HowTheLightGetsIn, the World’s Largest Philosophy and Music Festival, is set to return to Hay-on-Wye for 2015. HowTheLightGetsIn
London is a haven for private members' clubs. From the traditional centres of St James and Mayfair, to Shoreditch and Kentish Town, our appetite for such clubs shows little sign of abating. With the launch of my own club, Library, just weeks away what light can the colourful history of these clubs shed on their continuing appeal?
Firstly, that while chaos is really very lovely in a coastline or a forest or a cup of tea, I'm not convinced it would be much fun on a global scale. I'd miss Radio 4 and I've got used to the idea that my Co-op always has a ready stock of chutney. Secondly - and far more importantly - I'd be out of a job if I couldn't think up ideas that weren't actually likely to happen.
Some may think of anonymity as a modern phenomenon enabled by media and technology and its ability to help people hide their true identities. Or others may believe it's a relic of the past, when no one seemed to care who writers were at all, and destined to disappear in our digital age. But the truth is far more complex.
Some gay people might feel that finding a gay gene might diminish prevalent homophobia, but this is naive. Racism has not diminished because we know that blackness or whiteness is genetic. But scientists still treat us like rats in a lab and look for 'causes'. I have been told I am a lesbian because my mother smoked and drank whilst carrying me.
HowTheLightGetsIn, the philosophy and music festival at Hay-on-Wye, has just finished its fifth outing. To find out how the
G.K. Chesterton said that "when people stop believing in orthodox religion, rather than believe in nothing, they will believe in anything". One of the ersatz religions which fills the void in recent years is belief in catastrophic man-made global warming. It claims to be based on science. But it has all the characteristics of an eschatological cult.
Do we need a new story to give us the determination to influence our political masters and mistresses into taking action? Do we need a new story to change our own beliefs and habits into something resembling more closely the ways of our ancestors?
Technical advances alone cannot dictate our future. We must decide whether we are a part of, or apart from, Mother Nature, the natural systems that provide us with life-giving services. Our discussions on climate change should impel us to ask whether we care enough to leave our future relatives with a world worth inheriting.
The Vietnam War is, of course, in retrospect seen as a PR disaster for US power: the spectacle that eventually emerged of the world's greatest military force applying its full weight and technological prowess against peasants and the very land on which they lived was an ugly one.