September University: Summoning Passion for an Unfinished Life
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Sept-U Dialog

Start your own September University Discussion Group

Pick a Topic
Invite Diverse Opinion
Agree on an Objective
Discover Points of Disagreement
Discover Points of Agreement
Agree to Disagree
Keep it Civil
Keep it Going


Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Aristotle argued that true happiness has to be connected to some kind of contemplation.

Sept-U is an effort to take full advantage of both of these bits of wisdom.

Socrates may have overstated the case, but not by much.

Ask yourself this question: If someday in the future if you look back in time to this very moment, how would it stack up? Would it be the best time of your life? Would it be experience worth repeating? And, if not, whose fault would it be?


 Sept-U is About Reflection and Perspective. 

 Time is short.

 Let’s make the best of it. 

 Chit-chat, unchallenging work and undemanding entertainment can be both fun and relaxing, but too much of them can be debilitating.

 Uncertainty and tumultuous change can be healthy if we perceive them to be.  


 Dialog

So, what do you really care about? And why do you care? If you hear the better argument will you accept it? Or do you simply want to argue?

Do you believe that genuine dialog can lead to the better argument?

September University's latest blog has been posted at: http://septemberuniversity.blogspot.com/

You are welcome to comment!


 Some Thoughts on Civil Discourse

 One of the major goals of Sept-U is to promote civil discussion about the many divisive issues that put us into opposing ideological groups, do little but foster contempt, and nothing to solve the serious problems we face.  Listening to media pundits gives the impression that America is a hopelessly divided country with little room for dialog. But the most divisive arguments take place among those segments of both political parties that represent the extreme right or left position. So, simply by taking part in a dialog about our differences, the vast majority of those of us nearer the middle can defuse the rhetoric, search for and find common ground.


 How Do We Begin?

Several questions have to be asked:

What problems do we think can be resolved?

What problems are hopeless? 

How much do we really know about the issue?

Have we done our homework?

How many books, studies, research papers, and newspaper and magazine articles have we read on the subject?

If we haven’t done our homework, how can we possibly expect to succeed or be qualified to discuss the issue?


 Some General Guidelines:
 

·       Pick a topic.

·       Do an Internet search for groups already engaged in discussion on this subject.

·       Learn all you can about it.

·       Look for opposing views.

·       Learn why people have these views.

·       Determine your own possible misperceptions.

·       Attempt to discover where alterative viewpoints are mistaken.

·       Lay out your argument in cogent terms while showing respect for the other side.

·       Establish ground rules for civility: No personal attacks or name calling.  

·       Once you have begun and you feel your hot buttons have been pushed stop and think. Do not continue until you have calmed down.

·       Search continuously for common ground

Raised in the south I grew up with a deep-seated sense of honor in matters involving personal confrontation.  Born with a hot temper I wondered if I had the temperament to be a police officer. But what I learned to do as a police officer was to imagine that people who were insulting me (and there were too many instances to count) were talking not to me but to my uniform. It worked. I was able to talk people into going to jail peaceably who were used to fighting.  So when in a heated discussion I’m going to try to imagine that those who have pushed my hot buttons are speaking not to me but to my argument.

Below you will find a list of websites for engaging in public dialog. If you know of others that should be added to the list please let us know. In the meantime, you are welcome to join the Sept-U group.

Join the Discussion at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sept-U/


Other Web Sites for Dialog

America Speaks

The Appreciative Commons

The Berkana Institute

The Breakthrough Group

The Center for Wise Democracy

The Common Institute

The Compassionate Listening Project

Conversation Cafes

The Co-Intelligence Institute

CoVision

Fran Peavey and Crabgrass

The Fetzer Institute

From the Four Directions

Generation Engage

Global Renaissance Alliance

The Heartland Institute

The Institute of Noetic Sciences

Interaction Associates

The International Forum of Visual Practitioners

 Let's Talk America

The Mediators Foundation

The National Coalition for Dialogue

New Stories

PeerSpirit

Pioneers of Change

Powerful Non-Defensive Communication

The Public Conversations Project

The Socrates Cafe

Society for Organizational Learning

Speaking Circles

The Study Circles Resource Center


Your suggestions are welcome. If you know of any groups that should be added to the list above please let us know.

Charles D. Hayes  Email Charles at: autpress@alaska.net

September University's latest blog has been posted at: http://septemberuniversity.blogspot.com/

Join the Discussion at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sept-U/


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September University: Summoning Passion for an Unfinished Life

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September University: Summoning Passion for an Unfinished Life

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© 2014 Charles D. Hayes
P.O. Box 872749 - Wasilla, Alaska 99687
907-376-2932 voice & fax
E-mail: autpress@alaska.net 

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