Dave Snowden


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I first went to this celebration of Philosophy and Music last year for a few days and resolved to spend the full ten days in 2012.  The festival is symbiotic with the more well known Hay Festival which is now an international traveling circus of the cognoscenti.  Our smaller event takes place in an old hall and a few tents well away from its more famous cousin.  It is smaller, more intimate, less focused on books, more on ideas.

My goal over six months ago was to take the chance for ten days seeking to gain intellectual and physical fitness.  The first by attendance at the various events, the second by booking a holiday cottage seven to eight miles away from the venue and biking in and out every day.  As the year wore on the prospect of avoiding all involvement with the Jubilee was an added attraction.  As it turned out work has intruded; I have had to sacrifice the final day to fly to Burkina Faso for a three day project start up, and I will also loose Thursday to a meeting in the somewhat less exotic Belfast. Health requirements for Burkina Faso also meant that my arms felt like a pin cushion for a few days as the surgery took every possibly opportunity to use of their stock of vaccines. 

The more astute reader will note from the difference between dates that I am catching up on blog posts a few days into the event, but I plan a daily posting containing my reflections and also my verbatim notes on the different events. I should probably repeat the health warning on the web site – my views are my own and do not reflect those of Cognitive Edge as a whole.  The Philosophy at this event is in the main about acting in the world and about politics as well as art.   These ten days are my indulgence, as those who attend do not regard it as a sin to use words of more than three syllables.  The general political tendency is also to the left rather than to the right although a few posts on (I did say I was in catch up mode so I have some benefit of hindsight) a lot of the thinking here fundamentally challenges the old left/right debate in politics and moves the debate to one between those who focus on the individual (rights for the left, economic liberty for the right) and those who see communitarian ideas as key (morality, social obligation on the right, and a different form on the left).