Group report

This is an article published in the Spring 2018 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter....

The philosophy group this year has grown bigger (not that the individuals in the group have grown bigger, but the number of individuals in the group has grown bigger).  This gives some indication of what discussing philosophical issues does to the brain!!

Our main problem now is how to develop with increased numbers. We have a waiting list (a short one) but it is simply impossible to cram anyone else into our sitting room. We already operate on the basis that not everyone attends every meeting. Ideally the group should now split in two, but that requires another group leader and another venue. The task of group leader is not onerous. The group membership is self-motivated and the sessions more or less run themselves, and all the leader has to do is oversee an orderly discussion and make the coffee! Oh, and also try to remember what topics have been discussed and what are to be discussed.

This year we have been somewhat influenced by the President Trump phenomenon. Consequently we have considered topics such as ‘What is Truth?’ and Fake News (which has a very long historical pedigree).  Some of our newer members have suggested we consider really fundamental questions such as ‘Why is there anything at all rather than nothing?’ but so far we haven’t tackled this subject. Perhaps, with the death of Professor Hawking, we might venture into these questions next year.

The group has been going now for about ten years, so we have covered over 100 topics. Given the average group member’s memory ability, we could probably revisit some of these topics in the future. Our newer members could bring fresh perspectives to discussions.

The group is clearly a friendship group as well as a study group, but the only way we can accommodate those members on the waiting list, and open up the group to new members is if we can start a second group. I do hope someone will come forward  with an offer to start a new group.

Mike Silvester