Categorized | Meetup

August 16 Meetup: An Intellectual Orgy

SANY0108

When we started this group last February, we did so with a Big Bang. But after only several months our progress has been like evolution. Or even evolution in reverse.

Interest dropped, with fewer members attending the meetups and events. The mailing list and online forum didn’t have as much activity as they used to. Morale was low. We didn’t even have events for June and July, and aside from the meetups (now every other week because of the lower demand), we don’t have a big event planned for August.

But sometimes, something happens that reminds us why we continue to do this.

Last Sunday, 12 people came (12 3 times more than the usual). 5 regulars, 5 new, 2 only showing up after a long absence. Although not as many as the 26 we had on the first meetup, the group bonded just as strongly. We shared stories and had fun like we were old friends instead of new acquaintances. It was particularly special for the new members.

Cat has already written about her first time. Here’s RG, another new member, on how he felt about the experience:

It was like “breaking the fourth wall” for me, to finally be actually looking at and speaking with like-minded people face-to-face and in the flesh, for the first time in my twenty-year journey of free thought. This was how it was for me this afternoon when I attended the meet-up at Shangri-La – a “coming-out” of sorts as well as some kind of coming home.

This afternoon was a turning point that I know I will often refer back to in the future, and a first taste of the fulfillment of a social and psychological need to relate that I had gone for so long without. I have an imagery in my mind of myself as a straggly hermit (gray shaggy hair, staff in hand) tiredly stepping up to the top of a hill and there gazing in bewildered disbelief down the valley at a bustling metropolis of hundreds of identical-looking hermits with welcoming smiles.

I wish to humbly thank all the members of the FF group who were there this afternoon and who welcomed me into the fold. Coming home, my journey seems to have just begun. Thank you, family.

And here’s Mikee, who arrived late, but was instantly at home:

I had a great time getting insights from the people who attended, people who argued, people who talked on the sidelines, and people who just listened.

The ‘in vino veritas’ session was even more engaging. The talks shifted from formal to personal. Insights, experiences, afterthoughts wafted through the participants. Phenomenological existentialism over san mig light I suppose.

The whole event is an intellectual orgy of sorts, the kind of action I missed when I was still a philo student in Beda.

We hope to share this fellowship with more freethinkers in our country. In a place where you will probably be discriminated, shunned, or even attacked for your nonbelief, it is a treasure to break the routine of isolation. Especially with the occasional orgy or two.

 
DISCLAIMER: The opinions in this post do not necessarily represent the position of the Filipino Freethinkers.

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