Rowan Williams to speak at Festival of Wellbeing

Published 20 August 2013
(Photo: Keith Blundy)
Dr Rowan Williams meets volunteers at the Christian Aid celebration in Sunderland Minster

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will speak on knowledge and relationships at the forthcoming Festival of Wellbeing.

Lord Williams, who is also the chairman of Christian Aid, will speak on how the pursuit of knowledge affects human relationships and how it can be a source of frustration.

"Our culture has a very clear and very dysfunctional idea of what it is to 'know' things," he says.

"We still regularly talk as though it was a matter of a disembodied mind surveying a dead landscape. Other ways of thinking about this need revisiting, especially those that stress that knowing is some sort of sharing of life: we know the world as part of it, not as something separate.

"This is an essential aspect of a religious approach to the world, but it's also a profoundly important principle for our human relations, our politics and economics. We need to get beyond a picture of knowledge that assumes we are disembodied minds managing dead matter. This is the source of many of our current tangles of frustration and injustice."

The festival has been organised by the Resurgence and Ecologist Magazine and takes place at the Bishopsgate Institute in London on 12 October.

Lord Williams will speak on the subject of knowledge and human relationships as part of the festival's wider consideration of the 'shift from economic growth to growth in wellbeing'.

Other speakers include poet and Booker prize-winning novelist Ben Okri, author Tony Juniper, poet Ruth Padel and campaigning journalist Tamsin Omond among others.

Editor-in-chief of Resurgence and Ecologist Magazine, Satish Kumar, said the festival would examine the nature of wellbeing from multiple perspectives.

He said: "I am honoured and delighted that Rowan Williams will be speaking at our Festival of Wellbeing. He brings with him a unique level of wisdom and intelligence which blends economy, social justice and spirituality.

"This will enhance our event which focuses on wellbeing from a variety of angles including environmental, personal and social.

"The Festival of Wellbeing provides an extraordinary combination of economists, environmentalists, business leaders, spiritual leaders and activists within the field of development."

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