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New Humanism Symposium


12-15 May 2024

The New Humanism Project (Antwerp) in association with the Robert Boyle Foundation (Dublin) is delighted to present the New Humanism Symposium: Imagining Futures for a New Humanism on 12-15 May 2024 at the James Joyce Centre.

The symposium/workshop will be experimental and reflective, allowing plenty of room for exchange of views, discussion, and deliberation. The Symposium will use accessible language in tune with the shared experience of the speakers and participants. We invite you to join this initiative, regardless of your background, expertise, or orientation.

New Humanism
New humanism is a term that we arbitrarily define for the purpose of this symposium/workshop as humanism stripped of its sometimes aggressive atheism. It does not necessarily imply a religious version of humanism. Rather it proposes sharing many aspects of a rich humanist heritage with those retaining a religious impulse even though they may have parted company with organised religion. Likewise, it may facilitate rediscovery of an equally rich (human) heritage embedded in the religious culture we are losing contact with. This includes areas as diverse as visual arts; ritual at times of celebration and need; music; a sense of community; and literature to mention but a few. After all, Seamus Heaney fondly remembered ‘the radiance of his Catholic boyhood’ although he was not a believer in later life. And he noted that ‘the older I get the more I remember the benediction of it all’.

How can we make the world a better place for all? More and more people feel lost in their personal and spiritual lives. In the search for meaning, recognition, and self-affirmation, they often feel overburdened and exhausted. Psychological distress and depression are commonplace. The available belief systems, including those from religions, do not cope well with the complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity of lives embedded in twenty first century technology.

The scientific framework we inhabit, and its humanist support culture fail to resolve questions involved and can exacerbate them. Problems with social media, dietary advice, emerging vaccination crises and global warming illustrate this at day-to-day level. There is much more at other levels not yet shared by the common imagination. We cannot save the planet, human society, or help make life tolerable and meaningful for the individual without addressing the complexity, and uncertainties involved and organising our co existence in a way that is adequate to the problem. Our point of departure is that a New Inclusive Humanism open to the heritage of the sciences, the humanities, the arts, and religions is likely to help. The challenge is how?

-Registration and further information at:
-Contact organisers at: [email protected]
-Registration Fee €120.00 for all events and catering except the dinner on Monday evening. An additional (subsidised) €20 is charged for the dinner. It can be paid at registration or at the symposium. Arrangements may be made to waive the fee for those whose circumstances might warrant it.
-The venue is not wheelchair accessible.
-Should you wish to explore accessibility, registration charges or other issues, please contact the organisers at [email protected].
-Participants should arrange their own accommodation.

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