‘Back to Big Thinking’ The Guardian
450 events, 6 stages, 180 speakers, 10 days, 150 bands.
HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s largest philosophy and music festival, is back with thought-provoking debates, infectiously danceable music, comedy, and parties.
The theme this year is Heresy, Truth and the Future and leading voices from the worlds of science, politics, philosophy and culture are going to debate everything from multiverse cosmology to the perils of democracy and discover which of today’s heresies will become the truths of tomorrow.
Highlights are set to include:
The Open Society & Its Enemies (Saturday 24th May)
Oligarchs and government spies know where we are, what we want, and even our innermost thoughts. Who can protect us? Are whistleblowers like Snowden the white knights of our digital age? Or is the pursuit of radical openness itself the real threat we face?
Mary Ann Sieghart asks former GCHQ director David Omand, Wikileaks Chief Spokesperson Kristin Hrafnsson, Technology Columnist for The Observer John Naughton and former Energy Secretary Chris Huhne to debate the limits of openness.
In association with The Observer
Bang Goes the Big Bang (24th May)
We take it for granted that the Universe began with the Big Bang. But there are problems with the theory. Is it just possible Big Bang will turn out to be a mistake? Since our whole account of the Universe depends on this theory, can we contemplate giving it up and what might replace it?
Theoretical physicists Roger Penrose. multiverse cosmologist Laura Mersini-Houghton, and CERN particle theorist John Ellis go back to the beginining.
Machiavelli’s Rules (Monday 26th May)
By endorsing trickery and deceit, Machiavelli ensured his name would live on in infamy. Yet even Lincoln and Johnson used skulduggery to secure change. Might lies, bribes and other dirty tricks be necessary for creating meaningful advance? Or should ends never justify the means?
Paul “Guido Fawkes” Staines, former Chancellor Norman Lamont, broadcaster Baroness Joan Bakewell, and Total Politics editor Sam Macrory dispute trickery.
In association with Total Politics
Who’s Afraid of the Truth: Bernard-Henri Lévy in conversation with Rana Mitter (24th May)
France’s most public intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévyturns his sights on the hypocrisy and blindness of politicians and philosophers alike.
Known for fierce opposition to totalitarianism in all its forms, BHL personally persuaded Sarkozy to intervene in Libya and is a radical force in France’s cultural life.
Science… Fiction? (31st May)
We think science works because it is true. Yet the theories are different from a century ago and will be different a century hence. Perhaps science is powerful rather than true. Would this lead us to more radical theories or undermine the method that has delivered such success?
Pharmacologist and former Home Office drugs advisor David Nutt, author of The Science Delusion Rupert Sheldrake, and philosopher of physics James Ladyman examine the scientific-industrial complex.
On the music front, we’ll be welcoming Nightmare on Wax and Madonna favourite, Mr Scruff, gypsy dance masters Molotov Jukebox, one of the country’s most influential DJs Andrew Weatherall, Ivor Novello Award winner Sandi Thom, music pioneers Alexis Taylor and Felix Martin of Hot Chip fame, the emotive soundscapes of Ulrich Schnauss, songstress Charlotte Church, Phildel, The Destroyers, Zen Hussies, Starsailor’s James Walsh, The Hoosiers and hundreds more.