly about such an abstract, yet tangible, topic as death.

The Lessons

What struck me the most was not the social connection the members had, but more so, the intellectual. There was some small talk, but even then, it mostly centered around work they did around the topic of consciousness and/or death. There were artists, teachers, authors and producers in the room, all with a common interest. And upon reflection, that seems to be the initial desire for group membership: to have something in common.

After the group started to make their exit, I stayed behind to chat with one of the leaders. The leader reiterated many of my thoughts. The topic of consciousness is the common interest that brought everyone together. They may not spend time with each other outside of the Meetup in a social capacity, but this was one method of socialization for many of those who attend regularly.

The success of this group is truly centered on deep, thoughtful conversations around consciousness and the ability to understand and interpret it through the lens of different disciplines.

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