What we're about
Are you familiar with the 17th - 18th century French Salon (http://www.bdavetian.com/salonhistory.html)? This is our approach.
Intelligent Discussions. We need them!
In today's society in general, and in the United States in particular, we seem to have reached a point in which "political correctness" has become so overpowering and overwhelming that people are choosing "niceness" over honesty. It's become more than just the norm: it's become expectation. We are supposed to "be nice" at all times and all costs, even when that means being disingenuous. It's a hurtful and dangerous slippery slope.
As a society, we need to explore all aspects and nuances of our surroundings, our behaviours, our patterns and our tendencies (and the consequences thereof), and oftentimes these subjects are "touchy" or "hot-button issues." But this is precisely why we need to have these conversations: these issues have gone down in infamy as "touchy" because they are important. As members of this society, we must learn to tolerate, even actively seek these conversations and handle them well: they need to be had. How can we address the issues when we're not even willing to have the conversations?
The purpose of this group is to find like-minded people who are willing and able to sustain intelligent discussions about important, even touchy issues, during normal social circumstances, without feeling overwhelmed, uncomfortable or reacting defensively. The goal is to socialize in different types of situations and circumstances, while maintaining our minds and dispositions open to lively debates and intelligent discussions, whether or not they actually occur in the natural flow of the setting. When a discussion does occur naturally, we should be willingly and actively engaged and participant, and we should take joy in said participation and learn something from it.
The ultimate goal is to be able to move conversations from superfluous subjects to engaging discussions about serious issues and back again, without anyone feeling discombobulated or expressing aggression or violence. This ability takes a certain level of civility, even keel and masterful will (as well as engaging intellect), and a view towards perceiving and accepting debates and discussions as opportunities for growth and learning, rather than as "stressful, uncomfortable situations" or a chance to "change minds." Ideally, we should feel happy about the opportunity to connect and share with others in this manner, as well as in other ways and levels of socialization.
Disagreement need not be evil. People of differing opinions need not be enemies; they can be allies instead, helping one another through the collaborative use of their unique perspectives.