Monday, March 16, 2015

Chapter 1 ~ What is the question? ~ Socrates Café

I have no idea where to start, so I'll just ask you to talk about what you got out of each section of Chapter 1 ~  What is the Question?
Socrates Café
Seeking Socrates
We're Socrates
Who Is Socrates?
What Is the Socratic Method?
A Dialogue of One
The main thing, as I understand it, is to ask questions and then question the questions.  So what's the first question?  Who is willing to start this conversation?

"Can I ask you a question?"
— Socrates
(quoted on page 1)


Shirley said...

Although questioning is the key premise with the Socrates approach, to be successful/fulfilling it would require sincerity on the part of both the questioner and the person being questioned.

The Socrates Cafe movement is intriguing, but I am not sure I'd feel comfortable in such an environment. It sounds like some people participate primarily as listeners who tend to reflect over the conversations later which sounds more like my style.

The initial discussion on insanity was interesting. It reminded me of the grandmother who told her granddaughter that everyone is crazy, but me and thee and sometimes I wonder about thee.

My proposed first question is: Would you feel comfortable in a Socrates Cafe setting?

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Excellent question, Shirley, and I'd have to say that I'm not sure how comfortable I'd feel in a Socrates Café group. I wish one of us in this discussion had such a group nearby, thus providing a feeling for how it is conducted. Knowing me, I'd probably speak up, simply because I'd want to know answers to questions I'd have. Or I'd want to know if there were others present who thought (or questioned) the same things.

Another question to consider: Have you ever had a friend who would discuss life's deep questions with you?

Shirley said...

At first, I couldn't think of anyone other than sometimes in this book group that I have had deep discussions. However, I then thought of my friend Peggy and the discussions we had. Most of the discussions were via snail mail (she had moved to Atlanta when we were in 4th grade yet we kept in touch) with infrequent phone calls and a few visits in our adult years. Unfortunately, Peggy lost her battle with cancer 30 years ago.
For the most part, most of the discussions I have with friends avoid life's deep questions. Even my solo Socrates Cafes usually avoid this type of questioning.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Here are some quotes from this chapter:

A regular Socrates Café attender (p. 28): "Doesn't it seem like if we did nothing else the entire evening but ask one question after another, we might reveal more about who we are than if we tried to answer any one of them?"

I've long thought that it's more important to find the right question than have all the answers. It seems the author agrees, as shown in the next quote.

Woman on the phone gets a better question (p. 31): First she asks, "What's the meaning of life?" When the author challenges her, she comes up with "What gives my life meaning?"

The first is too broad, but the second question must be personal. I'm not you or anyone else, so what give MY life meaning will be different from your answer. I love to learn and think about ideas, which is why Socratic questions may be right up my alley.

She keeps going deeper as she continues to question herself (p. 32): "What I think I'm really trying to ask is 'What can I do to give my life the kind of meaning that makes my spirit soar, that makes me feel like I'm making this world at least a little bit better place to live in?'"

Asking myself the same question, I'd say it's getting people together around ideas, like here in my Book Buddies blog, where we think about what we read. We learn to look carefully at what's in the book by doing it together and seeing what others get from the book.

She's excited when she gets it (p. 33): "Until just now I hadn't realized that I've been so frustrated because I haven't asked the question in a way that would ever lead me to any sort of meaningful answers."

Yes! Meaningful answers to good questions!

Shirley said...

Formulating the question is a challenge indeed.

Book Buddies has been a thought provoking Cafe that has brought me not only good reads for years, but also stretches of deeper thought not only about the books but about life. Thank you, Bonnie, for providing this.