Special Episode: Harry Potter with Grey Havens YA

We’re publishing a bit out of order! Today’s podcast features the kids and teens of Grey Havens YA, our weekly young adult discussion group. Our first Harry Potter discussion isn’t quite ready yet, but we couldn’t wait to share this one with you: a discussion about magical creatures, the definition of being, and distinctions between humans and creatures. Listen to young adults think in real time, and email us your thoughts to geekphilosophy@greyhavensgroup.org

What is Geek Philosophy? Part #5 Geekiness

Our series of posts on the principles of Geek Philosophy continues with an important, though often overlooked principle that comes right from the name: Geekiness. Why do we call it Geek Philosophy?


First, a disclaimer: Here at Grey Havens, we use the terms geek and nerd interchangeably. We’re not as concerned about the distinctions between the terms as we are about how being geeky and nerdy influences our lives.

eustaceIn our young adult chapter, Grey Havens YA, there’s a particular sentence we say at the beginning and end of every meeting. We call it a slogo. It’s a paraphrase of a quote from Wil Wheaton: “Being a nerd is not about what you love, it’s about how you love it!” We do this because we are excited about being nerds, and we want to create a culture of enthusiasm and inclusiveness. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen every episode of Doctor Who, or if you only like the Harry Potter books and not the movies, or if you agree on whether or not Han shot first– we all arrive at the table on equal footing. We acknowledge each other’s geekiness (or nerdiness) and encourage each other to share what we love and think philosophically about it. We don’t judge or try to one-up each other; there is no “Geek Cred” or “Nerd Card,” because it’s not about what you love, it’s about how you love it.

In a Geek Philosophy discussion, this idea helps us to stay whole-heartedly committed to the notion that nothing is trivial. We make no distinction between low and high art. In the midst of talking about a novel, a participant may be reminded of a web-comic or a YouTube video, and we welcome this interruption. Geek Philosophy can be full of tangents, and sometimes you just have to be open to twisting vines of nerdy thoughts and allow the strange new ideas to bloom.

To us, Shakespeare is on the same cultural level as Harry Potter; J.R.R. Tolkien is no less than Sir Thomas Mallory; George Lucas no less than H.G. Wells. A discussion about Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles can lead us into a breakdown of Baudrillard’s Signs and Simulacra, which then morphs into a discussion about Doctor Who, robots, and even the mobile game, Pokemon GO. It’s like the concentric circles we talked about in our Wholeness post, nothing is trivial and everything connects. Philosophy is for everyone, and we can find that base for philosophical discourse in all forms of texts – literature, film, television shows; the classics and the post-modern; the scholarly reads and the guilty-pleasures.

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Popular Culture helps us make sense of our world, even if we don’t quite realize it. Everyone engages in some way with popular culture. It gives many of us a significant part of the language with which we understand and speak about our world. (How many of you would know what I meant if I said that someone can be as logical as a Vulcan but as passionate as Anakin Skywalker?) It is the job of a Geek Philosophy facilitator to help us to better engage with the texts we love so much by allowing us to discover why we feel such a connection in the first place. What is it about a war in a galaxy far far away that pierces our hearts? Why do we feel the need to cuddle with our pets after we watch a wizard care for magical creatures? What could a time-traveling alien teach us about being human in the 21st century?

This is why it’s great to be a geek, and why we’ve built our whole facilitation technique around it.star-trek-laughs

We hope that you will join us in sharing your geekiness in community and taking what you love seriously. Visit our Community menu, check out our Philosophy in Public Spaces calendar, and follow us on Facebook to find the Geek Philosophy discussions that are right for you. May the Force be with you!

See you at Panera! P.S. You’re awesome.

Read all about an exciting opportunity on Monday to eat great food and help out Grey Havens all at the same time. You can also read more about why your support is so important to us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Grey Havens YA

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A couple of posts ago, we talked about Bags for Change, a fundraising program at Lucky’s Market Longmont from April through June. We are dedicating the funds raised through this program to help out Grey Havens YA because Lucky’s has asked us to designate a specific Grey Havens Group, Inc project. In our post, we explained why books are so important to us and how having a consistent book fund would really help us out and benefit our members for the rest of their lives.

However, I want you to know that when you support Grey Havens YA through Bags for Change, monthly donations, or our April 25th Panera Fundraiser (keep reading for more info), you are doing so much more than just buying books for us. Books are necessary and important, and they are also quantifiable and tangible. It’s easy for us to talk about them because we can tell…

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