Rediscovering a dialectic etiquette.

Chaitanya Vidyalaya, Hyderabad India where we engaged in dialectical exercise every Sunday afternoon under this lovely Tamarind Tree. Think of it like a less formal Toastmasters.
Re-discovering a dialectical etiquette.

So, how do we rediscover an dialectical etiquette?

Helix (2003–2007, Hyderabad, India)

Helix — Hyderabad, India

The original rituals of Greek symposium (5th century B.C.)

via Panoply Vase Animation Project

The European tradition of convivium as practiced in Antwerp (16th century)

(L) Can art serve as a prompt for dialectic discourse? (R) The Tower of Babel painted by Peter Bruegel : A biblical tale served as a prompt to discuss civic issues in 16th century Antwerp.

The Asimovian cerebration etiquette

The Ambience for a Cerebration

  • No single participant need be “responsible” for any thing. Displaying responsibility risks creating an environment of guilt and obligation which inhibits the generative experience. Ideally, this responsibility should be handed to a designated symposiarch who’s central role is to cater to superficial needs of the group while also maintaining environmental decorum. (Lights, Temperature, F&B, AV, note-taking etc.)
  • Meet in a non-participant’s home that has been specifically staged for the cerebration (aka it’s ok to dirty the place) OR at a restaurant with appropriate acoustics so that you don’t lose your voice while cerebrating. You may also try the outdoors or a light physical activity to get to an inspiring place. Be respectful of participants’ physical limitations.
  • Provide libations that are watered down so that even those participants who require frequent replenishments don’t get intoxicated but rather remain in a state of sustained mellowness. The symposiarch should monitor individual behaviors and intervene with neutralizers such as water or food when deemed necessary.
  • No more than 5 people in a cerebration. A larger group leads to a tension of waiting to speak, which can be very frustrating to some who may be on the verge of a new idea and therefore restless.
  • Engage in explorative breakouts i.e. be in a place surrounded by curated art pieces, symbols, or motifs (with explanations of their origins and creation).

Cerebratory Temperaments

  • Come up with strange words to describe things. I often find spoonerisms as serving towards jeing bovial.
  • Mocking someone’s idea is a deep violation of the etiquette of public discourse. “Yes, and….” choreography can solve for that to a certain extent but it can also devolve into politically correct posturing without actually listening to the other person.
  • Play with being eccentric. If you’re not an eccentric person by nature, try to channel one who you think is while still retaining the logic of your own ideas.
  • Participants can actively encourage each other to dare to fly in the face of established convention and reason in their own fields while also being sympathetic to others from visitor fields in collaborative attempts to make cross-connections.
Spoonerisms are a fun way to play with

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Varun Adibhatla

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