Susan Bird posts about the origins of the word "symposium," and how far we've gotten from its original meaning. From her post:
In a museum of Etruscan artifacts in Cortona, Italy, I was struck by an exhibit that explained the word symposium comes from the Etruscan practice (weâ€™re talking 7th Century, BC here) of gathering people to have a conversation about something important. It gave testimony, said the exhibit, to the need for a leader to reinforce the community of consensus on an issue, critical to the retention of the leaderâ€™s power.
Does that sound anything like any seminar you've been to recently? Should it? I believe it still should be a conversation (not a lecture, a conversation) about something important, but not necessarily something to bolster a leader's power. It's interesting to ponder on this hot, hot afternoon, anyway.