“How to Live in Political Times” is a series of panel discussions organized by artist Lenore Malen in response to today's treacherous political landscape and environmental crises.
The title for this series of panels was inspired by a biography of Michel de Montaigne, How To Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer, by Sarah Bakewell. A statesman and essayist, Montaigne lived in the second half of the 16th century, a period of brutal and fanatical religious wars. His friendship with Étienne de La Boétie, the author of “The Politics of Obedience,” is highly resonant for our time. La Boétie wrote that “tyrants somehow hypnotize their people” and “they fall in love with him.” Montaigne’s essays, drawn in part from the writings of Hellenistic philosophers including Skeptics, Stoics, and Epicureans, asked “how to live well in hard times, how to acquire equanimity.” Rather than offering ethical answers to abstract moral questions, Montaigne provided accounts of his own personal actions as examples of how one might face any number of dilemmas, large and small. In essence, Montaigne created a new literary form based on self-inquiry in which readers could see themselves.
These panels feature artists, writers, and activists who will discuss their personal experiences within today’s political and environmental climates, and the myriad ways in which they connect social justice, artistic output, and lived life. By recognizing questions and stories as answers, the hope is that these explorations of personal histories, actions, and points of view can inspire us as we press on through these times.
HOW TO LIVE — SPEECH
November 30, 2018, 6 - 8 PM