Following on from our ‘conversations and confrontations’ last time (in August), this study circle has now developed into a theme group.
The objective of the theme group is to explore what does it mean to be an enlightened citizen in the present age (and are we indeed entering a new age of enlightenment or one of darkness). What would an enlightened community, organisation or person look, feel and be like (behaviour, character, motives, outcomes)? There is a need for a new enlightened model for how we can create/recreate our future, but will it come from the top or the bottom of our current power structures, or is a combination of both necessary for success?
The discussions will move away from the 18th Enlightenment and onto what is the appropriate form of Enlightenment for today (and even, how do we know when we are enlightened, for example, are we balancing our responses in terms of both 'reason' and more 'emotional' qualities such as kindness, compassion, connection and empathy.
Each meeting will come with something for us to focus on, for example, a short article to read in advance, or a short presentation to consider. I am currently identifying potential interesting ‘short presenters’ (i.e. not a lecture – the unstructured discussion with a little structure to get it going is valuable for emergent and unexpected ideas).
In the next few days I will post an article for us to focus our discussion on. This will set the agenda, direction and what we may want to achieve (goals) in the short time we have together. If you have something in mind you think would be good for debate, please message me directly.
For first timers, it is not necessary to have attended previous meetings in order for you to join in. The discussions are intended to provoke debate around conceptual and practical alternatives. How can we integrate both existing and better ways of living? What new frameworks can we create for a healthier concept of society and politics? And how can we use these to bring our systems back into balance - and align them with the right to prosperity and peace for all?
Outcome from the Original House Meeting:
In 2012, the first house meeting of this group agreed on the importance of shared meaning, on the need for more conversation (and less TV), more curiosity and imagination (and less fear and rigid thinking), more pleasure generated from accomplishing things and less reliance on our addictions and distractions - technology or otherwise. Enlightenment is a choice we all make as individuals, as communities and as a global society.
Context Behind the Original House Meeting:
The Enlightenment is a philosophical movement of the 18th century, characterised by belief in the power of human reason and by innovations in political, religious, and educational doctrine. The Enlightenment flourished until about 1790–1800, after which the emphasis on reason gave way to Romanticism's emphasis on emotion. Today the spirit of The Enlightenment is also being challenged as reason alone has not created an enlightened society.
How do we create a new spirit of enlightenment in the 21st century which is a ‘practical’ movement characterised by belief in the power of human sovereignty and by innovations in political, religious, and educational doctrine. Enlightenment has always been about breaking free of the restrictions of the mind, the belief structures that we have created based on our judgements of the results of past events. Today we need to do that more than ever but how - especially in an age when there are new dark forces challenging this process.
Kathryn Best is a writer, speaker, educator and consultant in creativity, design and business, and the author of 2 books on Design Management. Her new book on design and systemic change is due out next year.