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What's the big question for the next 50 years?

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Roland Taylor Roland Taylor | 11:54 UK Time, Sunday, 25 October 2009

Have your say here, by commenting on this blog post. Your opinion may be read out in recordings for Radio 3 Night Waves broadcasts at the Free Thinking Festival at the Sage Gateshead today!

Click on 'Comments' to add your comment.




  • Comment number 1.

    Can we survive, Roly?


  • Comment number 2.

    Will humanity overcome isolation and succeed in fighting global issues such as poverty, inequality and environmental degradation before it is overwhelmed with dire consequences?

  • Comment number 3.

    I hope we can survive kleines_C or there will be no one to contribute to our message boards and blog.
    By 'us' do you mean the human race? or folk who love classical music? Radio 3 listeners? :)
    As for environmental degradation, having just come out of Tom Shakespeare talking about visual art as a tool for thinking, I'm inclined to think we need to express ourselves more through art to reach people who seem unreachable. One really thought-provoking thing he said, and I quote, was this: 'Narratives and stories speak to people, not facts and figures'.
    However, here's an incredibly compelling person having her say: The girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes.
    Watch it and think. It's a work of art...

  • Comment number 4.

    The one thing all those years on Tomorrow's World taught me, was that whenever you try to project into the future, it's impossible to shed the shackles of the present. So in the '60s Raymond Baxter saw a future with paper dresses and in the 80's we talked about how to turn crude oil into food.

    So I share the concerns of the earlier comments but I bet the issues we'll (I'll be 104) face will be very different.

    For me , the big question is, can we find a truely sustainable way of living on this planet. Are we capable of making the necessary personal, social and political changes?

  • Comment number 5.

    Your question was also my question, Maggie, so I am glad that you clarified it above. As for Roland, by 'we' or 'us', do I mean the human race? I left it deliberately ambiguous. I mean you and me (I stand an outside chance of surviving the next fifty years, although, to be honest, I am not particularly bothered), I mean the human race and I mean life on Earth. I liked your youtube link, and the questions about environmental sustainability and world poverty demand some pretty serious 'Free Thinking'. There may be no easy answers.

    I suspect that you can, in a profound sense, blame the Industrial Revolution for the environmental challenge we currently face, and the evidence, as far as we can judge, is that we are living through a mass extinction. I don't think that human beings are likely to last as long as the dinosaurs, but I suspect that some forms of life will survive our own capacity for self-destruction.

    As for 'folk who love classical music', Roland, not to mention jazz, world music, other arts, ideas and 'serious' culture, as promoted by BBC Radio 3 (amongst many other institutions, including 'The Sage'), well, I see it as part of a heritage which we spurn at our peril, and of which it would be a crime to deprive future generations. Nevertheless, who am I to say that classical music is any better than any other form of music? If you look at the history of the twentieth century, the first half has sometimes been described as the Jazz Age, relegating Classical Music to earlier centuries, and the second half of the twentieth century saw, in some respects, the triumph of pop. Was it a Pyrrhic victory, Roland?

  • Comment number 6.

    Hello Maggie
    Welcome to the blog! I'm pleased to tell you that precisely your big question found its way on to several post-it notes on the screens we put up for people to write on in the interactive hub at the Sage, and was widely debated in the sessions.
    All of the sessions at Free Thinking were recorded and if you have time to tune in to Night Waves on Radio 3 (9.15pm Mon-Thu) for the next couple of weeks, you'll be able to hear the discussions. Or there's always the iPlayer ...
    Best wishes
    Radio 3 Blog Editor


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