“I didn’t know what I thought, until I heard what I said!” That’s how Arthur Isman describes his excitement about Socrates Salon, the Library-sponsored conversation group which meets on-line via Zoom.
Isman finds the group a stimulus to intellectual growth. “We find that we can move from the usual small talk, to ‘big talk’ on topics on which we each have a lot to learn from others with different perspectives.”
The Salon host, Ron Gross, is a 50-year resident of Great Neck who is an enthusiastic follower of Socrates, the fifth-century father of Western philosophy, who believed that conversation is the best form of lifelong learning.
Gross chairs the University Seminar on Innovation at Columbia University, and directs Conversations New York, a non-profit which provide opportunities for conversations throughout New York City.
“The Salon is part of a grand tradition,” Gross explains. “We’re reviving the heritage of the Salons of past eras, like Gertrude Stein’s in Paris or the Algonquin Roundtable in New York City, where lively-minded people gathered to share ideas, experiences, and friendship.”
The topics at the Salon are ones on which everyone has plenty to share based on their life experiences. Recent subjects have included Friendship, Luck, Compassion, Leadership, Gratitude, Choosing, Nature, Wealth, and Humor. Provocative readings and questions for discussion evoke stimulating responses.
“Everyone listens, and everyone talks,” says Patricia Maher-Brisen, another regular participant.
The group even has its own poet-in-residence, Hattie Abbey, who launches each session with an original poem on the afternoon’s topic.
The next monthly meeting on-line will be on Tuesday, Nov. 9, from 3:00-4:15 p.m., on “Let’s Celebrate the Holidays – Thoughtfully”. For an invitation to register and receive a link to join the meeting, or to be on the mailing list, e-mail to [email protected].