In 2015 I came across an email that was sprucing tickets to an intriguing event called the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Being the eternal rebel that I am, it was obvious that I was drawn to the mere concept of this yet unknown event. With a bit of online research, I uncovered what was soon to be a monumental moment in my thus far, frustratingly constructed life. The bill for this festival was a melting pot of overarching, ethically debated, boundary pushing global topics that brought me instant spouts of joy as I plugged in my preferences for a festival multi-pack (very well priced, if you were wondering).
I chose sessions that were either close to my jaded heart or high up in my fiery pit of societal passions. It landed here:
- Incarceration – a VICE panel on the broken and shameful business that is, our national prison system.
- Big Sugar – a look into the ‘new tobacco’; the industry, the lax government regulation and the frightening health and addictive effects of this tasty, tasty treat.
- Ceasefire on Drugs – Johann Hari champions the factual campaign of legalisation and re-engagement programs for illicit drugs in lieu of the 100 year failed drug war.
- The New Satirists – a real shits ‘n’ giggles session with some of Australia’s best satirists, easy laughs at serious issues to lighten the often heavy festival tone.
- Bad Education – a philosophical view of the perhaps not-fit-for-purpose, modern education system. Basically all I heard was, “exams are unnecessary”.
- Dying Europe – a sneak peak into the global dilemmas and impacts of the European Union. No, at this point, there wasn’t any forethought that the UK would be exiting!
I booked some cheap flights up to Sydney, stayed in a surprisingly lovely hostel on/at/in (?!) The Rocks and had one of the best educational moments OF.MY.LIFE.
What I listened to and pondered over the next few days, quite simply, blew my world apart. I was fascinated, interested, passionate, and obsessed in a way that I had never been before. Why didn’t I learn about these things in school? Why was I finally learning about things that seemed more important than the crap I had been force fed in the media? My mind had been yearning for a different, more truthful learning experience and at 30 years of age, I had finally found it. It was these sessions that would grow me as a human being, as a global citizen, and as a person that was not constructed from an outdated manual. I remembered to think and critique objectively.
Look, anyway, what I’m getting at is that FODI is an amazing experience. It is back on this year at the amazing Sydney Opera House, a location which really adds to the enormity of the ideas exploding within it. If you are in the area or can get to Sydney during the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of September, then I implore you to choose some subjects close to you heart or otherwise, put your ego back on the bottom shelf and call yourself to action during and post these sessions.
Some interesting sessions this year include; A.C. Grayling’s ‘Closing the Modern Mind’, India’s Age of Extremism, Open the Borders, Apple vs The FBI, Legalise Drugs in Sport (with Stephen Dank yikes!), The Asian Arms Race, Not Worth Living, Gender Doesn’t Matter, The Bamboo Ceiling, US Politics: Even Worse Than It Looks, Stop Fishing the High Seas, Why Don’t We Want To Talk About The Arts, Break a Rule a Day, I Was A Human Guinea Pig, Why Black Lives Matter, Freaks Like Me…and many, many more!!!
Head to Festival of Dangerous Ideas for information and ticketing.
Your future self thanks you.