27 Jul 2012

Round Table, Recreated

by Maureen Lovett

In light of our recent Round Table series, we asked Michael Binns (a February Round Table attendee) to write a guest blog after his experience attending “The Art of Wearing Clothes.” This post is a guest blog by Michael. Enjoy!

Thinking is not something we usually cut out time for. Psychologists would indeed confirm that most of what you do is instinctual and ritualistic. Much of the intentional, laborious thinking that we do is manifested in our workplaces or in academia, where we have presumably become an “expert” in something, or are working toward that end. We are expected, in our specific fields, to keep up with the current lines of thought and even draw new ones. Thinking, however, is not solely for academic or vocational pursuit, nor is it a practice confined to those trapped in an ivory tower; simply put, it is being thoughtful about things.

In February, I went to my first Round Table. This is what those present were pursing – a life of thoughtfulness, even in the mundane and easily forgettable areas of life. We conversed for over an hour on how we are to dress, and what should inform our clothing styles and selections. Are there certain values that we ought to take into account when deciding what to wear when we go to certain places?

This conversation arrested me, which was certainly not something I expected when I walked into the room – people are trying to think deeply about things that actually matter, yet are lost in the shuffle to those things that appear to demand more attention. I, too, want to be someone who does not just live habitually, but is carefully considering the way I choose to live my life.

So, in March, I recreated Round Table. I have a standing Monday night meeting with 13 others. As I thought about what to discuss with my friends, I tried to parallel my current Round Table with my first one by choosing something daily and ordinary, something that we oftentimes do without much consideration. I chose eating. What values ought to inform our eating? How important is the setting and atmosphere when dining? Is there something intrinsically meaningful (as opposed to just instrumentally beneficial) about consuming food? These are some of the questions we batted around.

We are all people who inevitably live by certain values, values that we hold to very dearly. While some hot-button ones scream loudly, demanding that we give more attention to them, there are others that we ought to let inform how we live our lives. To not think deeply about these and to not carefully consider how we are to do even the smallest of tasks is to give into a ritualistic, instinctual, and (by extension) thoughtless life.

May we not be people who passively yield to this lifestyle, but instead be people whose lives are proactively formed by careful consideration and thoughtful reflection.

For more information on Round Table, read our recent description on the event when Piedmont Council for the Arts asked us, “What New City Arts programming are you particularly excited about?”

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