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A new society was established at Eton on the 25th of February. The Lyceum Society encourages pupils to share their opinions and present interesting answers to topical questions. Other societies often invite individuals to visit Eton and share their expertise and experience, however, the Lyceum Society has taken a unique approach. It was created to give pupils the opportunity to, as one of the founders Hugo Roma Wilson explains, ‘not only to challenge themselves but also to challenge others’, building confidence and oratorical skills vital for the future.

So far, LySoc have met twice this year, focusing initially on the question of how far George Orwell’s dystopian prophecy was coming true. I had just finished reading ‘1984’, so it was an ideal time to join in the conversation! Maxwell DeLorenzo, the first speaker, presented the argument that as technology and political systems are ‘becoming more dystopian’, we are increasingly dependent on such systems. Hasit Nanda, in contrast, was convinced that challenges to authoritarian regimes were likely given ‘increasing competition between firms’. The level of research and effort put into their arguments was brilliant to see.

The second meeting explored the consequences of Artificial Intelligence, as well as the ethics behind research into the Human Embryonic Stem Cell (HESC). The format of LySoc meetings offers pupils the chance to discuss and debate after speaker presentations, so each participant on Zoom was moved into a break-out room to develop their ideas further. The Lyceum Society empowers pupils to take a proactive role in improving their own education, expanding the breadth of topics studied and sharing ideas and opinions in a public forum. Indeed, much like the skills Aristotle taught in his garden of philosophy.

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Eton2020 – A New Social Vision