The Aresan Clan is published four times a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun). You can see what's been written so far collected here. All posts will be posted under the Aresan Clan label. For summaries of the events so far, visit here. See my previous serial Vampire Wares collected here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our special club

When I was a senior in college, a close friend of mine named Ridg, one night started to plan out what we thought would be a great idea for a special invitation-only philosophy discussion group. Ridg and I had enjoyed enjoyed discussing deep, difficult philosophical problems between the two of us for a while then, but we craved other people to add to the conversation, to bring new perspectives, to raise new problems and to spurn even deeper debate. The idea of having other intelligent, thoughtful people join us for such philosophical debates, turned towards the question of what people would be best at providing these new perspectives. We eventually started to create an actual list, and began to hatch ideas of a group of the smartest most intriguing people to discuss philosophy with us.

The people we listed weren't just be a list of our friends, but rather a list of those among our friends and acquaintances we deemed most worthy. And being worthy wasn't just a matter of being smart, but also a matter of being a reflective person who might have actually give deep thought to our brand of philosophical questions. What type of questions are we talking about? The questions that Ridg and I had in mind were sort of the biggest broadest philosophical questions we could come up, something straight out of Platonic dialogue, like: "What is Justice?" "What is Love?" "What does it mean to do good?" What makes good art?" and so on

We came up with and wrote down a list of over ten people, debating on the merits of several possible candidates, dismissing some, adding others and so on. Our list was carefully planned. We even had it divided up into a core five or six of those who were the cream of the crop (which of course included both Ridg and I), and then a periphery of several others that were worthy, but not quite in the upper echelons. Unfortunately, in our planning, we'd put the cart before the horse. You see, normally when you have an exclusive club or secret society or other selective organization, that group has an established reputation or cachet that makes people want to join it. If you're starting such a club from scratch, you need to give people a reason to want to join, either because they include certain elite or privileged members that others want to schmooze with, or because they have access to something exclusive or special. Once you've got people who want to join, then you select among them, at that point debating amongst yourself about their relative merits and worthiness. Ridg and I, on the other hand, were not elite or exclusive. We just assumed that people would want to sit in a room with us and talk philosophy. Admittedly, these were all generally philosophically-minded people who tended to enjoy that sort of thing, but that doesn't mean they didn't have better ways to spend their time than hanging out with us.

When we tried to gather some of the people from our list, they just weren't really interested. Even our friends were leery about the idea. Some of them objected to the selectiveness, and some of them were just busy or would rather do something else with their time. At the scheduled time, it was just Ridg and I. A friend of his popped by and we talked for a while, but that was it. Our special philosophy group never got off the ground.

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