Sunday Assembly, 14th June 2015
Tricks of the Mind
Our host Joseph opened by describing his fascination with the biology of brain and behaviour.
After a hearty sing-along to Queen’s “A Kind of Magic”, the psychologist and magician Rob Bailey emerged from backstage to play tricks with our assumptions and perceptions. A veteran of the Edinburgh Fringe, Rob had the audience entranced – almost literally – as he distorted our visual perceptions and pre-empted our group choices, which thankfully resulted in a friendly hug for a nice member of the audience (instead of the three other less beneficent alternatives). From the outset, he insisted that he wasn’t using any mystical powers at all, but only predictable patterns of human psychology, and in the final section he revealed what they were.
This edifying spectacle was followed by a well known children’s song, “Puff the Magic Dragon”, with Oli leading on guitar.
We then had a selection of readings. Stephen, who is launching a new Sunday Assembly in Worcester on 21st June, delivered a spirited passage from local boy Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Megan read the famous “such stuff as dreams are made of” monologue by Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, followed by Marion reading William Henry Davies poem “The Mind’s Liberty”.
Sam presented some photos from the Sunday Assembly conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and described some of the interesting talks and activities that happened there. Roz Austin gave an overview of her forthcoming talk on “Hearing Voices” at the Sunday Assembly on July 12th. As we were running over time, we dropped the final song and went straight for the tea and home-made cake.
A group gathered afterwards in the Big Society pub. We decided that in August we will hold a potluck picnic in Bury Knowle Park, Headington.
Next Sunday we will take a leisurely stroll along the Thames towards Sandford village, starting at Carfax in the centre of Oxford.