In the fifth and final of the 2017 CBC Massey lectures, Payam Akhavan shares his experience at the 2006 World Economic Forum and of meeting and speaking with a young ISIS suicide bomber in an Iraq prison. The sharp contrast between these two events highlights the obscene disparity between the aloof wealth and self-righteousness of the elites compared to the harsh reality of shame, humiliation and trauma, of downtrodden people, which give rise to extremism.
Payam states that the answer to the injustice of this disparity, is not to be found in our, “…indulge[nce] in the crass materialism and self-absorption of our consumerist culture.” Rather, he identifies, “The glorification of greed breeds apathy to the suffering of others; it breeds both cultural and structural violence. It is fundamentally incompatible with the spiritual reality that the depths of our humanity can only be discovered through altruism. The light of our soul is best mirrored in how we help the suffering, not in how much we consume.”
Following the presentation, everyone will have the opportunity to participate in an open and gently moderated dialog. For each of the 8 sessions in our discussion series, our hope is that the participants will: