Faith, Tech, and Literature: Mastermind Connect DC's Inaugural Book Club

It’s a beautiful thing to observe the process of an awakening. At our Mastermind Connect chapter in Washington, D.C., we have the privilege of being surrounded by some of the most brilliant minds in the world, and being able to interact with them on a regular basis. Naturally, the regularly hosted book club events are the perfect backdrop for us to get a glimpse inside the minds and hearts of the gentlemen in attendance.

“That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”-Jhumpa Lahiri

The evening of our DC chapter’s inaugural book club began with some light convo at the residence of member Shrey Verma, who opened the conversation by discussing his current read, titled “The White Tiger,” by Aravind Adiga. Likened to Richard Wright’s “Native Son,” this literary piece examines the journey of an impoverished driver in Bangalore, India, as he employs his own wit and social understanding to bring himself and his family out of poverty, in search of his own brand of freedom, with a dark comedic twist. This took us down a path of reflection of how society shapes us, and how ultimately, it is our responsibility to create the lives we want for ourselves.

Next came “The Circle Maker,” by Mark Batterson. Thanks to our unofficial Chaplain, Benjamin “Benji” Ellisten, we were able to delve into the importance of prayer as it relates to the manifestation of one’s dreams.  This struck home for all of us, as we all came to DC to work our own forms of alchemy.

“One of the first questions I asked JD when he told me about Mastermind Connect, was whether or not it was open to men of faith” -Benji Ellisten

I particularly enjoyed this part of the convo, because it allowed me to open up about a detail of life that many people that did not grow up with me do not know: I was practically raised in Southern Baptist Church culture by a deacon who was the son of a preacher. This is something that resonated with Benji, and the many principles that we were endowed with we’re very much similar to the notions of love, faith, and respect that Shrey was taught as a Hindu. They moral of the story; faith, is faith -- an understanding that we all agreed the world could use much more of.

The next switch took us through a more cerebral path. On my current nerd binge, I’ve been knee deep in the writings of Neil “Black Science Dude” Degrasse Tyson’s “Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics, and The Military.” We mused over how the quest for power through conquest created most of the conveniences that we rely on today, namely cell phones, drones, and German automobiles (google Franz Pop and the history of BMW for more context). Braniac-in-residence Joshua Farrar was able to lend more than 0.02 worth of insight on this topic.

Next was Joshua’s turn. Being the overachieving bibliophile that he is, he brought two books with him: “Functional Programming for Mortals in Scala” by Sam Halliday, and “The Awakening of Japan” by Okakura Kakuzo --the man is different. Computer programming is the now, and the future. Technology is a means to many of the essential changes that we will need to effectively harness as a species to progress. No programming, no advanced tech. No advanced tech, no AI… you get the picture.  The Awakening of Japan was just dope because I got to geek out about the savagery of the Meiji era (think the Great Depression, only make it over 600 years long, with Samurai swords).

Add in some beer, and my new favorite aged Solera style Rum, and it was a very solid Wednesday night, to say the least.

Based on the responses, I’d say the rest of the gang agrees.