Really pleased that the San Francisco Chronicle picked up my article in Zocalo Public Square’s magazine NEXUS: The Magazine of Ideas.
They didn’t let me know in advance, so I was wondering why all of a sudden I was receiving a bunch of inquiries from the Bay Area.
It’s cool that our work is getting notice still, and that people are taking notice.
Lots of new Socrates Cafes still starting, many groups now ongoing for well over a decade at the same time. Good news all around.
And our other ‘pro open society’ initiatives are taking root more and more. All distinct, all entwined.
Interestingly, the editor at Zocalo Public Squares NEXUS, Reed Johnson, wrote an article on my Socrates Cafe endeavor about 15 years ago for the Los Angeles Times, when he was a reporter there. He understood keenly how philosophical inquiry among diverse folks in a public setting into questions both timely and timeless can be at the core of furthering and fomenting open societies.
What must be underscored is the primacy of shared exploration and inquiry in a singularly Socratic way over argument and debate — this is what I wrote my PhD dissertation on — and how the former cultivates connectedness, reasonableness, empathy in ways that inspire diverse souls to collaborate, with none having a monopoly on the truth or on ‘best solutions.’
It’s anti-snooty, but at the same time it is rigorous; it is accessible, but challenging. It is a method that potentially leads to ever new portals of knowing, being, doing.
Open societies and open selves go hand in glove.
All too many thinkers these days (as in yesteryear) pontificate without putting their pontifications into practice, without testing and experimentation. What we need more than ever are thinkers who also do.
There is a craving these days not just for community but communion, inner and outer, both at once. There is a longing to philosophize in a way that would do justice to what the Greeks of old had expected philosophy to be, rather than the unrecognizable stuff that all too often is passed off for philosophy in the academic cloister. Clear thinking and writing and doing should all be interlaced, and all with the end that the Greeks had in mind, namely, arete, all-around excellence in which duty to self and to others are two sides of the same coin.