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Discourse Programme Guide

Free entrance to more than 30 events featuring more than 50 international speakers - the discourse programme at Elevate Festival gives a unique chance to connect and interact with some of the most relevant writers, activists and scientists in the field. Join the quest for the future of humanity!

Thursday March 05 - Quo Vadis Humanity?

What can the future of humanity look like when even the urgent warnings of science have been fading away in political hiccups for decades? Social mechanisms, which have brought many positive developments and progress, seem to lead us into the climatic abyss. Do we live in a "psychotic society", as the German philosopher Ariadne von Schirach calls it? Is "human nature" also characterized by self-destructive urges? Is there even a definable "human nature"? The psychological questions surrounding the festival theme will be explained by the Viennese transformation psychologist Irina Nalis as an introductory lecture at the beginning of the day.

A discussion with two prominent guests via video stream will also be a highlight of the day: US star author Douglas Rushkoff will discuss issues from his book "Team Human" with Gail Bradbrook, one of the founders of the activist group Extinction Rebellion. During an evening panel discussion, the participants will then ask themselves the crucial question "Quo Vadis Humanity?“ What is the future of humanity in the spectrum of climate crisis, political failure and rapid technological development?

Friday March 06 - Quo Vadis Technology?

Creative machines that compose music? A blockchain for commons? An earthquake sensor implanted in the body? A genetic CRISPR/Cas method for creating genetically modified organisms? All this are not future dreams, but represent technological realities that are already in use.

The Elevate Friday in the Discourse Programme is devoted entirely to socio-political questions about the relationship between men and the technologies he has created. In addition to lectures, performances (Moon Ribas) and panel discussions on technological issues, there will also be a discussion on the relationship between music and man, with artists such as Adrian Freedman, Vincent Moon and Xenia Ermoshina, as well as the physiologist and musicologist Harry Witchel from Brighton.

A large discussion round in the evening at the Forum Stadtpark will then pose the general question of the further development of technologies and the relationship of humans to them. In addition to the US author Daniel Pinchbeck, Nayantara Ranganathan from India and Manuel Beltrán from Spain will discuss utopias and dystopias of technological developments.

Saturday March 07 - Quo Vadis climate crisis?

Conservationists and activists of all ages have been active in Europe and worldwide for many decades, warning of the consequences of the climate crisis, but it seems like a fight against windmills.

Under the theme "Climate Crisis - What Now?" the Elevate Saturday starts already at 10 am. First, the climate scientist Helga Kromp-Kolb will report on the current state of climate research (via video stream). Afterwards we will hear inspiring examples from the Transition Town Friesach, how the first steps towards a community in transition can look like, before the participating communities start working out plans and strategies for the community in the workshop. At the end, each community reports. However, since 2019 there is hope again, as millions of young people have managed with their school strikes and courageous actions to finally make the fight against the climate crisis in many countries the most important issue of our time. Can this global movement continue to grow? On Elevate Saturday, activists and thinkers will spend the whole day dealing with the current debates about our future. Some of the crucial questions of the present will be debated and smart options for action will be explored. Among others, activist John Jordan from England, professor for international politics at the University of Vienna, Ulrich Brand, activists from the resistance against coal mining in the German Hambach forest, and many more will be joining the discussion.

Sunday March 08 - Quo Vadis Consciousness?

"Is the climate really mankind's greatest challenge? Or is it not rather man himself?“

The concluding day of the Elevate Discourse Programme is also the beginning of the debate on methods and strategies that can substantially and humanely counteract the climate crisis - as the greatest challenge facing humanity.

"It is impossible to alleviate the crisis by applying strategies based on the same ideology that created it in the first place. Ultimately, the current global crisis is psycho-spiritual in nature; it reflects the degree of consciousness development of the human species. It is therefore difficult to imagine that it could be resolved without a radical inner transformation of humanity on a large scale and its ascent to a higher level of emotional maturity and spiritual consciousness. These words are from Stanislav Grof, a Czech psychotherapist and psychiatrist. He is considered one of the founders of transpersonal psychology.

Elevate Sunday will begin with a discussion round on the topic of Feminism 2020 (in cooperation with Frauenbündnis 0803) on the International Women's Day. It will be followed by topics such as the holistic breathing technique "Holotropic Breathwork" developed by Grof and his wife Christina Grof. A separate session is also dedicated to the use of psychedelic and other mind-expanding substances. Top-class international participants such as the US author Daniel Pinchbeck ("Breaking Open the Head"), the German bestselling author Norman Ohler ("Der Totale Rausch"), the certified "Breathwork" moderator Simona Rakuša from Slovenia, as well as the Belgian-born P2P economist Michel Bauwens or the Norwegian climate scientist Thomas Hamre are all dedicated to essential questions of consciousness, spirituality and possible interrelated strategies to solve the climate and humanity crisis.

Finally, the British Shakuhachi Zen flute master Adrian Freedman will conclude the discourse programme of the Elevate Festival 2020 with an intimate concert in the Forum Stadtpark.

The entire Elevate discourse programme online

The entrance to the entire discourse programme is free as always!

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