"Philosophy begins and ends in wonder." (Socrates)
Seasons greetings & Happy Holidays!  2017 is upon us! In light of this, we would like to take a moment to, first, say thank you.  Thank you to everyone in the community who has shown us such overwhelming support & encouragement.  From individuals, to businesses & organizations, to our Reeder's Alley neighbors and beyond.  You are amazing!

To have had the opportunity to share our passion & love for philosophy with each one of you has brought us so much joy.  In addition to thoroughly enjoying the activity of philosophy, we believe in its practical value and ability to foster, strengthen & enrich communities, cultivate critical, creative thought, encourage leadership & action, and promote healthier, happier & more deeply satisfying "ways of living/being" in the world. In light of this...we believe that philosophy is not meant to be closed away in some book but, rather, to be lived

That has been our help individuals live philosophy by offering unique opportunities to engage in philosophical dialogue, to exchange ideas, to reflect on our own lives and the world around us, to develop action plans and a sense of community, and to further nurture & contribute to the development of our character, hearts & minds.  It is our hope that the services & activities we have been providing in the community have helped you accomplish this.

We can confidently say that they...and each of you...have certainly helped us live philosophy.  And, for this, we are humbled and grateful.  Thank you.

Second, we have put together our inaugural newsletter and are very excited to be sharing it with you.  In it you will find highlights of the various philosophy services and activities that we have hosted & participated in over the course of the past year since our office doors opened in the Winter of 2015, as well as things on the radar for 2017.

Happy holidays and new year.  We look forward to serving you in 2017!

With Kindness & Gratitude,
Marisa Diaz-Waian
Founder & Executive Director, Merlin CCC
119 Reeder's Alley, Helena MT 59601
Merlin opened its doors in the Winter of 2015.  Located at 119 Reeder's Alley, we're situated in the corner office at the top of the walkway across from the Reeder's Alley Interpretive & Convention Center in the historic Reeder's Alley next to amazing neighbors!
"The unexamined life is not worth living." (Socrates)
Merlin welcomed Philosophical Advisor & Mindfulness Practitioner, Justin Whitaker, to the team in the Fall of 2016!
Every organization needs a mascot, right?!  Our resident furry four-legged is Luciano...affectionately known as the "Merlin Meower."
Philosophy Forums & Roundtables
"Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness." (Immanuel Kant)
Our 2016 Philosophy Symposium took place on Thurs. Nov. 17th at Carroll College. The first of a three part series on the human-technology relationship and the promises and perils of AI, the participation and dialogue generated at the event was inspiring! Thank you to our co-directors (Dr. Barry Ferst & Tim Holmes), our guest panelists, community members (80+ individuals!!!), Carroll College and the Depth Psychology Network (for live streaming our event on their network in San Francisco, CA).  Listen to an audio recording of the panelist & audience discussion by clicking on the image above & view photos from this event here by clicking here.
Philosophy Walks
"Education is not the [mere] learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think." (Einstein)
Fall 2016 Halloween Philosophy Walk for Kids at Merlin Nature Preserve
"Imagination and Storytelling"
View all the pictures from philosophy walk for kids here!
There are numerous reasons why getting out & about can help you live healthier, happier, and more deeply satisfying lives.  Peripatetic philosophers such as the Ancient Greeks, for example, felt that there was a deep & intuitive connection between walking (in nature) & critical thought, so much so that they literally walked the earth & philosophized (hence the “prone to roam” moniker ‘peripatetic’).  We agree and feel that “getting your feet dirty” & “sittin’ in trees" is a critical part of philosophy.  That's one of the many reasons why we offer Philosophy Walks. Thank you to all of the community members who have kicked off your shoes & joined us on our meanderings and to our amazing guest speakers/philosophers on trail!  View our philosophy walks here!
Spring 2016 Philosophy Walk
"Philosophy, Technology & Nature (Part 1)"
"I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." (George Bernard Shaw)
Winter 2016 Philosophy Walk
"Happiness & Meaning"

