Hey beautiful people,
A few things …
Also, the three Collective Presencing sessions at The Stoa will be weekly now instead of biweekly.
Lastly, all the slots for my philosophical coaching practice for the month of October have been completely booked. If you’d still like to have a session with me in October, reply to this email and hopefully we can find a time that works. I will be announcing openings for November here on October 17th.
Collective Journaling w/ Peter Limberg and Co-Hosts. Daily @ 8:00 AM ET. Patreon event. 90 mins.
Uncertainment Lounge: Thriving in Uncertainty Together w/ Lisa Norton. September 30th @ 6:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
September 29th, 2021
We started on time, every time. And we started by huddling in a circle. Whoever was saying the oaths that day broke the silence...
Do you give your word that you'll speak and pursue the truth, come what may?
Do you give your word that you'll strive to be brave in the face of fear?
Do you give your word that you'll make every effort to be a brother to the men of [redacted]?
May we all be bound by our word.
We rotated between two types of debates. The first one was a one-versus-one debate called “The Punch” and the second one was a one-versus-all debate called “The Crucible.” For both debates the person who was in the Answerer role had to follow these rules…
You have to say what you believe to be true.
You have to answer at least one question.
You cannot interrupt the Questioner.
They also had to have their eyes closed. The Questioner could basically do whatever they wanted: interrupt, lie, yell and overall be really nasty. There was no physical assaulting though, even though it got close once.
For The Punch: the Answerer and Questioner role rotated every five minutes, for a set number of rounds. For The Crucible: whoever was in the Answerer role had to bear a verbal onslaught from all of the men for 30 minutes.
Sometimes we went after the Answerer’s propositions, calmly dissecting their philosophical positions. Other times we went after inconsistencies in their character, shouting at them like a boot camp sergeant. It was best to mix things up to keep the Answerer off balance.
I tried not to show it, especially since I was the guy who co-designed the whole thing—which I’ll just call The Club for now—but I was always nervous being in the Answerer role. The Club happened in-person every week at a secret location. It felt like church to the men who were members, and it was only men who were members.
So yeah, I was a leader in an underground men’s “debate club” where we yelled at each other week after week.
It was intense and intensity can feel really fucking good. The experience of what I’ll call “truthful flow” also felt really fucking good. The best thing you could do in the Answerer’s role was to speak what you believed to be true. There was no room to hide really. No clever wording or bullshit responses could work. The rules were designed in such a way that you would be exposed, so you might as well just expose yourself.
It was beautiful actually, being in a state of truthful flow despite whatever verbal shit was being thrown at you. Once you cultivate a discipline to really map your word to the spirit of truth it is like you are gifted some sort of spiritual protection, as the state you enter feels transpersonal, and it is like something is being channeled through you.
We had a rigorous screening process, with three layers needing to be passed before one became a member. All the men that joined The Club were super intelligent and had decent emotional intelligence as well. Sneaky fuckers were not allowed in. It was not only ethnically diverse, but intellectually diverse as well. We had a Buddhist, a Catholic, an Atheist, an esoteric, an ex-Antifa member, and a Stoic or two.
These men not only sharpened me, they broke me. Any intellectual arrogance I had before The Club was broken down after it. We had to bake in an “aftercare” session though, as things got pretty intense, so we rotated weeks with one week being more therapeutic in nature, like a traditional men’s support group. It goes without saying, but I do not recommend doing something like this without taking great care.
The Club was a fucking beautiful experience. I believe it helped cultivate what Igor Grossmann at The Stoa yesterday called a “perspectival meta-cognition,” traits his research sees as integral to wisdom: the capacity to take multiple perspectives, to balance viewpoints, to adapt to context, and to maintain epistemic humility.
It also deeply informed me how intertwined and enmeshed somebody’s philosophical worldview is with their psychological schema. When exploring all the different memetic tribes in the noosphere, I not only can articulate their professed propositional stances, but I also have a sense of the underlying psychic schema of the people who are drawn to them.
I am not claiming I know exactly what their schemas are. I am also not engaging in a fallacy where I am dismissing their positions just because an unconscious motivated reasoning is occurring on their part, as their positions could still be true. I am stating that a schema is there though, interacting with their surface positions in ways they seem largely unaware of. I mention this because I am deeply sympathetic to Socrates when he claimed the unexamined life is not worth living.
Just like how we started each meeting, we ended with oaths…
Do you give your word that you won't speak about what goes on in [redacted] outside of [redacted]?
Do you give your word that you'll speak and pursue the truth with those outside of [redacted]?
Do you give your word that you'll strive to be brave in your everyday life?
May we all be bound by our word.
I may have broken one of the oaths by writing about The Club here. The thing ended though, and when something ends you may need to write about it, especially when you sense that thing might make a return.
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