Seeking out conversation

There are few things I enjoy more than a spirited discussion.

There are few things I enjoy more than a spirited discussion.

It could be about anything at all, really, as long as those involved in the conversation are passionate about what they’re discussing and, at least to a certain degree, things stay civil.

It’s always rather amazing just how excited a discussion like that can be.

I mention this not because I’m trying to tell you a little something about myself, but because the Philosophers’ Café series is starting up again this fall here in Summerland.

The first event was held on Oct. 14 at the IOOF hall and the topic of conversation was discussion entitled: Confucianism in the Modern World:  Are the teachings of Confucius and his disciples relevant to the modern and post-modern industrial societies?

Confucianism was the dominant ideology of culture in China for nearly 2,000 years and its effect was felt through Asia, drifting into countries like Vietnam and Japan and some of the ideals that were put forth by Confucius can still be felt today.

This year’s first event was moderated by Rene Goldman, who is a frequent contributor to the Philosophers’ Café series and is always worth listening to.

Goldman is a retired UBC professor of the History of Chinese Civilization, speaks many languages and has travelled and lived all over the world, including a five year stint in China.

For those not familiar with the Philosophers’ Café, it is an event organized around a discussion topic, which varies from Café to Café and everyone is invited to come out and share their ideas, listen to the ideas of others and to engage in a little friendly debate.

Past topics have ranged from the importance of the arts to economic development in small communities.

For more information, you can find the Summerland Philosophers’ Café on Facebook.

If you’re looking for something that’s a little more hands on to do this fall, or if conversation isn’t really your thing, the Summerland Arts Council has a great line up of fall classes for artists of all calibers, from classes for those looking to expand their existing skill set to introductory courses for anyone out there who’s always wanted to try something new.

For instance there’s a whittling workshop being held at the end of November that sounds like it’d be a blast for someone like myself, who’s never managed to whittle anything more than just a pointed stick.

For information on the courses offered by the Summerland Arts Council you can visit their website,, or swing by the Summerland Art Gallery on Main Street.

Douglas Paton is a Summerland writer and musician. If you know of a local arts and culture event, contact him at