What kinds of topics are forbidden? Because of what we say? Or how we say it? Are we conversationally policed by ourselves or by others? Is there a difference between conversations face-to-face and eye-to-eye and those indirect conversations fed through social media? Can Café Psychologique be a laboratory that can bring us into dialogue with forbidden topics?
At its July meeting the Café applied its unusual format of mutual and unstructured discussion to our experience of forbidden topics. The openness to, and the uncertainty of, what to say brought the topic alive. There was no trouble and we were well-mannered.
We worked across two dimensions: memories of forbidden topics in childhood and feelings of forbidden topics in the room right now.
We wandered far and wide.
We worried that emphasis on authenticity and personal honesty was passing away with the older generation and in the face of the great volume of information and communications and media was leading the younger generations to turn into operatives of discussion rather than fully human participants in conversation.
We wondered if the forbidden topics for each group had to be addressed for a healthy psychology and democracy to thrive.
Finally we touched upon what could not be said here in the café because of its forms of speech tied to personal experience.
In the process we opened that intriguing space where the personal becomes political and the political becomes personal. At which point time was up.
Steve Potter introduced the Café Psychologique on FORBIDDEN TOPICS on 15 July 2014