Calling All Minds: Table Talk With Benjamin Moe

Photograph by Divyank Jain

Benjamin Moe, 21-year-old co-founder and editor-in-chief of Table Talk, sneaks about the dimly lit corridors of a coal factory in rural Jaipur, tacking CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS to the factory's rusty insides.

This NYC-born, Columbia University junior and the rest of his team studying abroad have been stapling signs to Berlin light poles, soliciting street peddlers in Beirut and posting notes in Asian factories -- all to unearth an untold perspective.

Ben's new venture, Table Talk, is a literary journal that brings together great minds both renowned and unknown to discuss concepts we frequently experience but rarely address. Their last issue was on duende, the goose bumps or shivers one feels during a particularly moving performance.

This season's submission, out this November, is about dyno -- when a rock climber must release from all points of contact, leaping through the air to overcome a barrier and continue an ascent. So far, Table Talk has confirmed contributions from a record-breaking SCUBA diver, a Bollywood film historian, a world-renowned rock climber and a political philosopher -- to name a few. Now all they need is a factory worker from Jaipur.

Photograph by Divyank Jain


Rock climbers aren't the only ones who understand dyno -- who have risked everything and surrendered all safety to move ahead. The entrepreneur who invests her life savings to realize a business idea, or the immigrant, leaving all he's known for America and the hope of a brighter future. They understand dyno just as fundamentally as the renowned climber scaling El Capitan.

As Ben explains, "By bringing together people from unique backgrounds with seemingly unrelated perspectives, Table Talk attempts to foster an interaction of ideas that can hopefully make us understand ourselves and our world better than simply the voice of one expert."

In the news, in major publications, in textbooks -- often, those who provide a legitimized perspective have spent decades studying the topic after years of higher education.

But how should we measure the quality of a viewpoint?

"It's not about measuring, it's about contrasting," he tells me.

Theoretical physicist and philosopher David Bohm proposed that through dialogue, the open exchange of differing and eclectic perspectives, we begin to understand the hidden values and intentions that control our behavior. In other words, each voice is but a puzzle piece, and only the collective can illuminate our reality entirely.

"For us, finding out the truth is a never ending pursuit, one only made possible by bringing together ideas from radically different walks of life and focusing not on individual arguments but the interaction of voices around the table," Ben shares.

Photograph by Divyank Jain

In addition to dyno this November, Table Talk is launching a new website where readers can comment on specific lines within the piece, developing conversations directly out of the text.

In a world where credentials and merit legitimize perspective, Table Talk does its best to be the egalitarian -- presenting a range of people and thought with the speaker merely a medium to transmit unique and differing ideas.

So how do you decide what you believe?

Imagine Table Talk as a prism, dyno as light and each submission as a color -- each perspective equal but distinct, all essential to realize the spectrum.

So check it out. As you make your way through the pages, weigh your experience not by the merit of the authors presenting, but by the wholly illuminated concept of dyno you find as you exit Table Talk.

If you'd like to be considered for future articles, reach out to Ben at