Sun 10th, Sun 17th and Sun 24th March from 4pm to 7pm
3-week course: Plato and the pursuit of truthThree afternoons on the Platonic ways of truth-seeking
- Tim Addey
Drama as an instrument of truth
"Suddenly, a loud knocking was heard at the door, together with intoxicated voices and the sound of the pipe" – Plato, in the Symposium
Plato's dialogues have challenged readers to explore questions of truth and reality for the last 2,400 years: during that time humankind's view of truth and the universe we inhabit has undergone many changes – but Plato's philosophy remains alive with his profound questions.
For many specialists in Platonic philosophy the arrangements of logical questioning in the speeches of the characters of the dialogues constitute the whole of his approach to philosophy: but is this really the case? We need to ask why Plato wrote dramatic dialogues rather than straight-forward treatises, and why the philosophical questions are shaped by his drama rather than by the themes he explores.
The first of three Sunday afternoons on Plato's approach to truth-seeking, we aim to explore the insights that the dramatic action brings to the dialogues. We will spend an hour looking at some of the most powerful dramatic moments in the Platonic body of work and, after a short break, open up the meeting to a discussion about the ideas we can see emerging from this approach.
Story-telling as an instrument of truth
"Be as children, and listen" – Plato, in The Statesman
The second of three Sunday afternoons of Plato's approach to truth-seeking, we aim to explore some of the stories his characters tell during the dialogues. What does story-telling add to the rational arguments from which they arise? What advantage is there in myth and story to compensate for the loss of precision when dialogues move from dialectical argument to the strange tales Plato has speakers relate?
We will spend an hour looking at examples of his stories, and the way they are embedded in the dialogues; after a short break we will open up the meeting to a discussion about this way of philosophizing, and what it adds to the rational element of the dialogue.
Questioning as an instrument of truth
"Divinity compels me to act as a midwife . . . but when souls, not bodies, are pregnant." –Plato, in the Theaetetus
The third of three Sunday afternoons exploring Plato's approach to truth-seeking, we aim to explore the different ways that careful questioning allows hidden truths to emerge from common opinions, and half-formed thoughts or from conflicting positions and unexamined assumptions. We will also look at the way Socrates in particular approaches different characters with appropriate strategies – for his is a more subtle art than many realise.
We will spend an hour looking at various passages of the dialogues, selected to illustrate particular approaches and after a short break, open up the meeting to a discussion about this form of philosophy.
Wed 6th February and Tue 5th March at 7pm
Discover PhilosophyPhilosophies of East and West
Philosophy means love of wisdom (philo-sophia) and is an active attitude of awareness towards life. In this sense, we are all born philosophers, with an innate need to ask questions and with the intuition that there are answers to be found. Every civilization has passed on to us its experience and understanding of life.However, most of us have had little opportunity to learn about the vast heritage of ideas that have inspired and guided humanity throughout history.
This 16-week course will introduce you to the major concepts of Eastern and Western Philosophy and explore their relevance and practical application for our lives.
Ethics: Understanding yourself
Ethics enquires about moral principles and the impact of individuals on their environment. But it is also related to happiness, as it helps us to find the right 'inner attitude' to deal with different life situations in ways that are beneficial to ourselves and to others.
Sociopolitics: Living together in harmony with others
Sociopolitics looks at relationships in society, both between individuals and between the individual and the group. It is concerned with finding principles by which we can create harmonious communities where everyone can flourish.
Philosophy of History: Being part of something greater
We are all products of history and at the same time we all contribute to making history. Philosophy of History seeks wisdom in the study of the past and how to apply the lessons of history to the present.
Philosophy for Living: Practical Application
What is the value of thinking without action? Action is the real measure of what we are, theory and practice inform each other. Each course evening will explore the practical relevance of philosophy and its potential to transform ourselves and society.
First introductory evening FREE. Price for the whole course £190 (£130 concessions), handouts included.
Tue 5th, Tue 12th, Tue 19th and Tue 26th February at 7pm
The Power of Myth II: 4-week course
Over thousands of years, myths have helped human beings to understand aspects of life that the rational mind finds difficult to grasp (love, death, mystery...). Great philosophers like Plato have used myths and fables to explain their key concepts. Still today, we find the archetypal patterns of myth in books like Lord of the Rings or films like Star Wars.
Topics of the 4 evenings
Fri 25th January at 7pm
The Philosophy of Upcycling
- Barley Massey
‘Upcycling’ is the art of transforming old or waste items/materials into something new, adding value through creativity and design. Items are redirected from landfill, extending their life, creating new purposes and stories in the process. This lively and practical talk will connect this modern-day practice of upcycling to timeless philosophical ideas of transformation and alchemy. During the talk, you will also have the opportunity to stitch a simple embroidered patch based on the Japanese mending techniques of ‘Sashiko’ & ‘Boro’. If you are so inspired by the talk that you would like to put your ideas into practice, you can book one of several workshops with Barley Massey, the speaker and the owner of Fabrications in Broadway Market.
