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Philosophy Cafe - Cafe Philosophique Message Board › Break and Brake

Break and Brake

Jeff G
Oakland, CA
Post #: 182
This is a call for ideas that could be useful in any of our meetings.

You know what Break activities are, because we already do them (which is not to say we always derive great benefit from them). Everybody Knows, Personify, and Top Ten List are helpful because they get everybody involved in a shared activity (if nothing else, everyone can get a word in without having a "point" to make), and they help explore the theme (before it gets dragged into the particular concerns of one or two people).

If a break activity is really quick, like Improv Haiku, that is doubleplusgood, because it won't take much time away from the discussion proper, while still clearing the boards for something new.

A Brake activity, on the other hand, intends to SLOW US DOWN. The most basic brake is for me to interrupt long-winded speeches (and I need to do that more assiduously), but getting more people to the podium, while fair, won't necessarily effect a great discussion. To do that, people need to listen, both to what they themselves are saying and to what others are saying. But if at all times someone is speaking quickly (or at length), this is nearly impossible. We haven't tried any of these yet, though I mentioned 25 Words Or Less before the Money meet (should've used it!)–and you would be amazed how difficult it is to speak quickly while avoiding words that contain the letter "S".

Go ahead and post your ideas (links are fine, but how about a few words of your own, too?) on this board. I'll do one as an example.

Jeff G
Oakland, CA
Post #: 183
This article­. explains the concept of "disfluency," which describes the cognitive or perceptual burden something puts on us. Unfamiliar words, names, objects are more disfluent than familiar ones; unusual fonts and remoteness from us, in time or space, make things more disfluent. The surprising result is that disfluency makes people think more carefully, which can prevent mistakes! If that isn't a selling point for "brakes" or "friction," I don't know what is.
Jeff G
Oakland, CA
Post #: 184

This article­ is about technology designed to create "aesthetic friction," and it links to two product ideas designed to get people to think about their energy usage, creating a "dialogue without words." That reminded me of Leuky, and also of the times I've invited us to bring physical objects to the meeting (e.g., Attraction). Anyway, I think philosophy is an art form–aesthetics–and I want us to slow down–friction.
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