6 January, 2022: Piers Maddox, and an event Mon 10 January 2022

Some 60 people enjoyed Piers’ presentation on the ‘Path of rightness in time of civilisational change‘.  This proved to be what I took to be a poetic polemic and challenge to all as to how we live our lives (all, or Quakers, or Nontheists).

Unfortunately I had problems with the sound as did the auto-transcription which struggled a bit and I hope Piers might be able to let us have a script. But the sound recording is now on our Home Page (scroll down a bit there).

There was much discussion afterwards of the self-examination and critical thinking required to meet Piers’ challenge although some felt that his view of China was somewhat rose-tinted even if the current treatment of China in the media is largely war-mongering propaganda.

At the very end, Arin (from London and I think she must be a member of the Quaker Socialist Society) thought that Friends may be interested to attend (on Zoom) the first event of the QSS celebration of the ‘Salter Centenary‘ (details there) on Monday 10th January. Arin advised that if you don’t have the book (about Ada Salter) you can read the wikipedia page (largely written by the same author, Graham Taylor, who will be present at the zoom meeting).

To apply for the zoom link fill in the form on the QSS contact page, and perhaps mention Arin and the NFN as the source of your information.

3 thoughts on “6 January, 2022: Piers Maddox, and an event Mon 10 January 2022”

  1. Friends, in the discussion after Piers’ presentation I tried (and I think failed) to make the point that a search for a perfect or optimum way of living might be a worthy and necessary pursuit but it will probably be futile is we have a fixated understanding of the world.
    For example, if we believe that Quakerism (even if it’s non-theist!) or Buddhism or humanism or Greta Thunberg or Extinction Rebellion or the regime in China offers a total solution then we might be disappointed. There is a risk that we might not see the limitations of that ‘belief system’. Equally, our strong focus and commitment to a monolithic understanding the world could mean that we miss exciting possibilities elsewhere and at other times.
    There are so many challenges in the world for us to understand and to deal with. These should not be ignored, and Piers Maddox said that “when you turn away, something inside you dies”. But. in the context of our CC discussion, surely that means that we should not turn away from beliefs that we hold but which perhaps no longer make sense. We should not ignore emerging evidence that challenges our current thinking. We grow by dealing with doubt, uncertainty and inconsistencies.
    I am writing partly as a scientist. We should seek evidence to inform our thinking, and be prepared to go wherever that evidence takes us.


  2. In general, Friends were making appreciative comments about Piers’ contribution to Thursday’s conversation. There were certainly some good and thought provoking aspects to this. But, I personally found Piers’ approach rather simplistic and abrasive.

    At one point Piers said, “Choose which side you are on.” As I commented/quoted, “There are no black and white answers to multicoloured questions”. For instance, I have had strong positive links with China. But, that does not make me unrealistic about some of the very questionable attitudes and actions of their government. I have similar mixed views concerning life and policies in the USA, and the UK for that matter.

    I also disagree that systems are to blame for all our problems. Family (formal or informal) conflicts usually arise from good (or bad) aspects of human nature. This is often reflected on the macro/international relations level too.

    To me, the issues are indeed multicoloured. But, as Bronwyn said, whilst keeping a balanced approach, we need to look for the Achilles heel in each situation. Amongst all our problems, I wonder what that might be for us in the UK at present.


  3. Dear Friends, I feel all I wished to convey is best explained here by Erica Chenoweth:
    (1hour 20 min. lecture by prominent American academic)

    She explains how in dismantling any oppressive regime, our most effective tools are non violent ones. Though people are not necessarily safer, the desired result is usually attained in a shorter time.


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