In Ancient Greece, the Agora was a gathering place. It was a place at the center of the city-states where citizens came together to hear political speeches, to assemble, to debate ethics and philosophy, to purchase goods, to gain information, to converse, and to commence for military duty. It was a center of power, for prestige, for wisdom, for art, and for culture. We lack a bit of that in today’s culture. There are certainly centers of politics, culture and commerce in the modern age, but they are vast. They don’t seem to hold the same intrinsic value as they once had. They’re common. The goal of The Virtual Agora is to create a similar center of the past for the present age of technology. The Internet is an infinite space, but we must never forget its ability to connect. Now, more than ever before, the world is able to come together in one place. The world is able to read about and understand the plights of many. It is an age where we have the ability to see and know all, and we should never take that power for granted. It is our responsibility to converse, discuss, and learn. The Virtual Agora aims to be a place for many to read news, discuss events, post comments, promote ideas and art, and to generally be a member of a vast and global community.
In the style of Warhol’s Factory, Gertrude Stein’s Parisian home, and the salons of the Enlightenment and French Revolution periods, The Virtual Agora will be a gathering of minds. A hive-mind, so to speak. Articles and blog posts will serve as the “hosts” of conversations. Through comments and messaging, readers will be able to discuss topics and ideas, including those about politics, news, culture, art and entertainment. While this isn’t necessarily a new concept, The Virtual Agora will consolidate and aggregate, in order to be a solitary source of both news and conversation. The ultimate goal will be to expand the site, and offer a niche and regional platform for people across many locations and ideologies.
Being brand new, the site will – for the time being – mostly host posts from yours truly. It may seem like a personal blog for a while, but that is not the purpose of The Virtual Agora. I will post my own ideas, thoughts and perspectives to get the ball rolling, which will hopefully insight a series of discussions, and ultimately will promote others to submit and post their own work and writing. For now, I hope you enjoy what both I and this blog have to offer. I may not always – or ever – be right in how I perceive, but it’s a perception nonetheless. A point-of-view of one is never the point-of-view of all, but I believe it is vital that we understand and see many. In that spirit, I will also be hosting posts from friends and colleagues written on various ideas and topics.
Agora is the base term for “agoraphobia,” which is the fear of environments that are unfamiliar or perceived as dangerous and unsafe. It is an anxiety born from the unknown. We must never fear that which we do not know. We must always embrace, always acknowledge, always appreciate.
– Jacob Haungs
The Virtual Agora