KW Hungry Minds Events

This page contains a sampling of some of the events we have held in the past. For the most current list of events and to RVSP to any of them, see our meetup page: 

Sunday Lunch & Debate: We Are Not the 1%


This week's debate statement: The promotion and pursuit of capitalism as our base economic order has led us to a sick and inhuman social structure that is seriously harming all but the very wealthy. It is imperative for our own health as well as the sustainability of the environment that we change our economic relationships as soon as possible.


Debate/Science Workshop: What's a GMO?


This week's debate statement: The government should be doing more to ban or draw attention to the GMO products in our food sources, at least until there has been more research into their effects on human and environmental health.

The GMO "debate" has been waged across the internet for years now and most of us generally know which side we are supposed to be on. If you label yourself a skeptic then your response to the crazies and the conspiracy theorists has been canonized for you. On the other side, there is the group of people who automatically side with anything sounding like it's promoting pure living and anti corporatism. However, these are both great examples of what Will Storr pointed out in his book The Unpersuadables -people who base their decisions on belief and group membership rather than on true knowledge of the facts. 

For this one we are going to work together to learn the facts and debate what they mean. We are also going to use it as an opportunity to have a discussion on the nature of this particular debate within popular culture and whether science literacy can have any impact on either side.

Bookclub: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind



Destined to become a modern classic in the vein of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Sapiens is a lively, groundbreaking history of humankind told from a unique perspective. 

100,000 years ago, at least six species of human inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. 
Homo Sapiens. 
How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations, and human rights; to trust money, books, and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables, and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? 
In Sapiens, Dr. Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical -- and sometimes devastating -- breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural, and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology, and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come? 
Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power...and our future.

December Social Fun: The Apocalypse is Now! 

This will be the third year we've had a little bit of lighthearted fun around the holiday season and this year we're bringing the end of the world. Imagine, if you will, that you have found out that the world is going to end in one week -what are you going to do? How would your life change? What is on your bucket list? 

Of course, we can get a little serious and discuss what this means for how we live our lives day to day and what it means to live blind to the fact that we are all in fact dying. But don't forget to bring the fun too.

What Makes Us Us: We Aren't



This is a part of a five-part series looking at theories of human behaviour. This month we look at the idea that we don't actually exist at all. Perhaps we are just a brain in a vat, or a sophisticated computer program. What evidence do we have for our existence? How much evidence is there for another sort of existence?

What Makes Us Us: Our Inner Caveman


This is a part of a five-part series looking at theories of human behaviour. This month we look at the idea of evolutionary psychology. Can we really trace all of our behaviour back to who we were in the caveman era? Has fighting against this been the downfall of the modern era?

What Makes Us Us: The Great Greater Power


This is a part of a five-part series looking at theories of human behaviour. This month we look at ideas of spirituality and greater power. Is it possible that there is a something outside of us that controls our existence? Be it an all powerful or simply a balancing force that pulls us along. There are tons of theories out there, is it so crazy that they might be onto something?

What Makes Us Us: Our Calvin Kleins 

This is a part of a five-part series looking at theories of human behaviour. This month we look at the idea of genetic determinism. What are genes? What do they say about who we are? Does the mapping of the human genome say something about what we can and can't be?

What Makes Us Us: The Social Creature Within  

This is a part of a five-part series looking at theories of human behaviour. This month we look at the idea that we are prone and primed to the draw of social influence. In essence, that we are no so far away from ants. This includes the idea that those in power are out to manipulate this 'herd' tendency in us -to control our thoughts and actions in a very well tuned manner. But does this really matter? Even if we can decipher the control of the man behind the curtain, does that make us outside of his reach?

CIGI Lecture: Dealing with Losers



Michael Trebilcock received the Donner Prize for the best book on public policy published by a Canadian in 2014. This lecture addresses some of the major themes and case studies in the book.  These themes exemplify the importance of policies that ease the transition costs for losers from what may be generally socially desirable policy changes but which may be successfully obstructed by the losers from these policies unless measures are implemented to mitigate their losses through explicit compensation, grandfathering, or postponed or graduated implementation. Examples include trade policy, immigration policy, institutional reform in developing countries, and climate change policy.

Professor Trebilcock will be introduced by Oonagh Fitzgerald, Director of the CIGI's International Law Research Program.

Sunday Social & Debate: Reconciliation Is..



We have victims of crime, people whose lives are derailed by the abuses of others. We have entire communities whose history is blackened by systemic injustices. What should our society be doing to try to redress the pain and suffering of others? Should we be doing anything at all? Why would we do something and what difference does it make? Does it just create new victims of the people who have to sacrifice in order to make amends?

With an understanding of the personal and the commonality of humanity, we will be focusing on communities that have been struggling with reconciliation, including our own Native people, the South Africans, the Maori of New Zealand, the Mau Mau of Kenya, African Americans, and the Mayan of Guatemala. Within this we will look at what it means to be a victim and what it means to be a perpetrator of crime, what this means for the individual as well as for community and cultural groups.

Movies for the Mind: Suite Française



Movie about France under occupation -with a discussion about the realities of resistance and collaboration in wartime to follow on the patio of Barley Works.

