Living Room Conversations are a very granular process where two friends, one with one viewpoint, another with another viewpoint, each invite two friends for a structured conversation. And everybody agrees to six basic principles, which are you know, kind of what you learned in kindergarten.
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The danger is that we are taking the agenda that is being set by those who are the political players, and by checking within it ignoring the things that are consequential that we ought to be debating, that to some extent exist in another world which is a world about what is desirable and good, and what the trade-offs actually are and how we should arbitrate those track trade-offs.
I am profoundly envious of people who get to write about settled domains or sort of settled states of affairs in human events. For me, I was dealing with a set of technologies which are either recently emerged or still in the process of emerging. And so it was a continual Red Queen’s race to keep up with these things as they announce themselves to us and try and wrap my head around them, understand what it was that they were proposing, understand what their effects were when deployed in the world.
Conspiracies are perfect for simple thinking. Because conspiracy is by definition something that explains everything. A really great conspiracy explains something that has already happened and something that’s going to happen.
As we enter May 2017, the city of Mosul, held stubbornly by ISIS forces, has still not fallen. What has become a siege of the city is now a fight almost on a street-by-street basis for the old city.
As Israeli Zionism began acquiring a greater and greater orthodox determination, a determination to expand borders to what they were at the height of the Biblical sense of what had been Israel underneath King Solomon, the response of the Arab states and the response of the Palestinians was very divided.
It’s an emotive term, a value-laden term, every time we mention Zionism. In fact, as a modern doctrine—and that’s what it is, quite a modern doctrine—it’s only really been around a relatively short time. Really it came into being at the end of the 19th century, where pressure groups and Jewish congresses led by people like Herzl began to contemplate the possibility of a homeland for the Jews.
As we speak today, the Chinese authorities are cracking up a very very large-scale and what promises to be an incessant security drive in Xinjian Province in northwest China against what the Chinese government calls Islamic extremists. What in fact the Chinese government means is it’s launching a drive against dissent from the Uighur people who’ve lived there for centuries.
At the time when he lived in 500 BC, [Confucius] was the epitome of good governance. He was the epitome of progressive ways towards a peaceful and just order. And he pioneered many things that we would regard today still as extremely important.
It seems a very strange thing to label Buddhism as something fundamentalist. As if by being fundamentalist it might also be accused of causing the same kind of carnage and difficulty that we associate with fundamental Islam. And yet the very gentle religion, the religion of peace, the religion of compassion, is also a religion which is just as capable as other religions of causing carnage, of causing atrocity, and causing great loss of life.