The Dead Parrot Philosophical Society is a community formed for the sake of finding camaraderie with others who are willing to question themselves in order to find the truth. The Dead Parrots take for granted that the search for truth thrives in passionate, reasoned discourse with trusted peers (who may or may not disagree with them). By creating a safe environment for philosophical discussion the Dead Parrots create the opportunity for meaningful friendships and lives.
J.S. Mill argued that the unchallenged truth becomes a stale dogma. Reasoned discourse provokes one to find strong arguments for one’s opinions, and leads one to humility when strong arguments are out of reach. By making Dead Parrots a safe environment, being right is less important than being honest with oneself and each other. Dead Parrots is a place to explore old and new ideas.
According to Socrates, in order for one’s life to be worth living it must be examined, but I believe the examined life is not worth living if one’s theories do not influence one’s practices. The Dead Parrots not only search for truth, but they encourage each other to live their lives in accordance with the truth. This is achieved not through coming to a consensus about what is the truth, or what to do, but through challenging each other to work out how one’s ideas connect with the real world.
Here are some guidelines for the group in order to promote these values:
- Limit side conversations. They can be disruptive since it is a small group.
- Share the discussion with each other. It belongs to the whole group. This means being aware of how much you have talked in relation to others, as well as being aware of how much time is spent on topics uninteresting to the other members in the group.
- The group will write down discussion points at the beginning of each meeting, to be addressed during the conversation, in order to make sure everyone gets a chance to talk about the topics important to them.
- Keep each other on topic.
- Strive to tie in previous readings, while supplying a short summary for those who were not able to participate in the previous discussion.
- Limit references to outside texts, except when supported with a brief summary and explanation of why the reference is valuable.