new - from the Old English niwe ... meaning "fresh, recent, novel, unheard-of, different from the old, untried, inexperienced"
symposium - from the Greek syn "together" + posis "a drinking" ... meaning "a drinking party or a convivial gathering of the educated"
Because the Greeks did not drink at meals, they sometimes gathered after dinner to share their drinks and to engage in a stimulating but agreeable conversation, to listen to some special music or just to enjoy some common amusement ... all of which became known and anticipated as a "symposium".
So it should come as no surprise that when the New Symposium was conceived in 2013, we hoped it could become a series of much-anticipated evenings when friends, enemies and strangers alike could meet with one another ... as members of the same community ... to share a drink ... and to engage in the kind of thoughtful and respectful dialogue that is so seldom experienced in our modern world of political propaganda and social media sound-bites ... but which still characterizes men and women of good will when they take the time to step back and logically think things through together.
With a little help from thoughtful friends at Northfield School of the Liberal Arts, Eighth Day Institute, and most recently Friends University, New Symposium Society has gradually grown to become a 501c3 non-profit corporation with a Board of Trustees who understand and believe in a world where dialogue is rescued from the corrupting influences of special interests and returned to the common people [demos] from whom it must once again draw its strength [kratos] if we are to function as free men and women who are fundamentally self-respecting and self-reliant but thoroughly capable of acting collectively on shared principles with respect for one another.
One final procedural note. The currently active symposium will show up on the "Next Symposium" page [which is the blog's "Home" page to which you will always be directed when entering the blog]. The "Announcements" page will contain info about planned future symposia. Past symposia can be found in the "Post Archive". The "Symposiasts" page will help everyone involved understand how we plan and perform a symposium using different formats ... so read it, lend a hand and do your part. Thanks!
And so on behalf of all those who gather at the New Symposium Society, we extend a hand of greeting and welcome to you ... and an invitation to join us from time to time for an evening of deliberation and dialogue about subjects, new and old, which are shared by and important to us all ... individually and/or collectively. Please come.
The Trustees of New Symposium Society
We can think of no better words to leave you with than those of Socrates.
"Follow me then, and I will lead you where you will be happy in life and after death, as the argument shows. And never mind if some one despises you as a fool, and insults you, if he has a mind; let him strike you, by Zeus, and do you be of good cheer, and do not mind the insulting blow, for you will never come to any harm in the practice of virtue, if you are a really good and true man. When we have practiced virtue together, we will apply ourselves to politics, if that seems desirable, or we will advise about whatever else may seem good to us, for we shall be better able to judge then." Gorgias