When I was studying international relations at the Australian National University, I was told a story that has stuck with me ever since.
The story was about Hedley Bull, a famous Australian scholar of international political economy. He developed a theoretical approach to international politics known as the English School.
It was in reaction to the dominant theoretical approach known as realism.
The details of these theories aren’t important to what I want to say here.
Rather, I’m interested in Hedley Bull’s thought process.
He was famous for successfully debating with his adversaries and putting the English School approach on the world stage.
Hedley Bull’s secret?
He says he would sit by the side of his opponent and study their ways of thinking. He would only debate with them once he could explain their perspective better than they could explain it themselves.
I would like Ideapod Discussions to be a place where we develop the skills of arguing with others in a way where the person doing the arguing becomes more enlightened in the process, just as the person we’re arguing with as well.
And crucially, I would like Ideapod Discussions to surface discussions where the reader becomes enlightened from reading it.
By “enlightened”, I don’t mean it in a spiritual sense. I just mean that we develop our understanding or become better informed in a general sense.
Ideapod’s purpose is to be a platform where people can be united in developing ideas (even when we disagree). I think this is important in an age when ideas polarize us.
As a platform, we’ve always had a strong emphasis on social ideas, or collective understandings. Concepts that shape how we think, who we think we are, where we believe we’re headed.
My own passion comes not so much from developing ideas but from unlearning ideas. Breaking down what we believe to be true.
I believe that the rapid destruction of one’s own ideas, while retaining a strong connection with a sense of self, is one of the most important qualities one can have in the modern age.
Ideapod is very much about going on an inner journey in order to engage with the world around you in a different way. It’s got strong self-development tones, along with sociology, psychology, politics and a few other disciplines. As a publishing platform, we publish commentary pieces that are meant to be discussed. As an education platform, our online courses focus on helping people “unlearn ideas” and “develop their personal power” in the process.
I wanted to share these brief thoughts, and ask the participants here to familiarize themselves with the community guidelines.
Most importantly, please make sure in discussions to focus on the ideas being communicated rather than the people communicating them.
Please try to be civil in conversations and learn from the person you’re in dialogue with. If you disagree, that’s great. Please make sure to communicate things you disagree with from a place of humility and politeness.
Ideally, I’m hoping that together we can steer this forum in a direction where we could see a conversation develop between someone who viscerally hates Trump and someone who idolizes Trump (to use an example of a divisive figure). In this example, I would consider Ideapod is successful if the two people were able to learn from each other, without necessarily needing to change their stance (though it would be nice if they each did in some small way).
If you see posts that aren’t consistent with the community guidelines and the general sentiments expressed here, please flag the post. I would really appreciate your help with this.
Finally, please “like” any topics or replies that you appreciate. This helps to surface those replies in the emails that get sent out to users each week when they haven’t logged in. It shows them what Ideapod Discussions is about and encourages them to come in and check it out, which will result in this place growing and having more minds to engage with.
I really appreciate all of the early users coming in here and shaping Ideapod Discussions. It’s a new initiative of Ideapod, and we’ll continue to use this platform to host conversations in different ways.