Day 15: This is reasons for optimism
Grammatically dodgy title for a debate that turned out to be a dodgy debate. Brian Eno gave us his reasons for optimism – various global organisations that keep the mail, and the internet going, fluidity of knowledge on the internet and our children (If we understood them, we’d be fucked). No mention of any of the problems just some examples of where things do actually work.
Eno was right, this was a purely Panglossian session. What he seems to have missed is that Pangloss was a ridiculous character. Leibniz's philosophical excuse for the existing of suffering was a mathematical artifice that required looking at a metaphysical fix for the existence of God. Philosophically, it's a bizarre solution, and, of course, didn't last the test of time. When pop producers turn philosophers, you've got to put your bullshit alarm on to full volume. I was half expecting Bono to appear with a U2 theodicy.
The 'Panglossian' disaster continued. Some Quaker, who had an interest in Nuclear proliferation, explained that although Iran hangs young homosexuals from cranes, they’re alright really. Then, a psychobabble expert who was neither pessimistic nor optimistic, put forward her delusional ideas about ‘psychotherapy’, and how it can save the world (although it seems to focus mostly on Camden and Brixton at the moment). She was truly and magnificently awful – total lightweight. Finally a lawyer who was a Zen Buddhist priest. It was all very ‘Brighton’ and as such, lacked depth, academic credibility and at times, good sense. Inside my head, I'm sure I heard Voltaire laugh from his grave.