|Steep and Brew|
“Hi there,” I said breaking the silence. “Is this the philosophy dialogue group?” I asked as I looked over the empty chairs around the tables. The man looked up from his paper and gave a puzzled look at an unfamiliar face. Folding the paper closed he responded kindly, “Hello. Yes, it is. My name is Richard. This is your first time to the group, is it?” I confirmed that was the case, which prompted us to briefly discuss the group’s purpose and 12 year history. Our conversation continued, turning to my reason for attending the group. Richard asked a few questions about my “I have never…” idea before explaining he expected about nine attendees to trickle in around the group’s scheduled start time of 7:00 pm. Just as Richard wrapped up his explanation, another man walked up to our tables and greeted Richard. We made some brief introductions as the man took a seat at the table and setup for the evening. After a brief conversation, I thanked the men for the opportunity to attend and checked the time. With about 10 minutes to spare before the meeting began, I excused myself and walked back to the front of the building to grab something to drink.
|Some ground rules|
Over time, the group slowly grew to 10 people as more attendees made their way to the café. As our discussion bloomed in the presence of more minds, I periodically offered thoughts and leading questions in homage to the philosopher that served as the group’s namesake. In response, each participant offered unique perspectives and thoughts as topics bounced around the table, which exposed the intellectual diversity and experience maintained by each member in the group. Surrounded by passion, reason, and unfettered openness, I lost myself in the discussion as we pressed deeper into the topic. With the group striking at the heart of the issues affecting our education system, I listened to each person speak from their heart and mind as I sat, lifted by the caliber of our conversation. Striving to keep the conversation moving toward the subject at hand, I offered some perspectives tying our thoughts together around education. The group acknowledged my effort and regained center on solutions to the issues discussed previously before moving back to oft discussed subject of critical thinking. In what seemed like minutes after we had started our discussion, we had covered an unbelievable amount of ground on education, society, and biology in one of the most open discussions I have experienced in my life.
With group full engaged, Richard gathered our attention and made us aware two hours had passed since the meeting began. In a state of disbelief, I looked up at a nearby clock to confirm his statement and saw it was 8:50. With the café nearing its closing hour, our discussion wrapped up quickly as members of the group grabbed their belongings and prepared to leave. I gave my thanks to the members of the dialogue group and expressed my gratitude for the open, thoughtful discussion that had occupied the previous two hours. The group responded in kind, with several members extending me an invite to future meetings.
|The dialogue group|