I have had the opportunity to listen to two lectures by Daniell Dennett this week. He has been invited by Indiana University's most prestigous seminar series. The titles of his lectures were "Freedom evolves" and "Religion as a natural phenomenon".
I will not here address the content of the lectures, but I realized during both talks that this kind of experience is what attracted me and made me choose academia. During both talks I felt like when I was in the beginning of my PhD. My mind was challenged, not by intrinsic, complex, and superficial details (like many we encounter in everyday academic practices), but by mind blowing ideas -- ideas that changes the big picture, alters intrenched thought structures... I miss having those experiences, today they are too few.
Listening to Dennett is also an experience similar to listen to good music performance. With an extraordinary skillfull muscisian any music can sound good. You don't have to agree with everything Dennett says, but you can still enjoy the clarity, the logic, and the reasoning. Well, enough of praise.