Join ABC Online religion and ethics editor Scott Stephens at the annual Simone Weil Lecture: Human Value, ‘We do not breathe well’ - tending the moral conditions of our common life.
08 November 2022
Philippa Brazill Lecture Theatre, ACU Melbourne Campus, 20 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Over the past three years, nothing has preoccupied us more than the air around and between us.
First came the pandemic – which made us profoundly wary of our fellow breathers, unwilling to occupy the same space lest they deprive us of the ability to breathe.
Then came the murder of George Floyd – which provoked many hundreds of thousands of people to take to the streets with banners or their bodies inscribed with the words “I can’t breathe”, signifying the extent to which the toxic legacy of cruelty and contempt had condemned them to a state of moral suffocation.
Finally, the 'airwaves' themselves, the mass media – both mainstream and social – which once bore the promise of turning the hearts of citizens toward one another in mutual recognition, grew so foul with all manner of mendacity, hatefulness, contemptuousness, vanity and outright intimidation that it has become effectively unbreathable.
Under the conditions of a pandemic, we have become unreal to one another and inattentive to one another’s words. Now, as the pandemic seems to be nearing its end, can we yet recover a proper sense of what it might mean for democracy to become a moral reality?
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