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Beyond The Basement

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Think the Basement can get a little over the top at times?

Well...there's a festival, now in its 6th year that takes it (by design) to the absolute limit. The Atlantic recently did an article on the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) to be held in (no surprise) that strangest of all self-styled democracies: Australia. And at their iconic Sydney Opera House no less.

The article in The Atlantic says it all:

Can an Idea Be Dangerous?
An Australian festival aims to shock and provoke its audience. Does it go too far?
Kathy Gilsinan Aug 31 2014, 12:08 PM ET

What does the notion that “cat videos will save journalism” have in common with the claim that “women are sexual predators?”

According to the organizers of this weekend's Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, these ideas are both dangerous. The festival, which just wrapped up its sixth installment, offers a roster of speakers on topics that could alternately be described as gently counterintuitive or, in the words of co-curator Simon Longstaff, “offensive, obnoxious, fearsome, [or] dangerously stupid.”

And while even journalists don't tend to seek shelter at the sight of a cat video, what makes all of these ideas “dangerous” to the festival’s organizers is their potential to challenge. “The original intention was to look at things that are difficult to discuss and are not discussed, that go against mainstream thought and opinion,” co-curator Ann Mossop tells me from Sydney. These can include big ideas about freedom, life, and death, or ideas that challenge everyday behavior by arguing, for example, that recycling is basically a waste of time. An idea could pose danger to any number of targets, be they a set of beliefs, an industry, or the very structure of society.
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Interesting read. Find the full article here.

You can find the Festival of Dangerous Ideas webpage here.

And their YouTube channel called Ideas at the House here.


Think the Basement can get a little over the top at times?
-40hz (September 01, 2014, 07:07 AM)
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Over the top? I think we mostly keep it bottled up downstairs. ;)

For the festival, browsing through some, they all seem fairly tame.

Less tameA lot are pretty much mainstream or typical left-wing or collectivist ideas... oh, that's right... those were responsible for the vast majority of the over 250 million people in the 20th century that perished from democide. Well, aside from those... A few are off the beaten path a bit, but not much from what I saw. Good marketing I suppose.

These are probably a few ideas more dangerous than most listed (I'm avoiding some topics that are better in The Basement ;) ):

* The Internet
* Cody Wilson - 3D printed guns
* Bram Cohen - Bittorrent
* Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Carl Lundström - The Pirate Bay
* Adam Back - Hashcash
* Satoshi Nakamoto - Bitcoin
* John Hutchison - The Hutchison Effect (named after him)
* John Hutchison - Antigravity
* John Hutchison - Yeah... A lot more...
* Jesus Christ - The ultimate anarchist. :P
I could dig up some more. :) The last few are probably less familiar for most people.

But it would be nice to seem some more dangerous ideas pop up. The question remains though, who is it dangerous for?

Nice find. :)

^The degree of "tameness" (is that an actual word?) varies from year to year. And it's not just confined to their big annual soirée. They have a year round program.

Not for everybody. But since I'm most comfortable, and my brain seems to function best whenever I'm outside my 'comfort' zone, I think FODI has a role in the world of ideas.

^The degree of "tameness" (is that an actual word?) -40hz (September 01, 2014, 09:51 AM)
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It actually is. :)

Not for everybody. But since I'm most comfortable, and at my mind seems to function at its best whenever I'm outside my 'comfort' zone, I think FODI has a role in the world of ideas.
-40hz (September 01, 2014, 09:51 AM)
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Heck yeah!

I probably should have qualified myself above. **I** didn't find too many things "dangerous". But quite a few of the topics would certainly piss off a lot of people. e.g. The topics addressing free speech are extremely dangerous to a lot of people. As an example of that, the UN is currently trying to coax Japan into creating "hate speech" laws. Speech is inherently dangerous because some people are just... uh... Let me just *not* devolve into a blithering rant. ;) ;D

I would like to see things like FODI gain greater publicity with a broader range of dangerous ideas. It's good to shock people that have gotten comfortable.

And it's ok to reject ideas too. Without becoming violent. People forget that sometimes.

I'm dying to blurt out some things... sigh... nope. Sometimes it pays to be quiet. :)

My feeling is that one good thing about publicly discussing "dangerous" ideas is it gets them out in the open where you can often see the clear difference between "bad dangerous" and "good dangerous." And it's not just dangerous ideas. Look how many "good" ideas turned out to be "not very" once we uncovered the hidden agendas behind them and suddenly realized just how ugly and batshit crazy their chief proponents really are. (ref: The Patriot Act, FISA, Libertarianism, etc.)

Everything benefits from a healthy dose of sunlight IMHO. And talk is cheap - so let's talk about everything. In public. And in a well-lighted forum.

Risk always needs to be assessed against the potential benefit(s) to be gained. Almost everything worth having comes at a price. The question is how much risk and how high a price you're willing to pay to attempt to gain something. That's where common sense, economic reality, and ethics come in. And those are much harder criteria to apply in a rational manner.

But we can save those for a separate discussion. The one where the word "let's" replaces the phrase "what if we..."


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