As the ink on these pages begins to dry out, hundreds of delegates to the Festival of Thinkers will have commenced the proceedings of the gathering, which brings together Nobel Laureates, powerful media personalities and people who have made a difference. While the Festival of Thinkers conjures the image of a hall full of people sitting in exaggerated poses, hand under chin, contemplating and pondering, the reality is that it sets a wonderful stage for bringing together people on a platform from where if nothing, understanding will emerge.
We do live in a fragile world, where issues from global warming to man made political disasters are threatening large populations of humanity. There is a greater effort being made to destroy what humanity has rather than build something for the future. It is therefore all the more important that efforts like this Festival serve not only as a platform for bringing people together for discussions, but also to move the mind set into action, into creating concrete accountable action plans for change.
Today there are hundreds of alliances and foundations for bringing change and welfare to humanity and earth, and they all are carving out a nice, positive role. What we need to consider is to move the envelope of experience further out, and think of such a platform as the Festival of Thinkers to become the aggregator of these alliances under a banner of ‘humane thought’. Such a collective will serve a huge purpose to aggregate alliances, charities and foundations to bring about structural changes in the body of society and economic and eco systems to allow for sustainable recovery. The most vital element today is coordinating the efforts of so many noble minded alliances and charities into a concerted policy of action .
Some years back I recall with the earthquake in Pakistan there were tons of agencies, charities and foundations pouring in aid, and resources to help in the earthquake devastated areas but it cannot be over looked that a large number of these relief efforts were actually duplicating themselves, causing actually a waste in the system of care. The Festival therefore allows people of a diverse range of cultures, educations and attitudes to sit together an work out an agenda of social change which will be followed up and not merely left behind on the delegates tables to be cleaned out the next day.
We live in a world where we need understanding, compassion and empathy. We need to understand why we have, mostly in the past 100 years, undone the quality of life that our future generations could have enjoyed. We have to pause at this moment and create the synergy that is needed between thought, business and compassion. Our model of tomorrow cannot be politically utilitarian; neither can it be economically and socially myopic because the results of these will be catastrophic. A Festival of Thinkers must create an idiom of thought which will force us to make a difference.