Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well. But you already know that, don't you?

Today I want to introduce to you to my latest project Conversation Culture.

This all started as a meetup group I have been running for the past year. We would host events where a number of us would discuss talk about philosophy, science, politics and the like. I have decided to take this a lot more seriously, rebrand it and turn it into something bigger.

This is a whole initiative to improve the quality of the conversations in our culture, we will be hosting conversations both online and in-person on a myriad of topics spanning philosophy, politics, sceince and spirituality.

Click here to check out the Conversation Culture website

I first wrote about the concept in an earlier letter: A Culture of Conversation

Cancel Culture is the impulse to shut down disagreement, to remove the offending party from the picture so to speak. It's a very cynical move because it assumes from the outset that a real conversation can't take place.

Conversation culture is its foil. It's the firm conviction that we can make progress in conversation; that through the exchange of words and ideas we can come to an understanding.

The reason certain conversations seem impossible, those contentious topics such as religion, politicals and personal philosophy is simply because we are not used to having them. There is a lot we still have to learn about having a conversation.

It was a naive and fatalist mistake to assume that because we didn't seem to be progressing in conversation, that progress wasn't possible. Conversation is a skill like any other, and it is one that we as a civilisation are still getting our grips on.

The general philosophy of Conversation Culture deems that productive exchanges as being possible and worth having. The website will serve as a hub of information on the art of conversation, how we can improve and what mistakes we tend to make. Relevant pieces on politics, philosophy and science will also be featured.

More importantly we will be hosting events where we put these skills into practice. We will talk about philosophy, politics, science, religion and all of the controversial topics you know and love. We believe that no question should be left off-the-table and that disagreement isn't a reason for incivility.

We will walk right into the eye of the storm:

  • What is it that gives us meaning in life? Is this even a good question?
  • How should we run our societies? Capitalism? Socialism? Something else?
  • What does it mean to live a moral life?
  • How do we know what we know? What is it that makes us so confident in what we believe to be true?

These are the kinds of questions we will be prone to discussing.

We will be hosting these discussions on Zoom and everyone is welcome.

Go to the events page to see details on upcoming events as well as past events.

At the moment we have three coming up:

In defense of philosophy: An exploration of what philosophy is: why it matters and what it's relevancy to today is.

And two which I haven't announced yet:

1. Capitalism: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Where do free markets shine? Where do they fall? What are their limits? When is it the role of the state to restrain them, and how? Are there better and worse ways to do it? What kind of culture do we need for it to prosper?

2. The Politcal Spectrum

Sam Harris once said "We are at war with Islam". In his exchange with Maajid Nawaz, it was suggested that we need sharper language when dealing with large groups of people. A picture of concentric circles was invoked, with greater Islam on the outskirts, conservative and fundamentalists within it, islamist; those who are actively working towards a Muslim state within that, and jihad; those willing to use violence to install such a state in the centre.

While imperfect, these terms allowed us to speak with higher precision about the nature of the problem and the avenues from which we can approach it.

What if we could do the same with the political spectrum? What if it's time to retire terms like "left", "right", "conservative", "progressive" or "woke". These labels are becoming blunter and blunter tools to describe what people actually believe, where is society politically in 2021? Are there better ways of talking about it?

Let's get smarter about talking about politics!

Also, for those of you who are based in Sydney and are interested, we will also be starting in person events soon.

So that's where I've been, what I've been doing. For the past few weeks I have been busy working on the Conversation Culture website, which is now launched and ready and I couldn't be more happy with it.

Now that it's launched, the hard part is over. I will go back to writing every week like I used to. Expect more in your inbox soon.

Also, I often make events relevant to topics I've been writing about so at the end of these letters I will even let you know about future Conversation Culture events!

Well, that's it for me and now we return to our usual programme.

Thank you again, for being interested in what I am doing.

Stay well everyone,