Ragged University: ‘Civil War; Ranters, Quakers and Revolution’ plus ‘Loneliness and Social Isolation’
Come along to the St John’s Church Hall (Princes St, Edinburgh, EH2 4BJ) at 5.30pm for two talks, a bite to eat and some company. Join this friendly and informal gathering to discuss topics with food in good company. It is entirely free and open to everyone
My aim is to share with you the riches of a historical period. In the mid seventeenth century, Britain was plunged in a revolution. In the course of the revolution, ‘church courts and the censorship broke down. The result was an upsurge of popular and radical thinking – much of it thinking of an apocalyptic kind. (The term ‘apocalyptic’ is one which I shall explain but, in this note, I pass over it in silence.) Not the least important feature of the uncensored period of the civil war period is its impact on generations of subsequent radical thought.
Frequently, commentators on radicalism look back only to the early decades of the twentieth century, when Lenin and Luxemburg debated what was termed the ‘problem of organisation’. It is assumed that, beyond Lenin and Luxemburg, only nineteenth-century social democracy was worth considering. My proposal is that such a view of radicalism’s sources is too narrow.
The talk will be exploring the history of mid 17th century, Britain during a time of revolution, commentators of radicalism and the origins of radical and grassroots thought Ranters and Quakers. There is an accompanying essay as a handout which gives people a deeper insight.
During the break there will be a chance to have some food and conversation. You are invited to bring along an item of food to put on the table to share and help take it away at the end so that nothing goes to waste. It is a bring your own bottle event.
There has been a great increase in the attention which has been paid to loneliness in the last few years. Lots of research and charities has been formed around studying this social phenomenon as it badly impacts people’s health and wellbeing. Lots of different factors seem to be involved in creating social isolation in the United Kingdom as the means for people being able to socialise and create social connections are becoming sparse.
The social and economic landscape of the UK has suffered from various kinds of fragmentation and this is now being seen in increases in the mental health issues, drug and alcohol addiction, a spike and rise in deaths due to overdose. If we look at the rises in these problems their increase seems to be connected with the austerity policies, the rise in the costs of living, and the diminishment of social spaces available to people.
There is a parallel in behaviour and health when we look at what happens with animals that are kept in captivity. The impact on cognitive function and the development of the brain is striking when we compare wild animals to domestic ones. The development of stress behaviours and stress related illnesses is well known and understood in the context of keeping animals in zoos and aquariums; put simply, if they do not have the space and features of the environment which allow them to express their natural behaviours then they become ill and suffer behavioural problems.