Here's the movie description:

Based on the best-selling book by Irene Nemirovsky and set during the German occupation of France in the 1940's, Suite Française tells the story of Lucille Angellier as she awaits news from her husband, a prisoner of war. As Parisian refugees pour into their small town, soon followed by a regiment of German soldiers who take up residence in the villagers' homes, Lucile's life is turned upside down - further complicated by the arrival of refined German officer, Bruno. A story of the power of love and the tragedy of war.

Sunday Social & Debate: Art Is...



What and who defines what art is? Does art have to beautiful? What is the point of art? Why and how do we value art?

Attendees are asked to submit links and/or pictures of some of their favourite works of art and be prepared to talk about what why you like those particular pieces. Send any submissions not posted on Meetup to

Bookclub -Two Books on Gender

Book One: Why Gender Matters by Leonard Sax.

Book Two: Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine.

Two books on neurobiology and gender, pretty much on opposite ends of the debate. This should be fun.

Sunday Social & Debate: Self Is...



We all operate on a day-to-day basis with the sense that we are a controlling agent distinct from others, that we have a central part of us that makes up who we are regardless of changing circumstances or experiences. However, scientists, psychologists and philosophers have long argued that this "self" we perceive is simply an illusion.

In this debate we will dive into some of the work on self-concept and self-awareness, looking at what it means for the human condition and how self is expressed in our own and other cultures. We will also look at the possibility that perhaps too much focus on self-esteem, self-determination, and self-love is a detrimental thing for our society as a whole. We will finish the debate with a good, old-fashioned borg assimilation ritual.

Social/Debate: Wees Awl So Smrt Now



This week's debate statement: Computers and the internet are having a serious detrimental impact on our cognitive abilities. 

During our debate on the value of social media on our relationships we had a side discussion of what dependence on technology means for our mental skills. It was such a great topic that we are dedicating a whole debate to it. I'm sure there's lots and lots of articles and studies out there that we can use to help us get a little closer to the bottom of this. 

Sunday Social & Debate: Love Is...



This month we take on exploring that crazy little thing called love. What exactly is it? Why do we crave it? Is it a certifiable type of insanity? Hungry Minds attending are encouraged to bring their favourite works of poetry or song lyrics that help define love for them.

Beyond the exploration of the place love holds in the human condition, we'll look at attempts that have been made to try to control and codify love. What place does society have in defining the perimeters of acceptable loving relationships? How much sense is there in the current legal and financial benefits we give to monogamous, heterosexual marriages that produce children? Does marriage make sense at all any more?


Social/Debate: Picking a Winner


This week's debate statement: A government by lottery, like jury duty, would be the best form of government. At the very least, it would be far better than our current form of representative government.







Bookclub -The Righteous Mind


Subtitled "Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion," Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind puts forward the argument that human political and moral leanings on both the left and the right have way less to do with rational thought than most people are willing to acknowledge and they are not so different from each other.



Sunday Lunch & Debate: Violence Is...



This location is fully accessible. We will be in the small meeting room behind the bar, near the couches.


This week's debate statement: We all have the seed of violence with in us and it is only due to the fate of our circumstances that we keep from committing acts of cruelty.

After the great time that we had with our "Happiness Is..." debate, we've decided to start in on a once-a-month series exploring a particular aspect of the human condition. This time we are flipping the coin and looking at the darkest corner of who we are. What causes people to lash out at others around them? What is behind abuse, or school shootings, road rage, or even the simple bar fight?

Beyond what makes the individual violent, we should also look at what place violence has in our society. What connection do rebellions, terrorism and war have to the reasons that people inflict harm on a personal level?

Debate/Social: Got Consent?



This week's debate statement: The "Consent is Sexy" campaign simply an unrealistic view of human sexuality and a ridiculous way to address the problem of rape.


In the last six or so months, the issue of consent has made headlines both in the U.S. and in Canada. Questions have been raised about what constitutes consent, why a person may not explicitly say no but still be unwilling to engage in sex, why assaults go unreported, and how much a government can dictate what an adult can consent to. This debate will focus on these issues, try to understand the problem that the campaign is attempting to address, and discuss how effective it is as a solution.

Debate/Social: Happiness Is...


This week's debate statement: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” (W. Shakespeare, Hamlet)

To celebrate the return of spring we are going to talk about the secret to happiness. What makes us happy? Should we strive for more hedonism or more stoicism in our lives? Should we all mimic the monks? What is or what should be the role of happiness in our lives? Why are people nowadays seemingly so unhappy? Can a turtle feel angst?

Debate/Social: Playing with our Inner Trolls


This week's debate statement: Computers and the Internet are fundamentally changing, for the worse, what it means to be human.

This is a basic issue of our time and it would be good to look at the effects of computers and the internet at an international and cultural level. I am also very interested, in connection with Hungry Minds launching a stronger online presence, in looking at the personal -what it means for our relationships and our community as well as whether there is a divide between who we are interacting in person and who we are online.






Bookclub -The Once and Future World


J.B. Mackinnon, co-author of the 100-Mile Diet, has caused quite a splash with The Once and Future World, a study of the loss of "wildness" and biodiversity. Something I know very little about and am curious to see what he has to say and then what you have to say about he has to say.