Our Penny Universities
During the Enlightenment, the greatest minds were tweeting. Instead of utilizing the medium of the internet their network for spreading ideas were “penny universities.” For just a penny — the price of a cup of coffee — diverse groups of people gathered in English coffeehouses to discuss news and debate the latest ideas in philosophy, science, and politics. The takeaways from these gatherings in the coffeehouses — dubbed “penny universities” — spread to others in the network through individuals called “runners.” All of us today rest on the shoulders of those who sat in these penny universities, pushing the frontiers of ideas.
Wow. I had no idea about the fascinating history of the English coffeehouse until I read this though provoking post.