Who needs people?
The recent pandemic with its social distancing, lockdowns, school closures and such have thrown the spotlight ever more compellingly on the extent to which social contact is - or isn't - an essential need.
Ever since the Enlightenment - and arguably since the Reformation two or three centuries earlier - the individual - the Sovereign Self as it has sometimes been called - has become the unit of social value par excellence. In contrast, we are told of other societies, for example China and other East Asian countries where the collective seems to motivate more than the individual. Is this a caricature of those cultures or is there a deep seated dispute about the place of the individual?
Christendom valued hermits - so does Hinduism. Jews are notoriously individualistic, but according to Jewish teaching you can't do a personal thing such as properly mourn your own dead without a minyan.
Where does - should - the balance lie? In this three week course, Clive will explore the individual, the oppression of the group and consider whether there is a middle way.
Week 1: Society, social responsibility and the power of the collective.
Week 2: The history of the individual, human rights...'in the image of G-d'.
Week 3: Sociological and psychological insights. Holding the balance. Jewish teachings.
Clive Lawton OBE was on the founding board of JW3 and is a regular teacher and presenter in the building and now on-line. Clive works worldwide in educational development and community cohesion and diversity issues, and he is CEO of the Commonwealth Jewish Council.