Socrates Café is a community meetup started by Christopher Phillips.  The idea is simple:  a group of strangers meet in a public place–a café, a bar, a park, a church, a prison, a hospital–and talk about big ideas; mind-bending questions; matters of ultimate concern.  It is not a competition, but a collaborative inquiry; or rather, it IS a competition, in the original sense of the Latin word, “competere,” to “strive together.”  Strive for what?  Greater clarity in our lives; a deeper understanding of our world; a more solid foundation for our beliefs; a closer fit between our beliefs and our actions; and many other elusive, but essential, intangibles.

Think of all those fascinating conversations you had with roommates in college staying up until 3am–now imagine you weren’t as dumb and naive as you were in college (or you might see it as a way to rekindle the same passion and verve you had in those college conversations!), and you’ve got something like what Socrates Cafe aspires to.  It’s a mashup of community organizing, shooting the breeze, mental gymnastics, and an exercise in democratic citizenship.  Think about it:  people sit silent and alone at coffee shops, bubbled in their tech-pods, often reading and writing and thinking about interesting things; why not unplug from the cloud and plug into the community around us?

Socrates Café is a nonprofit, trademarked, volunteer, community-creating ethos, and Chris Phillips has kindly granted us permission to don its mantle.  Please help us carry on and channel the spirit of this important civic enterprise with grace and vigor!

Come as you are.