Being based in London for the working week these days, it’s maybe apparent from the blog that I’ve been taking advantage of attending cultural and intellectual events of various kinds in the city.
Multi-discipline public presentations from academic institutions like ICL and UCL, public speaking engagements by “celebrity” expert “authorities“, talks and meetings of particular societies, BHA, CLHG, CFIUK, Conway Hall / The Ethical Society, New Humanist / Rationalist Association, and more. Apart from the specific content of the particular meeting, the big plus of such events is the face-to-face time of new (and existing) contacts and discussion conducted for the past 15 years primarily by blogs, social media and mailing lists.
Several of these events I’ve already blogged reports, and several more I have bookings for the future.
One particular novelty for me, despite 14 years of active blogging & social media on these topics, has been “MeetUp“. Despite being set-up to organise diaries around attendance at physical meetings, many of the participants, use MeetUp itself as the blog – posting the online agenda – and discussion forum – the online comment thread, associated with the MeetUp topic.
Like all such vehicles there are good and bad examples of use; you know the kind populated by trolls for whom “giving offence” is their perceived basis of the right to free speech, and “to grow a pair” as the London Active Atheists Group would have it – active as in the indiscriminate one-dimensional “shrill” voices of anti-faithism, anti anything that’s not ‘ard enuff, on my limited exposure so far. And yes, since I do “ave a pair” I will plan to attend at some point, sadly this last one fell on the same evening I had an appointment to see an apartment. (Compare WHC2014 declaration on free speech, where “no right not to be offended” is one selected part of the creed, along with positives like support and restraint.)
One example that, despite having its fair share of conspiracy-theorists and free-critics, seems to maintain a constructive balance is GlobalNet21 – a group which seems to have several active sub-groups. Blogged one group event already – “the state of traditional democracy” – and another – “new enlightenment” – I’ve not posted here until now, but posted links and feedback into the MeetUp thread at the request of the organiser Kathryn Best. [Post Note : several other overlapping sources and resources in this “new enlightenment” session – Snowden’s Cynefin view of complexity, Maslovian motivation and other incentivisation theories and practice, and several others – need to collect the links posted on MeetUp and construct a coherent essay on this one too.]
GlobalNet21 is particularly interesting for me in that it is clearly actively facilitated by Francis Sealey, and that it represents in the face-to-face domain exactly what I was trying to achieve with Joining Up The Dots / “Dots’n’Threads” and eventually throwing in my lot with the practically moribund “The Global Circle“. One to watch.