The Alpine Fellowship
by Professor Roger Scruton

Foreword

We are an association of writers, artists and scholars who wish to define and pursue our common interest in the humanities. As we see it, the world of scholarship has been fragmented by specialisation, has lost some of its vital connection with the arts, and has also retreated before the advance of scientism. Many questions confront us in our attempts to imbue our lives with meaning. Some of these are scientific questions, concerning the function and evolution of the human brain, the nature of the cosmos, the ultimate structure of the matter from which we are composed. But some of them are not scientific questions, since they do not seek to explain the world but to interpret it. The world is our world, imbued with the aspirations through which we aspire to a total conception of its meaning. Questions surround the phenomena of consciousness, beauty, morality and the sacred; the meaning that we seek and find in art and music; the poetic use of words and the power of metaphor. They are not scientific questions, and the attempt to squeeze them into the mould of scientific theory leads all too frequently to caricature and even nonsense.
Our Fellowship is neither a dogmatic sect nor a career path. We are a diverse group of people who enjoy the life of the mind. We want to release the imagination, so that it can flourish again according to its own innate principles. We would like to explore the boundary where scientific explanation stops and the true humanities begin. Our goal is to encourage meetings, discussions, publications and performances that will bring together those who share our concern for the future of the intellectual life, and who wish to restore the links between philosophy and culture. We reach out to creative people of every age, who want something better than the education that has in so many ways put a barrier between them and the real knowledge that they are seeking – especially in the arts of painting, architecture, literature and music. Most of all we want to explore and learn from imaginative worlds, to turn away from the things that reduce and demean us, and to restore confidence in our human capacity to transcend the obsession with ephemera.