I am excited to announce that for 2021, IGC Publishing will be hosting a Sententia discussion series. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for quite some time, and have attempted before in various formats to varying degrees of success, so hopefully this forum will help finally promote the concept. Twice a month, I will post a “Sententia” here on the site, and it will be open for comments and discussion, the idea being to foster original thought and productive conversation about complex, relevant, and interesting topics.
As a strong proponent of self-improvement, especially learning through reading, not to mention a self-proclaimed introvert, it might seem counterintuitive that I would be seeking to put together a discussion group to cover many of the topics to which I have frequently devoted my private study. There is a fundamental drawback to this individualist method, however, and that is the limited perspective. No matter how I might try, I can never achieve independently the variety of perspectives, and plethora of original insights, that can be drawn so readily from a multitude. Thus, I am seeking to undertake this endeavor. If this explanation makes it seem like a fundamentally selfish project, you would be correct: it is selfish. In fact, it is my desire that each and every person who chooses to participate in it will derive selfish gain from the discussions on which we embark.
I make no claims to any special authority, wisdom, insight, or other qualification that might suggest I be the one to run such a group, which is why it is intended as a gathering of equals, not some manner of extracurricular “class.” I am merely serving as a facilitator, a catalyst, someone who is interested in providing the impetus to bring such a forum as this one into existence, hopefully to the betterment of all involved. As the discussions progress, I have every hope that others will also bring forward topics and questions for discussion, and the whole point, of course, is for all of us to contribute our ideas, perspectives, and thoughts.
A “Sententia” will be posted here on IGC Publishing on the second and fourth Sunday of every month. I have a list of topics already made that will keep us going for quite some time, but I also encourage you to consider sending in topics and ideas that you would like to see discussed by the uncommonly erudite audience which this site surely attracts. Each Sententia post will consist of a brief description of the thought or problem, and a discussion prompt. Sometimes, I may include relevant reference material or some brief background on the subject or why I chose that thought. Once the post is live, it’s up to you to provide comments and discussion on the topic. I will be active in the comments section, but will not necessarily provide my own thoughts/opinions on every Sententia post. I don’t have any special claim to authority or insight on these topics, so I do not want to detract from the discussions that I am hoping will take place amongst the readers and writers who frequent this site.
If the format is successful, we will consider extending the Sententia series into future years. Since there is no commitment required on your part, and you can choose to comment or not comment on any particular Sententia with whatever frequency you wish, I am hopeful that we will get a wide variety of participants, including people who are interested in all of the posts, and some who may only comment on certain posts. Although I intend to stay away from the most polarizing and controversial topics, the point of this is to discuss and consider hard questions that don’t have clear answers and that might fall into categories that are considered fraught: politics, morality, philosophy, and so forth. I sincerely hope that all of our participants will be respectful and mature about this, and I will be moderating the comments with that in mind.
Originally, this was going to be called the “Big Thoughts” series, but it turns out that particular appellation has already been taken, so I went with “Sententia,” which is Latin for “Thoughts.” So if anyone asks you what you’re so busy typing about when you’re working on a reply to one of these Sententia series posts, you can say “oh, I’m just crafting a response to a Sententia.” After all, using Latin and Greek names to make things sound more important has a long and reputable history.
You are, of course, welcome and encouraged to share this series with others, and I really hope that you do. The more unique perspectives and contributions that we can gather, the stronger the Sententia series will be, and the more useful and productive it will be for all involved. I will be building a link into the main menu on the site specifically for the Sententia series, so you will be able to direct people right to the source.
It would be nice to think that the group and type of people who would be interested in participating in a forum like the Sententia series discussions would be of the mature and respectful variety that would not have any need for a discussion policy, but in the interests of transparency and facilitation of good discussion, I have decided to include a brief policy here, intended to facilitate the kinds of productive conversations for which I created this series. After all, even the Founding Fathers were given to surprisingly vitriolic and eloquent personal attacks, which we would here prefer to avoid (the vitriol, not the eloquence – please be as eloquent as you want).
- Avoid personal attacks. This is about the ideas, not the people behind them.
- Try to avoid growing too attached to an idea or concept. Just because someone is criticizing your idea doesn’t mean that they’re criticizing you: they might not even know you.
- Remember that this is not an exclusive forum. Whether someone is presenting their ideas in verbose paragraphs studded with polysyllabic terms, or as a bulleted list, those ideas can be just as valid.
- Be open to other viewpoints. After all, that’s intimately related to what we’re attempting to accomplish through this little project. We will likely dive into issues that are sensitive and divisive – politics, religion, morality, present day controversies – and it is my hope that we will get widely differing perspectives and opinions on such matters. To do that, we all have to be willing to consider viewpoints that might normally be anathema to us.
- Remember that there may not be a correct answer. In fact, in many cases, there probably won’t be, as much as it pains the engineer in me to admit it. For this forum, two mutually contradictory ideas can be equally valid.
- Feel free to reference outside material. I suspect many of us may end up deriving a great many additions to our reading lists from these discussions. If you do reference outside material, please include sufficient information that someone else could find the resource for themselves.
I will also plan to make this post, with the details and discussion policy, linked to each of the Sententia series posts for easy reference.
I really to hope that you will consider participating in the Sententia series. There is a lot of potential here, and room for the kinds of conversations that it seems are had all too rarely these days. It seems that the internet has a tendency to foster a sense of distance that allows people to become more and more entrenched in their own ideas, and to be unwilling to accept the humanity of those who might hold opposing ideas. Hopefully, this forum will allow us to use that powerful medium to the opposite end, to bring people with very different ideas and perspectives together to consider rationally all sides of an issue. The Sententia series posts will be part of our efforts here at IGC Publishing to develop and offer educational content in addition to our literary content.
Remember, Sententia series posts will go live for discussion every second and fourth Sunday of every month. Follow IGC Publishing to be notified every time a new post goes live for discussion, and remember to share the site, and the Sententia series, with your friends and family.