Some five years or so ago, there took place in Rye a series of interactive lectures on philosophy under the auspices of the WEA (rather misleadingly named the Workers’ Educational Association ). Themes from the great philosophers from ancient times till today were discussed and brought to life in a very relaxed and enjoyable way.
When the series concluded, about a dozen students decided to continue to meet regularly as a sort of DIY philosophy class, with members in turn bringing subjects for discussion. Now calling ourselves the Rye Freethinkers, we meet regularly on a Tuesday morning at the Rye Club in Market Road and share ideas, question assumptions and sometimes dissolve unconscious prejudices. We are a diverse group interested in social philosophy, but sociable with it so there is plenty of laughter alongside thought-provoking observations. If it sounds serious or exclusive, it is most definitely not.
Some of the members gave their reasons for coming. One said: “I joined because I like listening to other people’s views and there’s such a variety of thinking.” Another said: “I enjoy it and it makes me think; sometimes I carry on with the subject in my mind for the next few days”.
A third member recalled: “I felt my brain was atrophied. I was sitting at home, reading a lot but not communicating or getting input from other people. I remember sitting there at first saying little, but now I can put forward ideas and opinions freely.”
Of the original dozen, some have dropped out or moved away and there are now seven of us. There is room for three or four more to join, so if you think you might be interested, get in touch with one of the members David Hance.
Photo: David Hance