Brighton Festival Presents Alain de Botton

Published On June 12, 2012 | By We Love Brighton | Archive

This year’s annual lecture by New Writing South was given by philosopher and writer Alain de Botton. The box office assistant at Brighton’s Corn Exchange boldly declared that the event was sold out as a few latecomers attempted to secure last minute tickets, and there was a detectable buzz from those who did manage to get tickets as they filtered in. Alain de Botton is an accomplished writer and former Cambridge philosophy student; he delivers accessible philosophy by addressing the arguments that society remains deeply fascinated with.

De Botton took to the stage and stated his purpose without hesitation; his aim was to explore the ways in which a non-believer might take something beneficial from religion. Steering away from a more pedestrian analysis of what might be wrong with religion, and without the reluctance often found within atheists to discuss religion in any positive light, he outlined the elements that we might do well to extract from religion. For example, religion can facilitate us in being polite and honourable, and help us to live a respectful and communal existence. There was much focus on the ways in which religion provides a calendar of dates which make it simple and convenient to celebrate religious events and in turn practice one’s religion. These dates remain unaltered year by year, meaning that believers can reconnect with their religion in a way that a person merely interested in philosophy or morality might not.

The lecture was delivered without fault and carried along by De Botton’s articulacy and charisma. It was interesting to hear detailed snippets of the ideas that form Religion for Atheists, De Botton’s recent book release. After the lecture there was an opportunity for questions, to which detailed and insightful responses were given. An excellent choice of speaker for this years New Writing South lecture and from the general response that could be observed within the auditorium, De Botton’s next visit to Brighton will be met with the open arms of people hoping to learn more about how we might make our lives more meaningful.

Alain De Botton Website

New Writing South Website

Brighton Festival 2012 Website

Written by Kay Jones

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