This year has been influenced by the ever present topic of Brexit. We have tried to avoid it as much as possible, but inevitably we keep brushing up against it. Our format has remained the same, we decide amongst ourselves what topics to look at, and then a ‘volunteer’ is found to lead off the discussion with a short written introduction. Our membership has changed slightly however. We have lost one of our founder members who felt the advancing years now made attending too difficult.
She was always a thoughtful and lively member and is much missed. Another has had to give up owing to ill health, and two others now have other commitments which prevent their attendance. The result has been a rather more manageable group size.
Our topics this year have touched on issues such as ‘free speech’, ‘free will’ and ‘human rights and human responsibilities’. As can be seen, all these can be related to the Brexit discussion, but they are also pertinent to the theme of individual liberty and its limits. We also had a session on the ‘philosophy of war’, in particular the idea of a ‘just war’ and the concept of ‘rules of war’ (are there any?).
After over ten years of meeting and one hundred and twenty meetings, we are beginning to find new topics which have wide popularity more difficult to find. Most of us have now explored those topics about which we have some knowledge and interest. In an attempt to broaden out from social and political and economic aspects, we are next due to start looking at ‘Philosophy and Art’. We had hoped to start looking at this after March 29th, but it seems we haven’t finished with Europe as a focus of interest. So, I urge all our group members to have a good think and come up with suggestions for new topics to carry the group forward for the next ten years.
This is an article published in the Summer 2019 edition of the Hayling Island U3A newsletter