Sunday, 24 November 2013

Why does Pakistan have no intellectual events?

I have been lamenting for a while that we do not have conferences in Pakistan but Tamashas where
  • VIPs come not to learn but read a prepared speech and receive garlands
  • The whole conference organized to please VIPs and donors leaving learning out of the picture. 
  • People are asked to present and put on stage not because of their knowledge or ideas but only to adorn panels. 
  • Stray subjects or people are put together without a clear coherent theme emerging for the conference. 
  • Speakers ramble and time overruns are frequent.
  • Debates neither happen nor are encouraged and if they do they turn nasty.
  • People from the floor if they speak make speeches whether or not they are related to the subject.
  • Audiences are thin and often consist of people who are there for reasons other than to learn.
Conferences or forums as a desirable learning activity is too distant from us. Yet part of development is to inculcate this culture. In developed countries this has been a glorious tradition for centuries. For example the salon culture in France existed in the 17th century. The Royal Society had started its own intellectual network with exchanges and meetings in the 17th century. 

I came across an invitation to attend a session on the Brain with several luminaries such as Steven Pinker. on trying to get a ticket I found this.

http://shopmoment.bigcartel.com/product/the-2013-moment-magazine-symposium-on-creativity-the-brain

The hall is sold out on tickets of $180. If we tried in Pakistan we would find it hard to sell something like this for even a Rs 100.