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Six Years of Mindshop
Mindshop began with a phrase by Scottish philosopher David Hume. "The mere repetition of any past experience, even to infinity, will never give rise to a truly original idea. For truly original ideas to emerge, we must create new experiences, we must intertwine our thoughts." It was in a state of reflection that the idea of a new kind of place arose in my mind. This was in 2014, and philosophy was nothing more than something I did on my own, without academic rigor and out of sheer personal curiosity.
The place I envisioned was called Mindshop Café. And our website was designed to emulate and honor this first idea. "A multidisciplinary social learning place" would describe the essence of what I had in mind. It was born out of the human void created by the proliferation of exponential global competition, universal personal distractors, and the loss of humanity felt around the world by big-data companies.
As I matured with this idea and devoted my efforts to getting into the best philosophy college I could, my idea changed with me. It was then that I met one of my lifelong mentors, Marianne Talbot from the University of Oxford, we still exchange emails today. Mindshop “Idea Hub” (2015) was about the creation of a philosophical consulting company. With the experience I had in the corporate world and with my first conceptual understanding of the power of precise and sophisticated thinking that philosophy brought, I brought my mental image of Mindshop closer to the corporate world.
But over time I decided that intellectuals have been in bondage exclusively to the elite for far too long, and while it's not necessarily a wrong view, it wasn't exactly what I had in mind for me. However, this exercise helped me shape, land, and create a lot of assets that later turned out to be incredibly useful.
In 2016, now living in the UK and studying European philosophy and literature at University College London, Mindshop London was born. This place was designed as a center for social innovation. I met two students in my Ramsey Hall dorm and, together with a third student from my university, started a small entrepreneurship project that never really got anywhere, yet it was an excellent intellectual exercise.
This is where I met my second lifelong mentor, Lillian Shapiro. She was the director of the entrepreneurship wing at University College London. His mentor and his vision cannot be understated. Working with her, I met Jack Wratten, who in turn invited me to work at Bloomspace ; a business incubator and impact investing workspace. My work there permanently changed the way I thought about business.
2017 and 2018 weren't very prominent for Mindshop, as those were the years when I did my master's degree and returned to Monterrey, respectively. The idea went to the back of my mind, but I never left it. It was in a state of hibernation and aging. In mid-2018, I started a podcast with my brother Diego and Amaury Brondo, who is now a great friend. In the summer of 2019, I decided to give philosophy classes to five people, this was announced in our podcast, and I called my courses Mindshop - Knowledge Society.
Inspired by the British tradition of forming intellectual societies, I understood the power and satisfaction of doing and being part of one. At that moment I decided to dive into unknown waters to see how I was doing. The first two people who answered my call received 4 free lessons each, and then I charged a small amount for 10 days for tailored philosophical courses for each of the five students, who were: Eduardo Villagómez, Mauricio Esparza, Abel Sánchez , Adrián Briseño and Pablo García de Alba.
Now, in 2020, the Mindshop Knowledge Society has started with the first Cycle of The History of Philosophy , we already have more than 40 members. And we already have 40 more enrolled in our third and fourth group. Along the way I have made strong friends, and I believe that together we can do something great. I am already processing the proper paperwork with the SEP (Secretary of Public Education) to make Mindshop a formalized learning institution.
We chose to turn this place into a coffee shop because it has always been a bastion of hope and fertile ground for new revolutions of knowledge.
The course consists of five cycles of ten classes each, 5 debate workshops and 5 writing workshops each.
Readings (required) and homework (optional) are assigned weekly. The end of the cycle is marked by a final project, which can be an argumentative article or a white paper.
Debate Sessions The first five Saturdays of each course will be dedicated to developing debate skills. It consists of a theoretical class and four practical debates. Some comments are given during class, but no reading or homework is done.
Writing Workshops. The second five Saturdays of each course will be dedicated to the art of writing. The intention is that students are prepared for their final project.
In Cycles. Debates in philosophy are conducted primarily through three aspects. Listen correctly, reason correctly and express your own ideas correctly. None of these aspects stands out from the others, a strong debater must be well trained in all aspects.
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See what some members of our Knowledge Society think
"2020 if it could be summed up in one word would be chaotic, not just on a personal level, but globally. It moved us all at all in different ways. Without a doubt, Mindshop helped me in ways that I did not expect and that maybe it was what you need. Thank you Mateus for creating this society in which I feel the honor of being a part, I know that it is only the beginning of a great way to go and that it is better to do it alongside great minds full of love for knowledge."
"A few months ago, thinking of philosophy as something worth studying was almost comical to me, largely due to my ignorance of what it really entails to enter a world as vast as that of philosophy, as well as Sin of the false preconceptions that society, or at least my social circle, has about the study of philosophy. It is curious to reflect on our past, and in this case look back and observe how my way of reflecting on my purpose in life My ambitions, my personal relationships, among many other issues, have changed dramatically since my curiosity for critical thinking was ignited."
"My experience at Mindshop was enriching. Investing in this project is, first of all, investing in you; for the knowledge imparted in the classes, for the teacher's feedback and for the new friends you will have. But it is also investing in a growing community of very diverse people, where the active search for knowledge, knowledge of oneself, others and what surrounds us unites us all. Finally, it is investing in a dream, a dream where conditions in Latin America and the world are improved, where certain debates no longer have to continue and others take on more force. And that is why I highly recommend the course."
"First of all, I thank Mateus and my fellow group members for having enriched my life through topics, talks and debates that are already enriching in themselves. They are 10 weeks of many sensations, all this leaves us a teaching about critical thinking, and the roots of surprising ideas that we continue to live today, who does it come from? How prosperous through time? Where does it go? ? The first Mindshop course, before taking class 0, in my experience I was in an infertile area, over the weeks, my area was changing, in addition to becoming fertile, we laid foundations, and in the next courses, it will be ready to build up little by little. It is a course that does not need to be sold. In my opinion, Mindshop is much of what Aristoteles proposed as the end of all actions ... Good."
"The experience of delving into philosophy surrounded by people passionate about knowledge was one of the most exciting parts of the course. This course eliminated my fears about the complexity of philosophy, fueled my curiosity, and became the first step to get started. To think more carefully, it gives me new ways of analyzing what lies ahead. The fact that my sister was also with me and sharing ideas and classes with her was as important as everything I learned, which is why I am so sure to recommend the experience to more loved ones."
“My experience in the first Mindshop course, although brief, was a powerful push toward self-questioning and learning the foundations of human critical thinking. The readings and conversations invited me to reflect again on those great ideas that underlie all that we dedicate our time and our hopes. I find myself witnessing that everyone has something to contribute and something to take away from the philosophical study, that philosophy is a tool to live better. ”
“I remember very much the phrase of invest more in experiences versus materialism and know yourself, having taken the history of philosophy course at Mindshop made me understand things that I always wanted to understand about myself and humanity because the individual unites us in the collective. I 100% recommend taking the time to take this course because thanks to Mateus' talent and his great capacity as a teacher, you will receive the best kind of philosophy you can imagine, investing in this is investing in you and getting to know yourself better as a person."
"For a long time I had an interest in philosophical, psychological and sociological subjects, and I read a lot about it. After starting in Mindshop I obtained and learned certain fundamentals about philosophy, and I understood that it is from her that the other two are born; Once of course, how important it is. I know that it is not everything, I know that it does not represent something absolute, but it does represent a means that at least for me, personally allows me to get a little closer to that construct that we call truth. Thanks to Mateus for each of his teachings and the time spent. I believe that to some extent we all need a little truth, light, knowledge and that is philosophy."
"My experience at Mindshop exceeded my expectations. Beyond the knowledge that we can find in the readings proposed in the curriculum (which is a lot and I don't think 10 weeks enough to delve into it, it deserves to continue exploring after the course), bouncing ideas with people of different profiles is what which I see as an added value to the course. It is not a course only to receive Teacher-Student, it is a course to reciprocally share, understand an idea from different angles and keep what is yours."
“My experience in the first cycle of the history of philosophy was extremely rewarding. What I learned in these first ten weeks was very valuable and interesting to me. I waited every Monday for class with excitement and curiosity. It was a pleasure to listen to Mateus's class and then the time spent for questions and comments with my fellow group members. Thank you."
"I had wanted to get into philosophy for a long time but I didn't know how. At the university they show you a part of a whole world of thought, but having taken this course in History of Philosophy was very rewarding. Having a direction, a moment with your Thoughts connected with pre-Socratic philosophers, knowing that we are not a few who are intrigued by questions or questions, which we have not even been able to understand or answer, was fascinating to me. I certainly believe that all humans are philosophers by nature, but in the way of life we suppress them. Thank you Mateus for believing in you and in the human race."
