Why Your Voice Matters

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Volume 01 Issue 07

How’s it going everyone?

Welcome to the 7th issue of our official newsletter! Use the button below to view the full PDF edition of this issue, complete with images and links. The raw information about our announcements this week is as follows:

Why Your Voice Matters

Let’s say you find yourself in a conversation about science, politics, culture, or in another complicated intellectual topic. You have something you want to say, but don’t necessarily have special education or related experience with consideration to the subject at hand. What should you do? Whether it be in our weekly meetings, online, or in other interactions, we hope that you always have the courage to share your perspective.

There is a mountain of reasons that we can each use to shy away from participation. Of course, patiently and thoughtfully listening is always a wise option. But today, we are talking about those moments in which we have something to contribute, but fear that we are not properly qualified to do so. Engaging in the forum, even when treading outside of your comfort zone, can have meaningful benefits to all involved. Here are five reasons why your voice really does matter:

1. Your Perspective is Unique and thus Carries Intrinsic Value

There are ideas that have only ever existed in your mind. You have seen and experienced things no other human being may ever fully understand. Likewise, you have made connections and insights that the world may never know.

Why not share your unique thoughts? Even if you feel that adding your two-cents from the perspective of a mother, a farmer, a college student, a cancer patient, or a veteran isn’t that glamorous, helpful, or relevant, it still may add an additional dimension that enriches the conversation.

Your fellow freethinkers want to hear what you have to say because it is you who is saying it. A Free Thought Forum is the place where every kind of person can have their voice heard.

2. Thinking-Out-loud is an Important Part of the Learning Process

In order to enjoy a fine meal, you may need some time to let it cool, to chew, or to cut it up. When we are exposed to big ideas, we can likewise benefit from exploring them, deconstructing them, and volunteering alternative viewpoints and interpretations.

Engaging verbally with the other participants with the goal to “try out” or wrestle with a concept is a powerful mental exercise. Asking plenty of questions, rephrasing or summarizing an idea, agreeing on definitions, using the Socratic Method, and playing the role of “a devil’s advocate” are all techniques that can deepen the understanding of all involved.

3. Sometimes the Experts are Wrong

Can you imagine the kind of nerve it took for Edwin Hubble to publish his findings on the expanding universe, knowing that they would conflict with Einstein’s accepted idea of a cosmological constant?

History is filled with those brave enough to question the conventional wisdom of their day. The vast majority of “experts” of the past have been usurped by humanity’s march of progress, fueled by newly discovered facts. We are all better informed today as a direct result.

Admittedly, it is not realistic to expect armchair philosophers to crack the mysteries of the universe or solve the complex problems afflicting society. However, We can’t forget that blind obedience to the prevailing theories of the day is antithetical to the mission of a free-thinker.

If you don’t understand what the experts have to say, bring it up! Such an honest approach can help everyone better comprehend an important issue. If you disagree with what the experts say, be prepared to state your reasons. If your arguments are refuted, you are now better for it. If your arguments hold weight, then you have opened the door to even bigger and better questions.

A good rule of thumb is to seek first to understand an idea before attempting to replace it. With that said, we should never let a good answer keep us from finding a better one.

4. You May Say What Others are Too Shy to Say

Not all of us are comfortable speaking up in a public setting. If that is true of you, then you may be familiar with the relief that comes when a bold friend asks the same question that was on your mind.

Others may have their reasons to pause or remain silent. But wouldn’t it be a tragedy if a meaningful conversation was snuffed out because no one was willing to get it started in the first place? Since the goal of each conversation is to enrich, enlighten, and empower all involved, it is alright to risk being offensive, sound silly, or expose some personal flaw.

We are all in this together. Fear of judgment should be the last thing on the mind of a member of a Free Thought Forum. Therefore, if you think there is a comment or question going unsaid, why not say it? A quiet member of the crowd may be tremendously, albeit secretly, grateful.

5. It Allows your Ideas to be Challenged or Corrected

At a cruising speed of around 550 miles per hour, an airplane that is just one degree off from its true destination can quickly find itself dangerously off course.

There is no shame in discovering that you are mistaken. Freely submit your view for review in the minds of your listeners. The additional brainpower may detect errors, logical fallacies, or problems that you may not have been able to find on your own, allowing for quick and personalized course-correction.

Switching to a Monthly Newsletter

It is true, all good things must come to an end. Based on your feedback, our Executive Board has decided to adjust the frequency at which new issues of our newsletters are sent out to our subscribers and posted to our blog.

The eighth and final issue of “The Monday Memo” will be released on August 5th, 2019. On the following Monday, August 12th, our replacement newsletter will be introduced and distributed on a monthly basis. (There will be no need to unsubscribe to the Monday Memo or to subscribe to our new newsletter as all mailing lists and settings will be carried over to the new format.)

Our monthly publication will boast a more elaborate presentation, rich with multiple writers, articles, and reoccurring features. Switching to monthly distribution will also reduce the number of emails sent to our subscribers. We hope you are looking forward to it as much as we are!

Utah Valley Group CALENDAR

  • Aug 4 – Feast Sunday & Support Circle

  • Aug 10 – Volunteer Project: Springville Animal Shelter Clinic

  • Aug 11 – The Epic FIRST Meeting for a NEW Draper Group! (We will not meet in Springville on this date.)

  • Aug 18 – How to Moderate Public Discussions

  • Aug 25 – Great Ideas From Sikhism

  • Sep 1 – Feast Sunday & Support Circle

  • Sep 7 – Volunteer Project: Payson Animal Shelter Clinic

  • Sep 8 – Human-Caused Climate Change

  • Sep 12 – Volunteer Project: Spanish Fork Animal Shelter Clinic

  • Sep 15 – The Ideas and Ethics of Baruch Spinoza

  • Sep 22 – Wisdom Festival (Secular Autumnal Equinox Celebration)

Draper Utah Group CALENDAR

  • Aug 11 – The Epic FIRST Meeting for a NEW Draper Group! (We will vote on future meeting dates, times, and topics at our first meeting.)

Social Media Watch

How many people have we reached this week? Here is a quick update:

  • YouTube Subscribers: 61

  • Freethinkers on Meetup: 61 (Utah Valley) and 66 (Draper)

  • Pinterest Monthly Views: 534

  • Facebook Page: 21 (Likes) 23 (Follows)

  • Minds Page Subscribers: 27

  • Discord Server Members: 16

  • Instagram Followers: 9

  • Bitchute Subscribers: 5

  • Reddit Followers: 4

  • Twitter Followers: 5

Coming Soon to our Online Store

The official store for the Free Thought Initiative is now under development. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements about our hats, jackets, new-and-improved volunteer shirts, tote bags, lapel pins, mini-flags, and more! All proceeds will go to funding our activities as a nonprofit while you walk away with some smart looking swag!

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Written By Nicholas Burk, Executive Board Member © 2019 Free Thought Initiative