I know it sounds like a Fiona Apple album title, but it really IS the "theme" of this Salon! Whatever could it mean? Well, it's our job to give it meaning. While past themes tended to elicit standard associations, this one asks us to gather them ourselves. While a single-word theme can send us in various directions, the three parts of this one may influence us to make them overlap.
But we're not starting from scratch. (Is that even possible?) A "slippery slope" is an incline we caution ourselves to avoid, for fear of being "pulled" further down it by the lure of continuity: if it was okay to go as far as X, we say, then surely proceeding to X+delta is also fine. Yet we're aware than X+delta+delta+delta is not fine, so where do we stop?
Well, the "red line" proposes to settle that question. Note how, although it fits neatly into a landscape containing slippery slopes, it is more obviously artificial: red sticks out, and lines are not found in nature. (Or are they?) How do we make a red lines, and ones that work, and what are their costs?
As far as I know, "conditions of life" is not such a well-worn phrase (but it has a ring to it, no?), so we have even more leeway to interpret it. We might emphasize "life", or "conditions" (or maybe "of"?): it asks us to somehow bring together our (probably multiple) notions of what a "condition" is with what we feel constitutes a life, or life--slippery, bounded, or otherwise--in general.
If it sounds hard to you, that's only because there's no standard answer. (We cannot be wrong, though some answers will be perceived as better than others.) No one else has a prepared answer, either (and we certainly don't have to accept it if they do). Our best meetings tend to begin with uneasiness, with tentative probings--not a fervent desire to enlighten our fellows. Be open to discovery.
Thanks to Anthony, Barack, and my dear, departed cat, Izzy, for inspiration this month.