What is it?
Generally, a weekly chance to meet face-to-face and discuss a wide variety of intellectual topics, in an analogue fashion; the idea is to disconnect from the internet and to connect in person.
However given the current crisis we’ve moved the meetings online. The best way to stay up-to-date is to subscribe to the mailing list (below).
When and where is it?
Under normal circumstances we meet every other week on Monday nights, 7-10pm at The Sekforde on Sekforde Street, Clerkenwell. Nearest stations are Farringdon or Barbican. We send out emails to announce meetings; there’s also a Google Calendar for events.
The inaugural meeting was on 26 November 2018, with the second following on 3 December 2018. We are still going strong in 2020—online of course.
How do I get involved?
Please sign up to the mailing list above. You can also just turn up. There is no need to RSVP, and you won’t be able to contact anyone in attendance as their phones will be off. Don’t worry about arriving late or leaving early; you’re free to come and go as you please. There is also no commitment to attend regularly; come along whenever suits you.
What are the topics of discussion?
You can see summaries of the discussions under Posts. The initial plan is to cover a broad topic, theme, or question over a few months. Topics will be wide-ranging, and could include philosophy, literature, art, science, economics, or anything else of interest. No prior knowledge of a subject is required, and we welcome people of all interests and disciplines. At the start, I hope for the structure to develop organically, with an emphasis on maximising conversation while minimising admin.
Topics, optional readings, as well as recommendations from participants, will be disseminated via the mailing list and on this site.
Do I need to prepare?
There are optional assignments, but you need not prepare anything specific. Come as you are. If you have read, seen, or done anything related to the topic (or of general interest) in the recent past, you may wish to bring notes about it, since you will not have recourse to your phone, but there is no pressure to do any formal presentation.
The goal is an enjoyable and interesting discussion. We’re trying to navigate between the Scylla of the lectern and the Charybdis of a piss-up.
That said, if you are an expert or have a deep interest in a field, we would be very enthusiastic to hear how your field regards the topics we’re discussing, or for you to propose future topics.
Two optional assignments:
- Think of a theme or question you might like to discuss in future sessions.
- Bring a recommendation of a book, film, article, or anything else that excites you.
Are there any rules?
Please turn off your phone when you arrive, and bring pen and paper, along with any notes you might wish to refer to.
Can I bring friends?
Absolutely. You’re encouraged to invite anyone interested in taking part.
What about food and drinks?
Food and drinks are available at the pub.
What’s with the name?
It’s from the King James Version of 1 Corinthians 13. No, this is not a religious group. It is also the name of an excellent Bergman film. Here is a modern translation. The quote captures some ideas behind these meetings: Disconnect, to combat ignorance, by speaking directly to people.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Who are you?
I’m Bryan Kam. You can find me elsewhere online via the links here.