Thu 24th January at 7pm
Artificial Intelligence: between Myth and Reality
We often hear that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will give rise to machines that will become “smarter” than humans and will dominate the world. Is this real or is it just a product of science fiction? Artificial Intelligence has indeed given us the ability to develop machines that can assist humans in many fields, ranging from medical decision-making to finance, military applications, manufacturing, security, etc. However, the term Artificial Intelligence also gives rise to a full spectrum of misunderstandings, especially when it is connected with artificial entities that possess an advanced intelligence and could supplement or even outperform humans’ own intelligence and take over the world. Contrary to what people claim, machines pose no existential threat to human beings, but we do need to be vigilant towards possible ethical risks associated with the future development of this area. In this talk, we will clarify what AI truly means, by looking at its roots and the purposes for which it was created. We will describe its development through different stages and, most importantly, we will address, demystify and have a philosophical discussion about a set of claims that are currently the focus of much debate and many concerns among people about the dangers of AI.
Thu 15th November at 7pm
Celebrating the Centenary of the End of WWICan we find wisdom in the study of history?
The 11th of November 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I - one of the most terrible wars in the history of Europe and supposedly the “war to end all wars”. We will mark this important event in combination with World Philosophy Day by exploring in context the end of the ‘Great War’ and the link between history and philosophy. Cicero’s dictum “History as life’s teacher” conveys the idea that the study of the past should serve as a lesson for the future. However, history also shows that humanity often seems to fail to learn lessons from the past.
What is the most useful way to reflect on historical events? If we define philosophy as the search for wisdom and apply philosophical enquiry to the field of history, can we discern some wisdom from its study?
This evening will consist of various short presentations by different speakers on the subjects of WWI and the philosophy of history. There will be buffet-style refreshments provided both during the break and after the event with time for philosophical conversation.
Please see our website closer to the date for more details.
Tue 23rd October at 7pm
The Spirit of Rome and its Sacred Foundations
Many of us will be familiar in some way with the legacy of Rome and the Roman Empire: from great feats of engineering and military conquests to its political structures and arts. However, all of these represent only the materialistic attributes of the civilisation. The aim of this talk is to show that the greatness that was Rome rested in many ways on esoteric and sacred-magical foundations. We will explore the notion that it was these foundations which enabled the spirit of a true civilisation to come into being.
Mon 8th, Mon 15th and Mon 22nd October at 7pm
Mind: Best Friend or Worst Enemy?
Our mind has a much bigger impact on our life than we usually realize. Knowing how our mind works allows us to take responsibility for our lives and to become creators rather than remain victims.
This short course (3 consecutive Monday evenings, starting on 8th October) will explore the mind and mind-related topics such as consciousness, imagination, creativity and meditation. It will also look at collective mindsets and paradigm shifts throughout history. Each evening is led by a different speaker and will consist of both theory and practical exercises.
Topics of the 3 evenings
Thu 27th September, Wed 10th and Mon 29th October at 7pm
Discover PhilosophyPhilosophies of East and West
Philosophy means love of wisdom (philo-sophia) and is an active attitude of awareness towards life. In this sense, we are all born philosophers, with an innate need to ask questions and with the intuition that there are answers to be found. And yet, most of us have little knowledge of philosophy. We have never had the chance to learn about the vast heritage of ideas that have sustained, inspired and guided humanity throughout history.
This 16-week course will introduce you to the major systems of thought of East and West. They are arranged under three subject headings: Ethics, Sociopolitics and Philosophy of History.
Course ContentUnderstanding yourself
Introduction to Ethics. Major concepts of the philosophies of India, Tibet, Ancient Egypt and Neoplatonism
Living together in harmony with others
Introduction to Sociopolitics
Major concepts of the philosophies of Confucius, Plato and the Stoics
Being part of something greater
Introduction to Philosophy of History
Microcosm and Macrocosm
The cosmovision of traditional societies
First introductory evening FREE. Price for the whole course £190 (£130 concessions), handouts included.
Thu 20th September at 7pm
What is Karma?Understanding Essential Concepts of Eastern Philosophy
The theory of Karma is a fundamental teaching encountered in all Eastern religions and philosophies. However, nowadays the word has entered mainstream vocabulary where it is often used in a casual way with a fatalistic ring. But what does Karma really mean and what are its philosophical and practical implications? This talk will shed light on the deeper meaning of the term and will explore related concepts such as Dharma, free will and reincarnation.
Wed 19th, Wed 26th September and Wed 3rd October at 7pm
The Language of Symbols
Symbols are a language we can all recognise but few of us can read. Over thousands of years, symbols have been used to express the ineffable and to create a bridge between the invisible and visible dimension. Learning to understand them better will help to develop our imagination, which is one of our most important and powerful faculties. Symbols have the power to re-connect us with a world full of meaning.
This 3-week course (1 evening per week) will introduce you to symbology - the study of symbols. The course will explore some of the most important symbols of different cultures and reveal deeper layers of meaning in art and architecture.
