Planning For A Weekly EpicureanFriends Zoom Meeting in 2022

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    The point being that the continuation and modern expansion of the Epicurean philosophy must navigate through and in the midst of the religious landscape of modern times.

    I suspect it was much the same in ancient Greece and Rome, but yes.

  • Ha I just came across another way of stating the telos of the forum:

    The goal of is to be a friend to the friends of Epicurus

    And this supports the Principle Doctrines 27 and 28:

    27) "Of all the things that wisdom provides for the complete happiness of one's entire life, by far the greatest is friendship."

    28) "The same judgement produces confidence that dreadful things are not everlasting, and that security amidst the limited number of dreadful things is most easily achieved through friendship."

  • As recently mentioned, I am what I would call an "Epinoob" - I don't know much yet! I'm just reading and listening. But in that vein, I'd be interested in a recurring meeting for newer peeps. I have a small amount of hesitation like Don expressed, with having another "meeting" to attend. Life is busy and many of us have other commitments. OTOH, I am won over by Cassius's point that if the goal of this Epicurean Garden is to be taken seriously, meeting frequently is the really the only way to go, and posting in Facebook is NOT ideal. IMO the best tool for a remote group to learn and share - and even further, to develop relationships - is through web meetings, with video strongly encouraged, if not required. Without doing the best we can to get to know each other as people, the exercise remains academic. Not what Epicurus was talking about, unless I completely misunderstand.

  • Yes I think you are right, boyh0wdy, in emphasizing Don't point that whatever this turns into it cannot turn into a burden. Some amount of "commitment" is probably an inevitable part of any project, but we need to make it easy for people to be absent without feeling guilty, as I would think that marks the line between burden and enjoyment.

    it needs to be something that is dominantly pleasurable or it won't become a habit to be there when possible. that's one reason I do think it needs to have a set format (such as reading and talking about a particular doctrine as part of each episode) so we can always expect to learn something from each meeting.

    I know in my own experience that what needs to be avoided is the right balance of time between hearing what "new people" have to say vs points from more experienced people. That's where it's going to be necessary to have some way to ensure something of a "minimum quality" to the discussion. But as long as the discussion is 'sincere' I think all of us can get a lot out of it, especially when we think about how we ourselves were just starting at one point, and also when we think about the fact that "if this question is arising in this person's mind then it is something that we can work on improving our presentation of the issue" so that we develop good places to point new people on common questions.

  • Completely agree, Cassius. I've led various groups and I'm aware of the issues you bring up. An appropriate amount and type of structure and content is important to keep the group from just wandering off in all different directions chasing butterflies. It is to everyone's benefit to avoid that

    ...not that there isn't ever a time to chase butterflies :)

  • This past weekend Martin and I had a chance to discuss a number of aspects of a weekly Zoom meeting, and here are a couple of our current thoughts:

    1. Video preferred but optional
    2. Don't record the session by video or audio, generally, unless there is a special presentation. We want the discussion to flow freely and recording can be an obstacle to that.
    3. We won't push too hard to turn on video.
    4. We want to be sure to make clear that there is no obligation to attend, as otherwise a weekly option can turn into a commitment that too easily becomes and obligation and then a burden.
    5. Martin reminded me that there is a German word for regular gatherings of friends for a meal: stemtisch (correction: stammtisch). And of course that reminds me of the subject of one of DeWitt's essays- Epicurean Conturbernium.
  • I have been reminded in a private conversation that there is a significant issue in the use of Zoom and video meetings which we have not already discussed, and that is the issue of safety and security of the participants when new and unknown people are allowed to participate.

    I think most and maybe all of this in this thread have been proceeding under our past well-established pattern that our meetings are essentially "invitation only" and that invitations are issued to new people only after a significant period of "getting to know you" time communicating publicly on the forum.

    Maybe there will come a time in the future where we have totally open meetings for anyone and everyone to be able to participate, but we aren't anywhere near that point at this time.

    So definitely one of the issues to be resolved before we proceed with more regular meetings will be "who gets an invitation."

    We'll work through it as we have done in the past, but it's definitely a point to remember. And it dovetails in with our forum policy of allowing "anonymous" accounts. We don't expect people to divulge their personal details in order to participate in written conversations, because we can determine from what is written whether the conversation is within our forum guidelines, and easily remove it if not. As we more to more direct communication, we'll need to implement procedures to maintain that same kind of security and consideration for personal privacy.

  • Also we have been talking recently about the long-existing project of writing personal outlines. It might well be a good idea to condition participation in some of the more advanced activities here on people participating in that project as a means of clarifying their own thoughts and getting constructive commentary from others on aspects that they might be overlooking: Personal Outlines of Epicurean Philosophy

  • 8:30 or 9:00 East Coast USA time so that our friends on the West Coast have a reasonable late-afternoon / early-evening hour. Tentatively I would suggest Tuesdays at 8:30 for no reason in particular. Please let us know your suggestions for alternate dates and times.

    That's around 3am in Central Europe! For our participants staying in Europe and Africa it would be worth thinking of a second panel (and theoretically a third for the Far East and Australia).

  • I may have the time to try a Zoom meeting Tuesday night if anyone is interested. We have not yet made any decisions on a weekly format but we can discuss that as the main agenda among whoever is available.

    One thing we have not finalized is how "open' to make this. For now, let's do this on the basis of "if you are interested, message Cassius and he will check with those who are established regulars and coordinate introductions" basis.

    In other words, if you would like to participate but have not previously joined a live meeting, please message me and we will follow our existing procedure of letting those who are regular attenders decide how fast to expand the circle.

    For planning purposes let's pick 8:30 PM Eastern Time (USA) but if someone requests an adjustment we can consider that.

  • Well so far it doesn't seem like we would have much attendance for this one. In any case, should this event happen, I am still interested.