It’s one of the most difficult decisions we can make: in order lead a fulfilling life should we conform and initiate change from within the system, or rebel against conventionalism and all the sacrifices that entails?
Even after making a decision, we can often find ourselves pining after the other option. Give up your job, grow your own food and become an environmental activist, and you may quickly find yourself lacking security, basic resources and drifting toward the margins of the socio-political dialogue. Similarly, if you continue working for corporation-X, get a mortgage and network with important people you may find your voice lost in the larger whole. It’s the classic 'between a rock and a hard place' scenario.
Is it possible to walk the line between these two paths in life? For many, it feels like maintaining one’s system of beliefs, lifestyle, friends and sense of self-worth simultaneously is an impossible task. Most of us have seen friends who have wholly embraced a particular lifestyle choice, only to become slowly disillusioned with their lot and eventually lose their grasp on the origins of their decision. Active choice becomes passive subsistence.
All this choice, all of these options (with no apparent answers) can make us feel afraid, alone and like there are no other options available to us – but contrary to popular belief there are places where like minded individuals come together to discuss such issues. This year at HowTheLightGetsIn festival in Hay-on-Wye, The School of Life is organising a series of open platform events where people can relax, lunch, and enter their own ideas into discussions on about how to lead a fulfilling existence.
Having been down both these paths and realising that neither presented a viable course for my future, I now know that the most important way to keep perspective is to surround ourselves with others who can contribute to our growth, add to our knowledge and help guide us a little further through the winding roads of life.
HowTheLightGetsIn runs from 31 May – 10 June 2012 in Hay-on-Wye. The School of Life wil be hosting philosophy breakfasts, conversation lunches and afternoon tea discussions with faculty members Cathy Haynes and Mark Vernon.
Tickets are available directly from HowTheLightGetsIn here
Tom Chatfield will be part of the Art in the Age of the Machine session on Wednesday 6 June at 5.30pm