In today’s meeting, I introduced the topic of freedom of expression and freedom of speech, and asked what the members of the group believed that it entitled them to. Although this was not, strictly speaking, linguistics, it would lead on nicely to what I planned to talk about in our next meeting (involving our command of languages and the way in which it shapes cultures and/or ways of thought – or, indeed, whether it does at all). The discussions were made interesting above all by the fact that there was some disagreement amongst the members of the group as to what this right really did entitle us to, and when to draw the line as it infringes upon the rights of another.
By the end of the meeting, when we began to see the nuances a bit clearer with the help of the discussions, having learnt from voicing our thoughts and the responses of others, we arrived at a general consensus on what constituted the ‘right’ to speech, and the moral responsibilities involved.
A new member joined, and it was nice to see the group expanding as the conversations began to become more in depth, with more members involved. These meetings have confirmed my belief that discussions can lead to the formulation of new ideas, greater elaboration on the old, and can provide fantastic intellectual stimulus with a group of interested, curious people.