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Those sorts of gatherings can go different ways, depending on the content, participants, and timing. I'm sure individual temperament plays a large role as well. At their best, they can be "mastermind"-like gatherings where you can achieve nonlinear leaps in understanding and insight through the participation of the collective (participatory knowing, a la John Vervaeke https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/theory-knowledge/202101/john-vervaeke-s-brilliant-4p3r-metatheory-cognition). At their worst, they can degenerate into hollow and smarmy affairs.

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