8. Love and liberty

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Session info
14.00 – 15.15

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Love is often seen as an expression of the ultimate personal freedom as well as the most private personal fate. But does it end there? A body of work is growing in the US on ‘The Love that does Justice’, a phrase of Martin Luther King’s (see this). Michael Edwards has argued, “I believe that civil society is best understood not as a “thing” to be created by outsiders but as a constantly-unfolding marriage between.. love and reason… I’m not talking here about romantic love, or love in the infantile sense of being made happy. Love and reason, each essential both in and of itself and as a counterweight to an excess of the other…make possible a principled negotiation of our differences. The importance of reason to democracy has been central to public debate since the Enlightenment, love much less so; to talk of love, at least in public, is considered embarrassing, flaky, and even ridiculous. Nevertheless, I want to make the case that love should be a central topic of our conversation. The absence of love from the public sphere has become a terrible, defining characteristic of contemporary society.” Is the ‘database state’ an extension of the dark side of Enlightenment rationality, is the passionate opposition it arouses not “unreasonable” but essential to our humanity?

Already confirmed:

Chair: Tony Curzon Price (editor in chief, openDemocracy)
Speakers: Michael Edwards (Demos New York)
  Satish Kumar (editor, Resurgence)
  Sheila Rowbotham‏ (British socialist feminist theorist and writer)
  Marina Warner (author and Professor, Essex University)