So, I spent the weekend at Loving More’s conference in Philadelphia. It was, perhaps surprisingly to some, my first polyamory conference. I have participated in local events over the years, but my conference experience has been so far limited to a few atheist/skeptic conferences, one time at an animation conference, and that one time I hung out in the lobby with some furries at anthrocon when it was in Philadelphia some years back (probably 2005).
I met some pretty awesome people over the weekend, and I hope to see them all again. I got a chance to meet a couple of people from the Showtime series, Polyamory: Married and Dating as well as many other people who I found to be friendly, affectionate, and a lot of fun. To all of you I met over the weekend (And there are too many to list), I enjoyed meeting you all very much and hope to see you again. It’s strange how just a couple of days with people in compressed space and time can make you feel like you have known them a long time, and then they are gone….
Preconceptions and reality
I will admit that before arriving there, I had some preconceptions and expectations, being the cynic that I am. Loving More is run mostly by people who lean towards the new age/pagan side of things, and there was a significant element of that at the conference, but there is also a significant presence of people interested in science, who are a little (or a lot) geeky, and who are just extremely sex-positive, intelligent, friendly, and who know how to have a good time.
I got a chance to meet some people IRL who I have known online, even some people who read (or at least have read) this blog. And some of those people I will have a chance to meet again in Atlanta for the Atlanta Poly Weekend conference starting March 15th (that’s less than 5 weeks away!) This brings us to the future.
I am now very much looking forward to the conference in Atlanta, because not only did I have a great time, but I even had a chance to have a conversation about the relationship between skepticism and polyamory with a bunch of people. I even got to lead a discussion at one of the workshops, which gave me some insight on how to have such a discussion among poly people.
One thing is showed me was that there are quite a few people who are already skeptics, as I am, or who at least understand the issue (even if only somewhat) and who are interested in talking about or listening to discussions about it. But what I also learned (and this was what I was concerned about) was that there are some people there who have no experience with skepticism at all, and who have no concept of what it is about at all. Their experience with skepticism, atheism, and rational thinking in the sense that I use it here, and how it is used in the atheist/skeptical world, is almost null. Not only do they have new age and pagan beliefs, but they are almost completely unaware that there are communities of people who not only see their worldview as fundamentally wrong (and potentially dangerous), but that their worldview might not be unscientific in the slightest.
They are not stupid people, they are just living within a bubble of a worldview which, as far as I can tell, is completely delusional but largely internally coherent (which I knew). What I was not sure about was that some of them just didn’t know that we skeptics exist, or at least never think about us our the implications of our worldview upon their own. I am not sure how true this will be at the conference in Atlanta, but I will have to think about how to communicate the fundamental worldview conflict in case it is a reality there.
So, as I get closer to participating in a panel discussion with two other skeptically-oriented polyamorous people, I have more to think about. I am less anxious about it now (I’m sure that will chage in about 4 weeks), and will now focus on having more fun, talking with more people, and hopefully starting to define not only the nature of the questions, but perhaps finding a way to better include skepticism in the polyamorous world in such a way as to make us all better people.
Improving life through skepticism, or someshit.