‘To create intellectual clarity about life itself’ – that was Thomas Mann’s ambition with his masterpiece The Magic Mountain. In the spirit of its founding novel, the Nexus Institute has been bringing together the foremost thinkers and artists from all over the world for the past 25 years. To celebrate our 25th anniversary, the Nexus Symposium 2019, ‘The Magic Mountain Revisited’, revolved around the themes and music from The Magic Mountain.
As if Settembrini and Naptha were alive today, Bernard-Henri Lévy and Aleksandr Dugin debated on stage as defenders of the Enlightenment and anti-Enlightenment. In a second debate, prominent intellectuals and artists discussed life and death, culture and politics, followed by music from the Magic Mountain performed by the world-famous tenor Ian Bostridge. Finally, a panel of young artists and activists discussed what all of this means for their generation: what kind of Bildung are they getting, what choices can they make, what challenges lie ahead for the future?