Seeking meaning in the modern world
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June 2016
– Trinity College, Dublin
Joe Griffin's suggestion for this year’s conference theme couldn’t be more relevant in today’s troubled world – as a recent human givens blog post highlights, meaning isn't just crucial for our mental health, it's crucial for our very survival too.
'Seeking meaning in the modern world'
Few leave this world without experiencing some level of suffering.
Since it is meaning that makes suffering tolerable (which is perhaps why we are driven to seek it) the theme of this weekend has critical relevance in these unsettling times.
We search in all directions for significance: in the language and behaviour of people around us; in nature; beauty; weather; science; religion; the arts; our work and play and in the pace of change. Without realising it, all the time we are looking to see if what has happened, is happening or might happen will impact on our ability to get our innate emotional needs met.
In modern times the old certainties have waned and the absence of adequate answers to the questions 'What is the purpose of living?' and 'What should I do?' and 'Why do I exist?' haunt many, giving rise to the 'illness' of meaninglessness, as illustrated by the upsurge in depression, anxiety, addiction and extremism in all its forms.
This conference explored meaning from many angles: Why do healthy children find the world intrinsically meaningful yet some of them grow up to become cynical and bored, or even kill themselves? And why do others end up finding meaning in crazy cults or by adopting destructive views that generate violent conflict and terror?
And why do our greatest moments of happiness seem to arise when we feel connected by love to others and the universe appears imbued with meaning, inspiring a sense of fascination, mystery and awe.
Explore our articles and interviews
Chris Dyas vividly describes how he teaches troubled children to be their own therapists.
Gail Rhodes and Jenny Waddington describe their experience of establishing a small business to spread availability of the human givens approach.
Dr Farouk Okhai opens his casebook to show how the human givens approach can best help severely distressed people.
Stuart Coulden describes an innovative project for enhancing emotional health in diverse school communities.
Human givens principles have been introduced to over 200 schools and adopted systemically by some. Here, four headteachers provide a vivid snapshot of their impact.
Book review: 'Lost Connections: uncovering the real causes of depression – and the unexpected solutions'
Denise Winn has read Lost Connections: uncovering the real causes of depression – and the unexpected solutions, and talked to its author, