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This blog is about both scientific, societal/political, and yoga-related issues - individually and considered as different aspects of the same problem/solution. A longer description is found in the first blog entry, and all old posts are found in a structured way here. The blog is an extension of my main home pages and Twitter: @gunnarcedersund

Are we starting to make coffee places into what they used to be: agents of change?

politicsPosted by Apr 17, 2013 00:35

Vincent Van Gogh's painting "Cafe Terrace at Night" is my favourite painting of a coffee place. The warm colors of the 'Cafe' looks so incredibly inviting - and depicting just the kind of cosy feeling that the Swedish word 'fika' means to me ('fika' is a non-translatable word that is associated to the act of having tea or coffee; this is similarly non-translatable as the South american concept of 'mate': you have to be from there to fully "get" it).


Today I have had many chance encounters, meaningful encounters - and many of them happened around lunch. It started with me going to Babettes kafferi, for an early lunch. The reason for my early lunch was that I was thereafter going to a TED-lunch at Valla, and that I wanted to still have the chance to enjoy some nice time and test Babettes' nice new "soup of the week".

And...while sitting there at Babettes, I think I met 4-5 different people I know from different non-connected places. All really nice people, and all completely unexpected. The most unexpected of these encounters was probably connected to meeting my economist from work. First of all, I didn't expect to meet him at Babettes at all, at least not at that hour (Babettes is not that close to where we work). However, what really made me surprised was the reason why he was there: to join a weekly cultural lunch that he is a part of. It turned out that he is a wannabe writer, and that he meets every week with other cultural people - many writers, but also artists, musicians, etc - to support, talk to, and inspire each other in their work. That was such a supergreat idea, that I decided to join this little club then and there!

That whole segement of the day also made me realize a big potential of coffee places like Babettes, which undoubtedly attracts the type of people that I like: that such places can become physical vortexes that attracts not only people, but also new types of ideas and meeting-forms that nobody has thought of before. Just the simple act of bringing people of a creative and open-minded vibration together in the same place is like creating a network that is more and more interconnected, and where these new interconnections means that more and more new constellations and sub-networks must form. It is a sort of illustration of one of the "slogans" from research into complex systems "add edges and energy into a network, and the network is bound to organize itself, to self-organize!" :)

Finally, all of the above things have also made me think of my father. First of all, he loved to go to coffee places, and even though he died before Babettes opened, I know that he would have loved it. Second, he was also a wannabe writer, and actually did finish one book: about the history of our local chess club (see picture below). And, these two things are actually coming together, because the early beginnings of the local chess club in Linköping (which occurred around 100 years ago) occurred at a local coffee place. This was actually the case for many other associations and political parties at the time: their home and localities were quite often situated at coffee places. Perhaps this could return now again, but in an updated form? This brings me on to the final point, that also concerns my father. He, together with my mother, started to write a book about coffee places in Linköping. This book I am now, together with my whole family, in the process of completing. And I have just realized that a new chapter of this book should be about precisely this topic: how coffee places have and can be used to change the society for the better.

This is the front of a book about the history of the local chess club here in Linköping, called Linköpings allmänna schacksällskap (LASS). The book was written by my father, and writing it made him realize that writing books would be a wonderful way to make a living.

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