Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Atlanta Objectivist Society Update

I've been working on two big new projects in 2010 (in addition to the three growing projects I have living here in the house with me, the fun project of being married to Brendan, the rental cabin, keeping up with the blog, thinking, reading, having fun with friends, and improving my health, among other things).

The first project is Cultivating the Virtues with Kelly, which has been a blast so far, and promises to be more interesting in the coming months. The second project has been the Atlanta Objectivist Society.

The topic of last night's OLists Twitter party was community Objectivist groups. It was a fun hour, but boy does it go by fast, and Twitter is sometimes not the best medium for big discussions (but it's great at stimulating lots of ideas!).

I've been working on AOS stuff all day off and on, and we've got some great things ahead of us, but you may not be aware of this if you're not part of our Announcements list or a member of our Facebook page. So I thought it might be fun to share an update on our group here.

We are still having our monthly socials on the third Tuesday of each month. Anyone with a sincere interest in Ayn Rand's ideas is welcome to join us. This idea--to start off with monthly socials--is one of the two greatest ideas I got from the folks at OClubs. I never would have thought to do this on my own, being the introverted type, and having a fairly well-established core group of Objectivists to call friends already. This social idea has been a great way to reach out and get to know other Objectivists here in Atlanta (as well as those new to or newly interested in Ayn Rand's ideas). Some people have come only once, to be sure. And that's okay. It's a great way for everyone to meet and figure out if we like each other well enough to spend more time together. Our next social is September 21, and we will continue these indefinitely.

Tomorrow night, we're going to listen to Earl give a presentation about his architecture project currently underway in Tennessee (read all about it at his blog!). Then on Saturday, we're going to go see it in person. This ties in nicely with a homeschooling idea I'm developing, so I get to kill two birds with one stone. Efficient, that's me.

We have several study groups in development. Kelly is leading a Latin study group, which sounds like fun and I'd so join if I only had a clone! Their first meeting is this Sunday.

One of our members will be hosting a Virtue of Selfishness study/discussion group.  The group will meet monthly and discuss one essay per meeting. The first meeting will happen at the end of September.

Brendan and another guy will be leading a bi-monthly Economics and Finance discussion group to talk about how what's happening in DC affects us, and so people can get ideas for making better investment decisions given the current state of things. Their first meeting will be during the first weekend of October (still trying to finalize details).

Let's see, what else? Oh yes! Our Fall Picnic will happen on Saturday, October 9, and Ansley is heading that up (let her know if you want to bring a potluck dish!). I'm excited for that--I think it will be great to have lots of activities where kids, family, and friends can join us.

Speaking of kids, we are going to have a semi-regular Objectivist Play Group and meet on Fridays at locations around the city. This will be a great way for those of us with kids to get together and for the kids to get to know each other, too. Details still forthcoming, but we did have one such gathering back in spring, and it was FUN.

We're going to have a Holiday Party in December (tentative theme/motto: Reason's Greetings!), too!

There are a couple of fundraisers planned as well (one for November, the other we're not quite sure when). This will help us offset the costs of hosting the website and paying for Facebook ads (which we're currently not running to save money right now).

This is an AWESOME schedule, don't you think? When I first applied to OClubs for their mentor program last year, all I had in mind was "Wouldn't it be great if we could have a kick-butt holiday party?" Now we have 6 Socials, a class on how to write LTEs, and of course, MINICON already under our belts, and all of this other fabulous stuff ahead of us.

And there's even really more going on! People are starting to coordinate their own events, and share ideas (yay!). Once we get the website that lives in my head to live on the internets, I think we will have tons of flexibility and options for people to coordinate just about any kind of event, formal and informal.

We've been asked by lots of people why our group has taken off in such a big way, because it really, really has. A big factor, no doubt, was the fact that we had a strong core group already in place, people who have known each other for years and years. That certainly helps, but is not the only factor in our success. Having awesome people who are willing to work toward our goal (both the people we already knew, and those who joined us after we officially got going with the Socials) is essential.

We are all working hard to build AOS up into the kind of community group we want to have--well, the one I envision at least--which is a group that will, among other things:

  • Be a resource for those in Atlanta (and surrounding areas) who are new to Ayn Rand's ideas and want to learn more; 
  • Provide social and study opportunities for those who want to learn more about Objectivism; 
  • Provide social and study opportunities for those who want to explore mutual interests (such as the Latin group); 
  • Support our local university groups; 
  • Promote activism and the spread of Ayn Rand's ideas (through LTEs, for example); 
  • And also, just have fun with like-minded folks who are actively pursuing their values--whatever they might be--with passion.

We are off to a great start!

PS: I've changed our Twitter handle to the Earl-inspired: @ATL_OS (ATLOS was already taken). Get it? Get it? Atlas? ATL_OS? :o)


Brian Fritts said...

Incredibly cool! Makes me wish I lived closer to Atlanta. It sounds much more organized than our Purdue days, but then again, you don't have Steve Hillis to add some flavor.

Earl3d said...

Thanks for the shout out! I had great time last night presenting and discussing the house, and I'm excited about the field trip!