No philosopher can be an island. You can read a lot and think a lot by yourself, but you can only truly measure the value of ideas when you bounce them off other people. I've been extremely lucky this year to have people who have been willing to challenge my ideas and inspire my thinking. So if you have commented on this blog, sent me emails, or have met with me over cups of coffee sometime during 2009, I want to thank you. Your willingness to discuss ideas has been extremely valuable to me.
But most of all I want to thank a great group of friends from Art of Soul, a film and literature discussion group that Cori and I belong to. Meeting one evening a month, the group discusses spiritual and philosophical aspects of popular films and books. I want to thank Barbara, Curtis and Melanie (the three founding members of the group), as well as Jacomien, Salomè, Futhi, Sylvia and others for fascinating discussions on topics ranging from violence, peace narratives, the Holocaust, atheism, the meaning of religious belief, and white South African guilt. Some of the ideas I've posted over the last year can be directly attributed to you guys, especially the posts Where is the virtue in martyrdom and Is a person moral if they simply obey the law.
So thank you for your willingness to share, but more importantly, thank you for your willingness to listen.