Topics of the 3 evenings
Fri 17th August at 7pm
The Quest for Spirituality in Modern Art
The spiritual quest is deeply embedded in the adventurous paths pursued by a number of artists during the 19th and 20th centuries. From Novalis, with his all-embracing concept of poetry, to surrealism with its discovery of the world of dreams, we find artists attempting to explore the mysteries of the night, as a symbol of the infinite. We will explore this deep quest for spiritual meaning in some of the works of Novalis, Kandinsky, Dali, Caspar David Friedrich and the Pre-Raphaelites.
Sat 4th August from 11am to 5pm
Textile Upcycling Workshop
‘Upcycling’ is the art of transforming old or waste items/materials into something new, adding value through creativity and design. Items are redirected from landfill, extending their life, creating new purposes and stories in the process. The day will be made up of 2 parts – a lively talk that aims to connect this modern-day practice of upcycling to timeless philosophical ideas of transformation/alchemy, “Cradle to Cradle” learning, modelling from nature and perceptions of beauty. Following the talk (and a break) we will put some of the concepts into practice in a creative sewing session (bring along some old clothes for rejuvenation!) No experience is needed. The workshop is brought to you by Barley Massey, owner of Fabrications in Broadway Market.
Tue 24th July at 7pm
Immanuel Kant Certainty in an Uncertain World
This talk will look at Kant’s ideas on morality and moral law. It will explore the question of whether morality is relative or unconditional, and how this might influence our daily actions.
Thu 14th June at 7pm
Viktor Schauberger and the Living Energies of Water
- Julian Scott
What is water? Are we aware of all its characteristics or do we only see it in a utilitarian or perhaps aesthetic way? Viktor Schauberger was an Austrian forester of the early to mid-20 th century who made some extraordinary discoveries about the nature of water. From his direct observations of nature, he discovered that water is a living entity whose behaviour sometimes seems to contradict standard theories of physics. He applied his knowledge to many practical inventions, including research into new forms of energy, but the society of his time was unable or unwilling to understand his revolutionary ideas. This talk will describe some of his experiences and conclusions about water, and how we can enter into contact with it and work with it in a harmonious way.
Sat 9th and Sun 10th June from 10am to 5pm
Open Garden Squares WeekendVisit our Bee Sanctuary and Alchemical Garden
In 2012 volunteers at New Acropolis created a bee sanctuary and garden in a derelict space at the back of our premises. Using the ancient Greek word for ‘bee’, we gave it the name ‘Melissa Garden Bee Sanctuary’. It was established to create a space for bees, not with a view to harvesting the honey, but to give the bees a protected home.
Every year in June, we open this magical garden to the public through the event known as Open Garden Squares Weekend. Visitors have the opportunity to observe the bees and learn about their way of life from our resident beekeeper and guides. You can also hear about the many bee-friendly plants that exist and that help the bees survive in the hostile environment of our monoculture world.
The most recent addition to the garden design is an alchemical-themed living wall incorporating some medicinal plants.
Fees: See Open Garden Squares Weekend website at http://www.opensquares.org for tickets and more information.
Sun 20th May from 1pm to 4pm
World Bee Day Celebration
Sun 20 May will be the first World Bee Day, proposed in 2014 by the Slovenian Beekeepers` Association and unanimously adopted by the United Nations. The 20th of May was chosen as a date because it is the birthday of Anton Jansa (1734-1773), one of the first teachers of modern beekeeping and appointed by the Empress Maria Theresa as a teacher at the beekeeping school in Vienna, Austria.
Come and join us between 1 pm and 4 pm for:
This film, directed by Markus Imhoof, is certainly one of the best documentaries on bees. Never before seen footage of what is happening inside a beehive allows us to have a look into the fascinating world of bees. The cinematography has justly been called "visually magnificent" and "spectacularly beautiful". But the documentary also explores the devastating effects of industrial beekeeping and the use of pesticides; it raises very important questions regarding the future of bees and beekeeping and highlights the constant threats that bees are facing.
Places are limited (due to space), and it is strongly recommended to book in advance by registering your interest here.
The showing of the documentary will be free of charge but for the activities from 1-4 pm we kindly ask for a contribution of £5 (£3 concs.) towards the maintenance of our Bee Sanctuary.
Wed 25th April, Wed 2nd and Wed 9th May at 7pm
Lost civilisations, a forgotten history of humanity
- Florimond Krins
Discover the different lost treasures of the past left by our ancient ancestors around the world. We will explore the hidden monuments and artefacts that could very well provide proof that civilization is much older than we might think.
We will study in more detail the remains that have often been mistaken for more recent works and how it is possible that, separated by so many thousands of miles, ancient civilizations could have used the same techniques and skills and also shared very similar traditions and myths.
Our side of the world: Europe and the Mediterranean. Who built the megaliths, the sphinx and the Great Pyramid? Is it possible that they are much older than we have been told? New discoveries might actually change our minds about the age of the first Western civilization.
The New World: not so new, as remains from the so-called Pre-Columbian cultures show signs of very advanced technological skills. Were the Incas and Mayans the great builders that we think they were?
Asia and the Pacific: remains of another lost continent. From the Indus valley to the Far East of the Pacific, we can find some of the most intriguing remains and monuments. Could civilization have existed well before the end of the last Ice Age?