Summer 2016 Philosophy Walk
"Philosophy, Technology & Nature (Part 2)"
Inaugural Philosophy Walk
With Bill "The Wild Man" Hallinan & Tricia Clemons
"What is Philosophy?"
Help Support Philosophy by Donating to Merlin CCC!
Philosophy Community Endeavors
The vitality of thought is an adventure, ideas won't keep.  Something must be done about them." (Alfred North Whitehead)
We believe that philosophy is grounded in the here & now and its questions (the things with which it is concerned) are extremely practical & relevant.  With this in mind, we regularly partner up with Helena area businesses and individuals to bring philosophy to the streets!   View photos from our various endeavors here!
Marisa Diaz-Waian
(Philosophy Presentation)
"What is Philosophy?"
Beat the Heat Philosophy Party
Merlin, 6th Ward Community Garden, AERO & Max Milton
"What is Resilience?"
Earth Day Expo
Justin Whitaker
(Philosophy Presentation)
"Buddhism & Philosophy"
Beat the Heat Philosophy Party
Merlin, Aizada Imports & Martin's Wines
"Friendship & Love"
Downtown Helena First Fridays
Philosophy Think & Drinks
"It is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." (Aristotle)
Wine, grog & spirits are right up our alley!  And talking philosophy over libations…even better! Our Philosophy Think & Drinks are casual and informal and great opportunities for people to engage in thoughtful dialogue about a host of topics.  Even if libations aren't your thing, you can still enjoy these gatherings.  We emphasize the think over the drink!  View photos from our Think & Drinks here!
Merlin in the Press
"Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots." (Rumi)

We love Montana and the great outdoors!  That’s why we are thrilled to announce that we were featured in the Montana Wilderness Association‘s Wild Divide Chapter Newsletter!  Thank you Bill "The Wild Man" Hallinan & Montana Wilderness Association  for all of your amazing work in the community & for selecting our organization to be featured in your newsletter.  We look forward to more philosophy walks & future collaborations in 2017 & beyond!  Click here to read page 6 of the newsletter!



In an interview conducted in June of this year, Founder & Executive Director, Marisa Diaz-Waian, discusses the nature of Merlin CCC’s operations & why philosophy is as important today as it was centuries ago. “I think the need for philosophy is always here,” she says.  “We’re all natural philosophers – we all have questions, want to understand, know what to do, and how to do it. But when things happen in the world — especially things that shake our foundations, evoke frustration, angst, despair and genuine concern — the vocalization of this need becomes amplified.”  Read the full interview here!

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization & your contributions are tax-deductible.
A little help goes a long way.  Please help support philosophy in the community by donating to Merlin.
Help Support Philosophy by Donating to Merlin CCC!
Philosophy Drive-In's
"Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being" (Mahatma Gandhi)

We love drive-in theaters and movies that make you think!  Every other month (or so), in The Reeder’s Alley Interpretive & Convention Center we feature a philosophical film aimed at getting your synapses firing and an eve under the stars (without the cars). View the films we have featured, our discussion topics, and photos from our drive-in movies here!

Philosophy Workshops & Courses
"If you want others to be happy...practice compassion.  If you want to be happy...practice compassion."  (Dalai Lama)
Our Grief, Loss & Heartbreak Workshop took place on Saturday, December 10th at the Reeder's Alley Interpretive & Convention Center.  A unique 1-day gathering that incorporated elements of philosophy, psychology, yoga/stretching, mindfulness meditation, readings & poetry, the workshop served as an opportunity for individuals to navigate the grieving process in an environment that was both safe & supportive.  Learn more and view pictures & resources from our workshop here!
1st Annual Brew-Wine-Chu Fundraiser
Despite extremely “unforgiving” weather from Mother Nature, our 1st Annual Brew-Wine-Chu was a hit. Thank you to all of our amazing sponsors, volunteers, event patrons & artists – Yoda Coaster, Milton Menasco & The Big Fiasco and DJ On!x – who braved the weather and came to support the cause.  Looking forward to Brew-Wine-Chu 2017!  View photos & videos from our fundraiser event here!
"To teach how to live without certainty without being paralyzed by hesitation is perhaps the chief concern that philosophy...can do for those who study it." (Bertrand Russell)
Ten Mile Creek Brewery, Martin’s Wines, Blackfoot River Brewing Co., Lewis & Clark River Brewing Co., George’s Distributing, Bad Betty’s BBQ, Big Dipper, Karmadillos, Latte’s & Sundaes, Image Dancing, fourOsix, Great Divide Cyclery, The Garage, Helena Tourism Alliance, Helena Exposure, Signs Now, Helena BID, Topper’s Cellar, General Mercantile, Litt’l John’s & Big Sky Water Helena.  Thank you also to our amazing group of volunteers & musicians who stuck with us through the storm(s) and to all of the Helena community members who didn't let a little (or lot) of rain stop you from enjoying the festivities & supporting philosophy in the community!
Help Support Philosophy by Donating to Merlin CCC!
1st Annual "Think on the Links"
Philosophy Classic Charity Golf Tournament
Our inaugural Fall fundraiser — The Think on the Links Philosophy Classic — was a blast! Not only did we have perfect weather, we had an amazing group of people playing in the tourney & an incredible group of sponsors!  Our theme for the 2016 tourney was Hawaiian…and for those brave enough to go the extra mile….Magnum P.I.! Our golf tourney participants did NOT disappoint! From hula skirts, Hawaiian shirts & coconut bras to luxurious mustaches, Detroit ball caps (Magnum P.I.), and decked out golf carts…our fundraiser golfers came to play!  We can’t wait to do this again next year!  View photos from this event here!
"Let us see a world in the future in which we understand that all life is related to us (connected) and we treat that life with great humility and respect." (David Suzuki)
Ten Mile Creek Brewery,   Martin’s Wines , Mackenzie River Pizza Co., Blackfoot River Brewing Co., Sandy Mac’s Distributing, ProBuild Helena, and Lehrkind’s Inc., Nickels Gaming Parlour, Helena Motors, Best Western Premier Helena Great Northern Hotel, Anderson ZurMuehlen & Hair Hair Salon, Spa & Cafe Organica., The Man Store, Helena Motors, Power Townsend & Dundee’s Barber Shop, Pioneer Construction, Ten Mile Creek Brewery, Brekke Excavating & Construction, Miller’s Crossing, First Interstate Bank Helena, Silver City Saloon, Firetower Realty, Townsend Drug & Spirits, and Signs Now Helena., Silver Star Steak Company, Best Western Premier Helena Great Northern Hotel, Lewis & Clark Brewing Company, and Sandy Mac’s Distributing.
On the Radar for 2017
4-Week Intensive Mindfulness Course
(Sunday Jan. 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th)

