2019 Fireflies Dialogues
Integrating Well-being and Justice for a Sustainable Future
February 7, 4:00 pm to February 10, 5:00 pm
Fireflies Intercultural Centre, Bangalore
Organized by Pipal Tree
in collaboration with Dialogues in Humanity and Vikalp Sangam (Kalpavriksh)
About the event:
Contradictory signals are emitted all the time when it comes to the state of the world.
On the one hand many countries, once considered poor, some today referred to as emerging economies, are on their way to prosperity, or near prosperity. Science and technology are opening out undreamt possibilities with Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. It would appear that the era of milk and honey is just around the corner, at best only a decade or so away.
On the other we see the plight of millions of people who struggle against poverty in a world that is immensely wealthy. A study released by Oxfam found that the top 1% has owned more wealth than the rest of the world’s population since 2015. And the eight richest have the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world — nearly 4 billion people. In other words, one of these eight would have wealth equivalent to 500 million people. In other words, a 1 is to 500 million ratio.
Add to this the millions of refugees displaced by war and famine, living in refugee camps and often denied access by the wealthy countries.
To top it all, a large number of people find themselves unhappy, even extremely unhappy, in the wealthier countries and communities. One study states meaninglessness, competition, and boredom as among the top causes of unhappiness.
Thus, neither the rich nor the poor are spared from a sense of insecurity, anxiety and rootlessnes. Human beings are alienated/ estranged from themselves, each-other and the natural world.
There is also the specter of climate change hanging over the planet, where millions of climate refugees will roam around in a few decades, food shortages will be widespread, and drought and floods common, with coastal cities beginning to go under water.
As if there is not enough unhappiness and injustice in today’s world the future looks likely to bring much more.Humanity is going through its worst crisis which is at once economic, social, ecological, existential, psychological and spiritual.
But there are individuals and groups all over the world bravely trying to reverse the trend and it is not impossible that they may have their way, given the right conditions.
As mentioned, this occurrence of the Fireflies Dialogues will be focused on Well-being and Justice, two interrelated facets, without which we cannot usher in a sustainable future. Concerns about Well-being and Justice have been at the core of human thought, whether ancient or modern, in the west or the east. The dialogue will also try to understand some of these articulations in terms of their social, spiritual and psychological relevance for a post-truth world.
The participants at the Dialogues will be social activists, cultural and religious thinkers and grass roots workers in sustainable development.
It is increasingly clear that many social practitioners are facing burnout, a sense of despair, cynicism and uncertainty of vision. Many courageously plough on, even if they are not always clear where they are heading. This edition of the Dialogues will attempt to address these uncertainties and doubts we are all facing.
The 2019 Fireflies Dialogues will address the relationship between well-being, spirituality, justice and climate resilience. It will hopefully help correct the neglect of the spiritual and cultural arena by social-action practitioners.
Apart from discussions integrating the topics of social justice, climate change and spirituality/religion participants will also be exposed to different forms of meditation/chanting and song and dance (body wisdom).
Moving away from the purely cerebral and ideological types of workshops this one will integrate intellect, emotion and body in the quest for a sustainable society.
The demand to participate in the Fireflies Dialogues is usually quite high. May we request you to immediately apply if you are keen on participating.
Pipal Tree will take care of the food and lodging expenses of all participants. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on the event.
Image courtesy: Michel Granger