A philosophical self-inquiry discussion group provides a non-dogmatic environment where people seeking to discover a true understanding of themselves and their place in the cosmos can work together. It encourages individual investigation and application of the teachings of people throughout history who have claimed successful discovery of the answer to the "Who am I?" question (see the Maximum Systems page for some examples). And it serves as a matrix where each individual's progress can be accelerated by helping and being helped.
Those who participate in the meetings find that they:
Become more self-aware.
Gain clarity and self-control.
Come to rely on their own authority.
Those who are willing to work on themselves find a structure
for accelerating their progress, including:
People to talk with.
In addition to the local resources, there is a wider group of people to affiliate with, some of whom have found an ultimate answer and are motivated to help you do the same. (See the Background note below.)
Perhaps most importantly, you will find friendship with others who see the goal of self-knowledge or self-definition as the highest goal of an individual's life and each individual's true calling and purpose.
These meetings were started in Pittsburgh, in 1997, by a member of the TAT Foundation, which encourages but does not monitor or
endorse its members' actions in the pursuit of self-realization. Offshoots have formed in Gainesville and Tallahassee, Florida, If you're interested in looking more deeply into what TAT has to offer, check out the TAT Foundation site, which includes a list of additional local groups guided by TAT members and a monthly e-zine, the TAT Forum,
with essays, poems, opinions and humor on seeking and finding answers to your deepest life-questions.
Ebbs & Flows:
Questioning beliefs is an uncomfortable activity, so these meetings are unlikely to draw or maintain more than a handful of people at a time. We may have averaged half a dozen attendees over the years. What keeps the effort alive is a commitment on the part of one or two people to keep the meetings going "come hell or high water." There are periods when activity is on the upswing and other periods where the pendulum swings in the other direction. Here's the report from C.B. of a surprise that occurred at a meeting of the Pittsburgh group:
So something really cool happened last night at the PSI meeting . I started the meeting completely tired and unprepared, and only P. and J. showed up. I was really irritated and I didn't want to be there, and I opened up to them and I told them that I didn't know why I was there, that I don't know why we're even having this group and that I don't even know what the point of the group is after all these years. That I know we're supposed to be there to help one another on some ladder and do work, but I don't know what that means.
And really I was just venting, because I thought this would be the last meeting because I am done with it, and I didn't think they'd understand me at all. Because, you know, nobody ever understands me.
And then something almost magical happened. J. asked me if I believed in the process, the whole self-inquiry process, and he proceeded to ask me if I trust it, and why, and to look back and see what kept me coming all these years. And then P. asked me these questions about my motivation and what I want out of the meetings, and it was in that really convoluted way of his, and yet when he asked the question it made perfect sense .
And I think I saw it then. I couldn't quite put it into words, but all my doubts were answered. About the process, about group work, about what ladder work means. And it was in the most unlikely way, through the most unlikely people. In the strangest of ways, and I'll never be able to explain it to anyone exactly how it happened, J. and P. answered my doubts and made me believe in the process of the whole group work, when I was ready to give up on it.