"Honestly, the time I spent in this philosophy course helped me a lot to realize some things. I managed to give greater value to knowledge, I could contemplate it. Beyond what I learned with each philosopher, I was taught to be curious never settle for what they tell me, but dare to investigate on my own and make a dialogue in my mind where I constantly contradict myself, but where I constantly become a better person, because: knowledge is power; and I have the vision to use that power to fix, rather than decompose. Mindshop to me, it's not just lyrics on a slide that I had to read or listen to; they are also people. With most of them I was not able to interact much unfortunately, but still a good vibe was felt in every class we had, I hope one day we can meet. To conclude I would like to thank Profe Mateus, since he was a good guide introducing us into what philosophy is, something that I suppose is not easy at all. He was always on the lookout for any questions that arose and gave us good advice."
"Mateus is an excellent teacher, in addition to being part of the course I was able to help a little in the construction of Mindshop. I know that philosophy can be intimidating at first but the structure of the course is very enjoyable, in addition to the teaching style of Mateus is very friendly, answering questions, giving examples and explaining in detail the most complicated concepts. Over the course of these months I have also seen how the community grows. Mindshop is not only classes, it is a space for knowledge where people with a passion for knowledge and wisdom converge. I feel fortunate to be part of this and I conclude the first cycle with the expectation of returning to the next and what Mateus has in store for Mindshop."
Meet the creator at Mindshop Cafe
Mateus Bolson Ruzzarin
I don't know much, and I do what I can with the time and abilities that I have. And that is what each of us can do. The question to ask yourself is, are you really doing all you can?
I often ask myself this, and often the answer is no. I am not who I was in the past, I am not who people think I am today, I am not even who I would like to be one day. Today, I am what I am, and this is what I can offer the world. But, "what I am" is often not sufficient for what I think "should be", and what "I want to become" . And this is more important - this speaks loud and clear of my essence as a person.
I studied industrial engineering because I honestly didn't know what to study, and although I started reading philosophy and literature from the age of 15, I never really considered being a philosopher or a writer until something intense happened in my life, until something broke inside of me. I got to a point where I was living in Sao Paulo and working non-stop, facing one of the most populated cities in the world, and driving 3-5 hours a day.
"Driving around town" became my best teacher. I started to listen to podcasts, and to learn French and German, of course, I never reached a decent level in those languages, but I started to learn and learn, more and more of many subjects. Sometimes I would listen to music, but that eventually bored me. I took theoretical classes in gardening, music theory, writing, but it was when I got to philosophy that I really realized the gold that this discipline kept . I was thriving on what I was listening to, but sadly, since I couldn't take anything further, I finally stopped listening to classes altogether.
I started driving quietly, and that's when I heard myself think. When I finally stopped listening, I began to reflect, above all, on all the decisions I had made up to then. And I decided to act.
Marianne Talbot 's podcast on the history of philosophy awakened something inside me. Something that was there the entire time, something latent and powerful that could not be explained before that specific moment. It was then that I knew what I had to do. I was driving on a busy highway and decided to stop the car.
I started crying at that moment. First out of relief, but then out of fear. Relief because I understood what I had to do and fear for how difficult it was going to be. I knew I had to quit my job and study philosophy, whatever the cost. It was terrible and amazing. He had no idea how to do something like that, it was strange, but he knew he had to. As if my mind did all the necessary calculations before showing it to me.
So I listened to myself. I passionately believe that we should all do it sooner or later. It cost me all the money I made up to that point, and I risked throwing my career away, many even say I did it, but not those who had been paying attention to my true self. In this process I completed a master's degree in one of the best philosophy schools in the world in London, I met the woman of my dreams, whom I already married, and I am working with my brother in a new company, my mother in her company privately, I started a critical thinking podcast with my brother as well, and now I'm ready to fulfill my dream: to build a knowledge society called Mindshop .
Once again, thanks for being here, we are just getting started. The sky is no longer the limit, "finally the horizon seems clear again, even if it is not so bright; finally our ships can depart again, set off to face any danger; all audacity of the lover of knowledge is allowed again; the sea, our sea, is open again; perhaps there has never been such an 'open sea'. " (From Friedrich Nietzsche, the Gay Science).