As Ralph Waldo Emerson noted in a letter to his brother William, an intelligent conversation is like “being set in a large place.” It enables you to “stretch your limbs and dilate to your utmost size.”
And it was Carl Sagan, the ever-popular science icon, who put together a list of tools for the examination of ideas. His methods are valuable whether those ideas are scientific in nature, or emerge from analyzing literature. Sagan reminds us to “try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours,” that any conclusion we may have reached is “only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge.” Bearing this initial advice in mind, Sagan also admonishes us to “encourage substantive debate… by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.”
Emerson and Sagan’s combined observations sum up what we’re doing here quite nicely. Which is… participating in an intelligent conversation that enables us to “dilate” to our “utmost” capacity for thinking and acquiring knowledge. And we aim to do so by engaging in an exchange of ideas about books that have been banned, from “proponents of all points of view.”
That said, Emerson also pointed out that “character is higher than intellect” alone. So when you contribute to our conversation, keep in mind that because we’re talking about banned books, this blog will often discuss sensitive social issues, and topics of a political nature. Critiques are welcome, and differing opinions expected, but in the words of Buckaroo Banzai:
Don’t be mean.
We don’t have to be mean.
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