This is an overdue review of our salon session on 14th December 2019.
We're in an age of fragmented media (only getting worse), even simple facts are subjected to disagreement. Making-sense on a deeper level about our environment is made even more impossible.
This initiative is a casual attempt at arriving at collective truths.
I picked the topic "What is or should be our national narrative?" with the intention that most of us an opinion on, yet not likely to be too contentious.
Despite the sound of it, this is about examining what questions we do ask ourselves, about ourselves. As soon as you realize the quality of your questions determine the quality of your outcome, the questions we ask ourselves about ourselves becomes a top priority.
I can't say we managed to draw a conclusive resolution to that by the end of the night, but perhaps we don't need to.
During this session many great thoughts were shared. Opinions were given without too much reservation. Overall it was a great vibe, we were generally unspokenly hopeful.
To nitpick, I do find that a lot of opinions to be derivative and mainstream, but that's alright as long as they are mostly true.
I would hope for newer edgier thoughts to be collectively generated. It's a tall order though, I ought to think of it like a moonshot.
On format, I do wonder if it's productive (if that's even the word) to have a more pointed direction of discussion. If so, I don't mind playing the role of a moderator. I suppose this depends on whether the 'floor' organically comes upon a debate that's worth diving deeper into, and that everybody is interested to bring it to a satisfying end.
On participants, it matters that each bring minimal amount of personal feelings into the ring. Easier said than done. I think this session mostly succeed on this front. But to tackle edgier topics, this bit is a criteria to filter for.
The way I see it, if you get to go away having your mind changed about something, the night would've been a massive success. This is never something that happens on Facebook.
I was convinced about asymetrical power structure in government-surveilance, something that didn't cross my mind for instance.
I'm hopeful about doing a next session. Dare I hope more people, more intense discussions.
Just to push the envelope, how about inviting contentious people, someone you actively disagree with? It's a high bar though. Whoever it is, we're looking for someone intellectually honest, a truth-seeker who is not here to win. Check out Tim Urban's description on what an idea lab is (warning: long post).
If you have a friend or two in mind who makes a good participant, please extend an invitation to our next round.
Meantime, I'm trying to think of a worthy topic to talk about.