About Daniel Hecht’s blog junto

The term “junto” — yes, junto, not the more familiar “junta” — is “a small group meeting in secret for a common purpose,” or “a group of men united in some secret intrigue; a cabal.” These have spooky connotations, but secret intrigue is  not what’s intended here.

I first encountered the term several years ago when I stumbled onto a reference to Benjamin Franklin’s junto, a social club he founded in Philadelphia in 1727.  The group met regularly for 30 years to discuss important ideas — values, economics, philosophy, government, science, and business — for the enjoyment and edification of its members and, ultimately, of society.

In that sense, a junto is like a salon.  Wikipedia defines a salon as “a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation . . . Salons, commonly associated with French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries, were carried on until quite recently in urban settings.”

Actually, salons are not so uncommon among Vermont artists.  They differ from parties only in that conversation isn’t limited to small talk; they encourage poetry reading, thoughtful monologues, musical performances, and focused discussion of cultural topics.

A blog is perfect for the purposes of a virtual salon/junto.  It has broad reach,  inclusivity, asynchronicity, interactivity, archiving, linking, and nonlinear content-structure potential.  That is, in some ways it’s even better than a bunch of people yakking it up in a room!

So that’s what this blog is: a junto, a salon.  Everyone with something relevant to say is invited to participate.  I am beginning the blog with personal reflections on exceptional individuals I’ve met — “Meetings With Remarkable People” — but this  site won’t be limited to a single topical focus.  I welcome comments and guest posts  from others seeking engagement of this sort with a broader community.

9 comments on “About Daniel Hecht’s blog junto

  1. kristine bahr

    Good morning, Daniel
    I am interested in participating in life on a deeper thoughtful, spiritual way. I was given your blog info from a friend. I would like to follow your salon. Best wishes,Kristine
    P.S. I am having difficulty giving you my url -it was not accepted on “Leave a reply”. http://www.kbahr.co

  2. Ciska

    Good morning, Daniel

    Never joined a blog before so this is my first one. Have no idea how such a thing works. But I am open to new adventures. Am I happy to join this salon, I think?!
    I want to thank you so so so much for the dr. Cree Black books! You write about the gift of empathy as it is and you write precise how it works for me. Integer empathy is scarce and often unconscious.. But first I will let you know that I am Dutch so my english or american english is not always correct. The method of dr. Cree is scary similar to mine. The tuning in to questions of cliënts in my profession as aurareader (earlier called psychic reader) is close to how this works how you describe in your books with Dr. Cree. I feel as Sherlock Holmes who is looking for criminals but I am looking for insights/answers from cliënts questions.
    Empathy I use not only for my cliënts but also for introspection for my own life difficulties and happiness. Land of Echo’s I recommend to persons who are serious curious but has no image or feeling what aurareading is.
    Question: is this blog open also when a person is not a member or open only to members?
    Privacy is important to me becauseI am not an exposure deer.

    And the waiting for a new dr. Cree book is unbearable.

    1. danhecht@myfairpoint.net

      Thank you, Ciska,
      I am glad to hear from a Dutch reader, because I love the country and very much enjoyed my book tour there. My home state, Vermont, is most like the Netherlands in political temperament and social policy. And thank you for your kind comments about the Cree Black books. As for this blog: You don’t have to “join” as such; just visit when you like, comment when you like. It’s a fairly new endeavor for me, too. Based on what you’ve told me about your own work, I think the first post — Meetings with Remarkable People, which talks about Gurdjieff and Ousspensky — would interest you. Also the posts about Nina Gitana, a remarkable person and one who demonstrated the reality of telepathy and other “paranormal” abilities. As I have said, I hate the terms “paranormal” and “supernatural,” because I think all phenomena are natural. I would be happy to hear more comments from you about your own experiences.


        I keep looking for new Cree Black mysteries. This time I decided to pursue you and found your blog-junto. I am fascinated by the work of Dr. Gene Cohen on creativity and aging; so your recent posts caught my eye. I have a discussion group on LinkedIn: Aging and Spirituality – Second Half of Life Ministry. There are several discussions about music and expressive arts therapy and spirituality. I invite you and your fans to come comment. If you like what you see feel free to invite people to your blog-junto.

        1. BRIAN McCAFFREY

          I forgot to mention that I used to haunt the Minnesota Coffee Houses. I remember sitting for hours listening to John Fahey, Leo Kotke, Spider John Koerner, Dakota Dave Hull, Sean Blackburn, Peter Ostroushko, and Anne Reed (before Prarie Home Companion). You’ve stirred very pleasant memories.

          1. danhecht@myfairpoint.net

            Hello again —

            Yes, Minneapolis was a hotbed of folk and new eclectic music! I played a couple of times at Positively Fourth Street (do I remember that right?) and very much enjoyed the enthusiastic audiences up there!

        2. danhecht@myfairpoint.net

          Brian, thanks for you comments! I’m sorry to be so late in replying, but I’m very grateful for your suggestions regarding Dr. Cohen and your discussion group on Linked-In, and I plan to look into both of them today! My understanding about creative processes, play, and identity continues to grow, thanks to recommendations like yours. About Cree Black: I have several other stories of her in my head, but the next Cree book will have to wait until my current projects, which are moving slowly, are completed. Please stay in touch!

  3. Eunika Simons

    I just have to say I am glad to have found your online blog. I have read all your books and loved them!!! I love the Cree Black series and will stay tuned to see if another appears. I usually don’t post on blogs but I have been looking for updates on you and the books and when I found this blog I was compelled to write. Thank you for sharing your gifts with the world.

    1. danhecht@myfairpoint.net

      Well, thank you, Eunika. I really appreciate your kind comments, and they encourage me to write more. The book(s) I am working on now do not feature Cree, but I’ll bet you will find some similar characteristics in the people in them. I don’t know if you have visited my website, but the woman who is relating the tale “On Brassard’s Farm” — I put an excerpt there –has a lot in common with Cree.

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