Why are we scared of ourselves?

4 April 2006



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In a world where pessimism is institutionalised and fashionable, and where human relationships are regarded as toxic, it is time to bend the stick the other way, urged Professor Frank Furedi as he delivered the first talk in the Sydney Ideas lecture series.

Frank Furedi
Frank Furedi

Speaking at the University’s Seymour Centre, the controversial UK sociologist argued that a theme of human culpability runs through contemporary language and thinking. A deep-set misanthropy has become prevalent which contends that humans are destroying the environment, damaging one another and creating havoc. A hatred of human qualities has developed, he said.

“To ‘tamper’ with the environment is regarded as necessarily destructive; the term ‘experimentation’ is yoked to Nazi testing and Frankenstein-like projects. Western culture is seen as being estranged from its own humanity,” he said.

How we view humanity really matters, argued Professor Furedi. “The real question is not whether our humanity can survive the 21st century, but whether our belief in our humanity can survive. We must not become scared of ourselves.”

Sydney Ideas, the new international public lecture series at the University, will give audiences the opportunity to hear the worlds most stimulating writers, academics and thinkers in a regular forum.

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Contact: Andrew Potter

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