Issue 43

February 2013

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STRAY NEWS

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Wanted? A new Philosophy Group

For the first time in many years Harrogate U3A has not got a Philosophy Group.

Philosophy is Greek for ‘the search of knowledge for its own sake.’ It is a fascinating subject which only requires an active and interested mind, it can cover a wide range of topics, from the early Greeks ideas of how a man should live a good life, which in turn led to the formulation of ethical standards, to the work of Thomas Hobbs in the 16th century, who advocated a strong central governance with the responsibility of keeping the peace and protecting the people and that the people should be free to think for themselves. Then John Locke in the 17th century with similar ideas but strongly advocating that all the people should be equal in the eyes of the law and be free to own land or other possessions which could not be taken from them. He was invited by the newly freed people of North America to help in the formulation of their new Constitution, which has not been changed to this day. Later, in the 18th century another Englishman, Jeremy Bentham, started the Utilitarian ideas, which amongst other things postulated the emancipation of women and the liberalisation of society and of the prison regimes. The list could be widened and lengthened vastly to cover Art, Science, Consciousness, Free Will and many other topics.

With our U3A having some 850 members, are there not some you who would like to follow a path of philosophers?  Whilst some background knowledge would help it is not essential. A few interested members could start a group. I ran one for ten years with very little background knowledge, just an interest in the subject that I had never had the time to pursue. It was a very interesting and rewarding period.

I am quite willing to help form and advise a new Philosophy Group. If you are interested give me a ring on 01423 872476


David Broadley


Comment

Well, we do have Stray News.

Progress is not possible without written communication. All past civilisations seemed to have written languages. Where there was no written language, progress did not evolve beyond bows and arrows. Witness the Dark Ages brought about when libraries of learning were burnt in order to stifle thought and progress. If Isaac Newton had not written his Principia defining the Universe, we would have had to wait until another apple fell on someone's head.

Quantum leap to us. As an organisation, Harrogate U3A and its members are not very good at recording events and activities.

We have been in existence for nearly 25 years and there is no history of Harrogate U3A written down and much of it is lost.

We have had hundreds of Open meetings and Speakers but never written a review or comment. Group Leaders have laboured for  thousands of hours preparing material but hardly ever recorded their efforts. When they are gone, (they only fade away) their effort and knowledge will fade with them.

Members have enjoyed talks, walks, instruction, visits, eats and tours but if anyone wants to repeat the experience they have to start from scratch. Is that progress? Of course the U3A stands for education, enjoyment and entertainment and perhaps the emphasis is on the latter in which case progress is not necessary.


Brian Graham