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What’s Your Triple Package?

Are you… practical...empathetic... imaginative...persistent... intuitive... open-minded... curious... creative... logical... rigorous... enthusiastic...cooperative... passionate...? These are just some of the thoughts collected on the flipchart in preparation for the recent Socratic conversation What's YOUR "Triple Package"? Discovering and Activating Your "Signature Strengths" to Design Your Success, moderated by Ron Gross, author of Socrates Way and Co-Chair of …

Posted 18 days ago by Jennifer Govan

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Would It Kill You to Talk about Death for an Hour?

In fact, it didn't! Participants adopted a lively, healthy approach to discussing the Inevitable at a recent Socratic Conversation conducted by Ron Gross, co-chair of the Columbia University Seminar on Innovation in Education. Spurred by Sam Harris’ video, It Is Always Now (which looks philosophically at the present moment and why it’s important to live …

Posted a month ago by Jennifer Govan

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Feeding Our Flame: A Campfire Conversation to Fuel Our Resolutions for the New Year

Happy 2014! Marshmallows-on-sticks to hand, a group of 16 conversationalists gathered in the Socratic circle to fire up the New Year. While books on display focused on themes of gratitude, commitment, and life change, comments on the flip chart sparked thoughts for new beginnings: Better health. Finding three new good friends. Need more income to …

Posted 2 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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Re-Designing New York City: What Are Your Ideas?

An aspiring group of urban re-designers met recently to share ideas at one of the Library's monthly Socratic conversations on how to improve the quality of life in New York City.  Suggestions covered a gamut of inspiring possibilities -- greater sociability and concept of the neighborhood, more green environment, less waste, active citizenry, stronger schools, …

Posted 4 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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Do You Have a Soul?

Twenty-two brave souls addressed this question at the Library's monthly Socratic Conversation on November 7th, conducted by Ron Gross. They started by viewing an arresting short video of the renowned psychologist Carl Jung, author of Modern Man in Search of a Soul, talking to his own soul, illustrated by beautiful paintings from his famed Red Book. Jung's colloquy began: …

Posted 5 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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Design Thinking Practiced at Socratic Conversation

Design Thinking was practiced at the Socratic Conversation held on Thursday, September 19th with Ron Gross, group facilitator, author of Socrates’ Way, and Chair of the University Seminar on Innovation on Education. Participants viewed a brief video of David Kelley, a leading champion of Design Thinking who co-founded IDEO and teaches Design Thinking at Stanford. After critiquing the …

Posted 6 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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On Creative Aging

Creative Aging was the subject of a Socratic Conversation with Ron Gross on Thursday, May 30th.  Participants discussed new ways to thrive and contribute throughout our ever-longer life-spans -- for our parents, our grandparents, and for ourselves -- if we're lucky! Gross began by noting that Socrates himself reached the peak of his powers at …

Posted 10 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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Love Now, on Valentine’s Day

"LOVE Now" was the subject of a Socratic Conversation on Valentine's Day, in which a couple of dozen discussants looked at the topic from as many different angles: romantic love, of course, but also love of country, love of family, love of God, love of humanity, and...yes, love of learning! One participant, noting the …

Posted 14 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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What Does Progress Mean to You?

Who can argue with Progress? Everyone, it seemed, at a spirited Socratic Conversation on that subject among a dozen diverse TC students on December 6th. Several of the conversants remarked that their quality of everyday life had declined over the past few years -- attributing war, economy, rising tuition, job scarcity, and recurrence of natural disaster. …

Posted 16 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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What Did You Learn from the Storm?

As New York continued to struggle with the devastating aftermath of Sandy, participants in the Socratic Conversation conducted by Ron Gross on November 15th struggled with the learnings emerging from the experience. Photojournalist Diane Cohen  exemplified such learnings: “Finding myself alone in the dark, I began to realize that the independence I had always assumed …

Posted 17 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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Laughing Matters!

Socrates himself found humor so irresistible that he couldn't resist making jokes about his prosecutors and about his Athenian jurors, when he was on trial for his life -- thus getting himself into even more hot water! That observation launched a laugh-filled -- but at times sharply philosophical colloquy -- about humor, at the Socratic Conversation conducted …

Posted 19 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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Who Changed Your Life?

Who Changed Your Life? was the question which propelled the SOCRATIC CONVERSATION conducted by Ron Gross on August 9th. The session opened by noting President  Obama's observation that "none of us have achieved what we have achieved in life, on our own.  We all had people who were crucial to our development: teachers, parents, friends...."   Then, …

Posted 19 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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Fellow Citizens, Your Credo?

Do You Have a Professional Credo? Should You? These were the questions which propelled the Socratic Conversation conducted by Ron Gross on July 12th. With the timely approach of annual performance appraisals, we shared our professional credo detailing five core characteristics of library staff -- a credo holding strong since its 2004 conceptualization: Individually Agile and …

Posted 21 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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Debriefing Socrates – Money and Values

Should Money Buy EVERYthing? This was the question which propelled the Socratic Conversation conducted by Ron Gross on June 14th, inspired by the new book on that subject by Harvard professor Michael Sandel. The participants explored the ethical issues raised by such current practices as paying students to get better grades, selling tickets to "free" …

Posted 22 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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War, Money, and Socratic Highlights

Can We Stop Wars? was the subject of the Socratic Conversation conducted by Ron Gross on Friday, May 3rd -- and a prevailing view of the discussants was "Follow the money!" A conflict resolution practitioner with experience ranging from Israel/Palestine to the Philippines said, "All wars are really over economic interests." Another participant advised: "If …

Posted 23 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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Survival of the Kindest

In a supremely Socratic conversation How Can We Make Good Things Happen? we learn about people’s favorite ideas to help others --organizing a community program to assist an elderly woman “on a stoop,” converting an empty hospital into a homeless shelter run by and for the homeless, providing low-cost education and training to adults in …

Posted 27 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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Debriefing Socrates: Why Do We Do the Right Thing?

Our recent Socratic conversation brought up many interesting observations, chief among them: The sheer entanglement of factors: conscience, reason, science, emotions, religion, tradition, upbringing, education, law, honor, fear, biology. We can’t always explain the motivations for doing the right thing. There are differences between a civic society and a moral one. We need to listen …

Posted 29 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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Pondering Virtue

Howard Radest, Dean Emeritus of The Humanist Institute and a member of the National Council of Ethical Culture Leaders spoke recently at the University Seminar on Innovation in Education. His talk, “Can Virtue Be Taught? Character Education Isn't Enough,” delved deeply into complex moral and philosophical questions about virtue, aesthetics, dialogue, dialectic, teaching, learning, …

Posted 29 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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Debriefing Socrates: Singlism, Marriage, Partnership, or…? What’s the Right Choice for You?

What are our options in long-term relationships today?  How free are we to choose what suits us best – and how free should we be? Are our choices constrained by stereotyping and discrimination? Among the questions addressed in this session were: 1.   What choices for your long-term relationships have you made, or are you considering? 2.   …

Posted 29 months ago by Jennifer Govan

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“Singlism”, Marriage, “Partnership”, or…? What’s the Right Choice for You?

I attended the Socratic Conversation on Nov. 3, 2011.  The topic of the session was: "Singlism", Marriage, "Partnership", or...? What's the Right Choice for You?.  During the session, people from different cultural backgrounds (India, South Africa, Japan, Brazil, China, and U.S.) shared their unique (but to some extent, more or less similar) perspectives on how …

Posted 29 months ago by I-Ching

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