Something Good to Do

Marlene says:

There have been a few things lately that I have thought about discussing here. Today’s decision on Prop 8 here in California is one. Another is the details of protests around the re-writing of the gender identity disorder section of the DSM at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. I’m not writing about either of them today. They just make me tired.

Instead, I’m going to say a little about something that might move the world away from its current frequently irritating form. The thing that might make a difference is careful thinking. I know this won’t turn the world to a better place overnight, but it might be a more tenable solution than screaming as loud as I often want to these days.

I have been taking part in a four-session long reading and recreation of Plato’s Symposium. I guess you can’t get much geekier than that.

For those of you who don’t know, the Symposium is the one where Socrates and his friends are sitting around with hangovers talking about what love is. The group reading I’ve been doing is a fairly straightforward thing. What’s really special is that the third meeting is a workshop on erotic writing and the fourth is the group sitting around a table, eating and drinking, and giving our own declarations about what love is (really Eros, which is more lusty than the English word love). This is serious high geekiness, but it’s been an awful lot of fun.

The discussion along the way has been first rate. The group is being led by D Rita Alfonso, who also runs the Think Philosophy salons. The salons are evening long discussions that Rita leads with a group on a subject chosen for the night. For those of you in the Bay Area, the next one is June 15 and will discuss “What is Queer Kinship?”

I have to say, I’ve been having a great time. I won’t detail any insights in to Eros I may have, but I will say that sometimes there is nothing more refreshing than an argument with someone who is actually listening and actually thinking.

In a world where it feels like we spend too much time arguing with idiots, I’ve found an unexpected and re-energizing way to get the brain moving when it stops.