Up until now, I’ve been sending out newsletters sporadically, every few months or so, consisting of simple updates about what new posts I’ve published and anything else I’ve been working on. I didn’t want to clutter up my subscribers’ inboxes and figured a “somewhat consistent” email with quick news and updates would suffice. I’m also a firm believer in digital minimalism, so I didn’t want to be spending too much time online and consequently demanding that my subscribers also spend too much time online.
But lately I’ve been thinking about ways to have more fun with the newsletter while sticking to my philosophy of digital minimalism for all involved. Could I offer more than simple updates to those who have so graciously signed up? How could I make their subscription more worth their while?
To that end, I concocted the Monthly Dialectic: A Somewhat Consistent Newsletter. I’m sure the format will evolve over time, but I’m thinking it will comprise an ongoing journey into science fiction ideas through a philosophical lens.
If you’re not familiar with the term “dialectic”, here’s a quick definition from Wikipedia:
“In classical philosophy, dialectic (διαλεκτική) is a form of reasoning based upon dialogue of arguments and counter-arguments, advocating propositions (theses) and counter-propositions (antitheses). The outcome of such a dialectic might be the refutation of a relevant proposition, or of a synthesis, or a combination of the opposing assertions, or a qualitative improvement of the dialogue.”
The Socratic Method, after the philosopher Socrates, made this method of getting at the truth famous. Again from Wikipedia:
“The Socratic dialogues are a particular form of dialectic known as the method of elenchus (literally, “refutation, scrutiny”) whereby a series of questions clarifies a more precise statement of a vague belief, logical consequences of that statement are explored, and a contradiction is discovered…The principal aim of Socratic activity may be to improve the soul of the interlocutors, by freeing them from unrecognized errors; or indeed, by teaching them the spirit of inquiry.”
So I’m thinking the format of the newsletter will follow this dialectic method of thesis/antithesis, or proposition/refutation of the various ideas I encounter reading through the best science fiction stories of all time. Science fiction and philosophy overlap so much and one of the main reasons I love sci-fi is because it explores all sorts of interesting ideas about humanity, AI, ethics, government, politics, etc.
I’ll send the newsletter out once a month to maintain the “somewhat consistent” cadence and to stick to a digitally minimalist style.
I think this is going to be fun!
Subscribe to the newsletter at the bottom of this post if you’d like to join me on this dialectic journey!
*October 30, 2022, Update to this post. I’ve changed the nature of my newsletter from one that sees me sending a separate newsletter once a month, to one that sends out my blog posts instead to my subscribers. You can sign up at the form below and receive my blog posts straight to your inbox.