The expected result, in theory, was to be a synthesis of all thought. James Lee identified his 100 most brilliant minds (a few of them have graced the pages of this Site), called each of them, and asked what questions they were asking themselves. As James Lee said: "To accomplish the extraordinary, you must seek extraordinary people." At the centre of every Edge project are remarkable people and remarkable minds— scientists, artists, philosophers, technologists and entrepreneurs.
was launched in 1996 as the online version of "the Reality Club", an informal gathering of intellectuals who met from 1981 to 1996 in Chinese restaurants, artist lofts, investment banking firms, ballrooms, museums, living rooms and elsewhere.
Reality Club members presented their work with the understanding that they will be challenged.
The hallmark of The Reality club has been rigorous and sometimes impolite (but not ad hominem) discourse.
The motto of The Reality Club was inspired by the late artist-philosopher James Lee Byars: "To arrive at the edge of the world's knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.".
We were both in the art world, we shared an interest in language, in the uses of the interrogative, in avoiding the anesthesiology of wisdom, and in "the Steins"—Einstein, Gertrude Stein, Wittgenstein, and Frankenstein ("the shtick of the Steins").
In 1971, our dialogue (James Lee inspired the idea that led to the Reality Club (and subsequently to Edge), and is responsible for the motto of the club.He believed that to arrive at an axiology of societal knowledge it was pure folly to go to a Widener Library and read 6 million volumes of books.(In this regard he kept only four books at a time in a box in his minimally furnished room, replacing books as he read them.) This led to his creation of the World Question Center in which he planned to gather the 100 most brilliant minds in the world together in a room, lock them behind closed doors, and have them ask each other the questions they were asking themselves.There is a new set of metaphors to describe ourselves, our minds, the universe, and all of the things we know in it, and it is the intellectuals with these new ideas and images, those scientists and others doing things and writing their own books, who drive our times.Through the years, Edge has had a simple criterion for choosing contributors.We look for people whose creative work has expanded our notion of who and what we are.