At Gareth+Alan’s suggestion, Moira+I joined them at the 2010 Louis Sherwood Memorial Lecture given by Richard Holloway as part of the “Festival of Ideas” at @bristol on Wednesday. It proved to be a hugely impressive and absolutely fascinating evening. Holloway was formerly Bishop of Edinburgh, but his interests and knowledge cover a massive range of things (from chair of the BMA Steering Group on Ethics and Genetics to chair of the Scottish Arts Council). His talk was on “Disloyalty” and explored the role of disloyalty in the creative arts (and also suggested that this was also an important virtue in religion): the disloyal mind refusing to conform to existing norms and allowing new values and understandings to come in from the future. He talked for about 45 minutes and touched upon the work of writers, artists, architects and then answered questions from the floor – with amazing insight and imagination. He was hugely impressive (extremely well-read, but practical at the same time). I’ve just checked and it seems that Holloway is 77 years old – but with the mind of a twentysomething intellectual. His talk ranged from Graham Greene to Nietzsche, from art to religion and much much more. These are a few of the things I scribbled down from his talk: “the artist’s disloyalty is the queen of virtue”; “loyalty confines us to accepted opinions”; “radicals create culture, conservatives defend it”; “the tragedy of many lives is that they stop being creative”; and “every great progress must be preceded by something that makes it weaker”.
A wonderfully stimulating evening.