in collaboration with Arvo Pärt Centre
The question of what it means to be human is arguably a central one for all humanities disciplines and pedagogy. Upon this answer depends how we lead our lives, relate to other people and nature, cope with crises, and how we teach and learn.
The current crises of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine show that the human subject can be easily manipulated, dehumanised and used as a biological mass by the governments, media, and those in power. What happens to Imago Dei in a situation of severe stress, danger, and trauma? How should Christian theology and pedagogy respond to the situations that the world unexpectedly faces in the 21st century?
After all, is human important? Today, when artificial intelligence has developed beyond expectations, there is a utopian hope that humans will be replaced by machines. Transhumanists believe that humanity reached the evolutionary endpoint and we are looking for a new species. At the same time, warning signs of ecological crisis suggest that man’s mastery of nature had disastrous effects.
The conference will address the change of paradigm in humanism, from classical humanism to naturalism, anti- and post-humanism, and ‘new humanism.’ How do Christian thinkers, artists, and pedagogues respond to this paradigm shift? Who is human? A master and a hero, or a hapless victim of forces beyond his control? Is he a ‘thinking reed’ (Pascal), who is aware of its limitations but also capable of reflection, self-sacrifice, invention, and creativity?
Programme on 21 October
11.10 David Hicks How to Resist the Dehumanizing Character of our
Secular World Order?
11.50 Rainer Sarnet Creative Act in Dramaturgy
12.30 Alexander Filonenko To be Human in War (presentation in Zoom)
14.45 Lyudmila Ulitskaya Nature vs Nurture (presentation in Zoom)
15.25 Prof Fr John Behr Being Human with St Gregory of Nyssa
16.10 Liina Olmaru Image and Imagination
16.40 Coffee break
17.00 Prof Davor Dzalto From Icon to Big Data: Imaging Being Human
17.40 Fr Stephen Platt Bringing up children in an Orthodox family:
some reflections from an Oxford parish
19.30 Concert by Vox Clamantis