A 4-week intensive introduction to Mindfulness. In this course, we will explore mindfulness from three key perspectives: (1) its Buddhist ethical and philosophical roots, (2) the development of a Western, scientific, secularized practice, and (3) our own personal experience with a variety of well-known practices. Classes will be led by Justin Whitaker — Philosophical Advisor for Merlin CCC & Mindfulness Practitioner. Meditation cushions and chairs, workbook, & hot tea provided. Learn more or register by visiting our website at
""We often think of peace as the absence of war...But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds - our prejudices, fears, and ignorance...Seek to become more aware of what causes anger and separation, and what overcomes them. Root out the violence in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindfully."  (Thich Nhat Hanh)
Philosophy Walks
"Technology & The Human Spirit"
(Part 2 & 3)
Spring & Fall Philosophy Symposium

We're thrilled to announce that we'll be collaborating with Helena non-profit the Awareness Network to conduct one or more youth workshops in 2017 for kids, teenagers & young adults struggling with anxiety, depression & grief.  These unique workshops will include elements of philosophy, psychology, mindfulness, yoga and more!  Thank you, Awareness Network, for your generous support & sponsorship!  Stay tuned for details.
Philosophy Think & Drinks
Philosophy Drive-In Movie Nights
We're honored & excited for our continued collaboration with Justin Whitaker & Mindful Montana and working to establish unique opportunities for mindfulness meditation, philosophical dialogue, and more in the community.  If you would like to contribute to mindfulness activities -- including equipment, workshops, scholarships, and more...please click here!
We have several philosophy workshops and courses on the radar for 2017.  These include more mixed-modality grief, loss & heartbreak workshops that will include elements pf philosophy, psychology, mindfulness, yoga and more.  Please stay tuned for more details.
Also on the radar for 2017...further development of our "Philosophy in the Workplace" programs, philosophy retreats, and Helena
community endeavors & partnerships!
Our 2017 Brew-Wine-Chu Community Fundraiser is slated for June 2017 in the Helena downtown walking mall.  Reggae, ska, blues, funk, old school, jams and rock & roll!  Our 2017 family-friendly fundraiser festivity will feature a variety of community activities, ping-pong, fire-throwers, a fun photo-booth, silent auction, fun contests, and more.  And, of course, local microbrews, wine & tasty eats.  Write it down, get ready to boogie, and stay tuned for more details!
Our 2017 Think on the Links Philosophy Classic Charity Golf Tournament is slated for September 2017 at Bill Roberts Golf Course.  Our theme for 2017 will be "ALL THINGS 80'S"!  Plenty of time to reclaim your acid-washed jeans and eye-liner & grow out those mullets and feathered bangs! Want to come as your favorite 80's t.v. or band crew -- Mash, Cheers, Mötley Crüe, Duran Duran, KISS?  The world is your oyster & our tourney is THE pot to be steamin' in!  Mark it on your calendars & stay tuned for more details!
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization & your contributions are tax-deductible.
Please help us support philosophy in the community by donating to Merlin CCC today.
Yes, I Want to Support Philosophy by Donating to Merlin!
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"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.  What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." (Jane Goodall)
Copyright © 2016 Merlin CCC, All rights reserved.

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