The Bank Windhoek Socratic (Philosophy) Forum was established in April 2013 and has addressed a wide variety of topics, hosted by numerous national and international speakers. It is enthusiastically supported by a broad spectrum of the Namibian public and its meetings became an important entry on the social calendar of the City.
The Forum is part of Bank Windhoek’s overall support to the Arts industry and aims to stimulate critical thinking and has since its foundation aspired at achieving this goal by making its supporters aware of the importance of bracketing opinions in interactions with others. The Forum resumes its activities on Tuesday, 23 May 2023 at 18:00 at The Weinberg Conference Venues with a lecture on the topic of Conflict as human phenomenon by Prof. Abel Esterhuyse from the Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University.
Bank Windhoek once again extends an open invitation to the Namibian public to attend these meetings and to participate in honing their skills in critical thinking. The meetings of the Bank Windhoek Socratic Forum will be advertised in the Namibian press and on the Bank Windhoek social media pages. Those interested in receiving being electronic notifications of upcoming events of the activities of The Socratic Forum should add their names and contact details to the attendance register circulated during meetings. All enquiries can be directed to Dr. Willem Moore at 081 277 2565.
About the speaker
Professor Abel Esterhuyse is HOD of the Department of Strategic Studies in the Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University at the South African Military Academy. Holding a PhD from the University of Stellenbosch, he is also a graduate of The Senior Leadership Programme of the African Center for Strategic Studies in Washington DC; The Summer Programme in Military History at the US Military Academy, West Point; and the Programme on the Analysis of Military Operations and Strategy (SWAMOS) of Columbia University’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies in New York. Before joining academia, he served as an officer in the South African Army. A rated scientist of the South African National Research Foundation, he specialises in South African security and defence, military and strategic theory, and contemporary conflict. His most recent publication is a co-authored journal article titled ‘South African defence decision-making: analysing dysfunctional approaches’.
Conflict as human phenomenon
Many, especially those that are more traditional and realist in orientation, view humanity as ‘…inherently destructive, selfish, competitive, and aggressive’. This view is shared by philosophers like Thomas Hobbes who accepted that human beings are capable of generosity, kindness, and cooperation, but believed that the pride and egoism inherent in human nature mean that mankind is prone to conflict, violence, and great evil.
One of the great tragedies of the human condition, many argue, is that these destructive traits can never be eradicated. Reflecting on this view, Herbert Butterfield argued that ‘…behind the great conflicts of mankind is a terrible human predicament which lies at the heart of the story’. Underlying these views is the argument that violence is a phenomenon that can never be eliminated from the world. Instead, humans ought to learn to cope with the ever-present threat of conflict through strategies to minimize the likelihood and severity of violence. How then should we understand the presence of conflict, violence and war within and between societies?