How The Light Gets In Festival Offers A Moment To Ponder Life’s Big Questions

The festival features 200+ events, hosted from London, New York and Delhi. Here's how HuffPost is involved.

If the coronavirus pandemic’s stay-in weekends have you contemplating life’s larger questions, an upcoming global philosophy and arts festival hopes to help you think through this extraordinary and unsettling moment.

Over two days on September 19-20, the How The Light Gets In Festival will platform 200 talks, debates, music performances and comedy acts, across eight stages, curated and hosted from Delhi, London, and New York, and delivered to you over a customised festival experience on Zoom.

HuffPost India will be a partner to the festival this year, with three journalists from our international partner editions hosting events.

“Being on the festival site will be more like being in a VR space” founding director Hilary Lawson told HuffPost UK. “It’s not laid out like a normal website: you choose between things, just as you would in reality, arriving at the box office and heading into the festival. There’s a chance to get lost on the way as you cross the site, and plenty of opportunities to meet other festival goers and talk to the speakers.”

The festival’s overarching theme — Belief, Hypocrisy and Reason — is likely to strike a chord with those living through this rather baroque moment when democracy often appears imperilled and the future uncertain.

Yet rather than the screaming bouts that Indian television viewers are accustomed to, the How The Light Gets In Festival’s debates feature a wide array of experts, Nobel-prize winners and intellectual provocateurs.

The panel on The Freedom Paradox, for instance, features philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett, cognitive neuroscience specialist Patrick Haggard and author of A Metaphysics for Freedom Helen Steward.

“In a way, the pandemic has returned people to the big philosophical questions that affect our lives, such as what is the aim of life, what is the nature of reality?” founding director, Hilary Lawson told HuffPost UK. “We held a lot of political debates back in May, in the middle of lockdown, and we still are doing those this time. But I think that people have had six months talking about Covid-19. They are also interested in the bigger questions.”

Aman Sethi, editor-in-chief of HuffPost India, will be hosting ‘Tomorrow’s World’, a debate weighing up technology both as a threat and solution, with Oxford transhumanist Anders Sandberg, inventor and green technologist, Priyadarshini Karve, and director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo.

Paul Waugh, HuffPost UK’s executive editor of politics, and writer of The Waugh Zone, will be chairing the ‘Dreams, Delusions and Class Interests’ session, as Conservative cabinet Minister Kwasi Kwarteng, Labour MP Dawn Butler and satirist PJ O’Rourke wrestle with the relevance of class and whether “left” and “right” are still good ways to split up politics.

Rachel Moss, life reporter and co-presenter of HuffPost UK’s weekly podcast about women’s health, bodies and private lives, Am I Making You Uncomfortable? will be interviewing human rights defender Bianca Jagger.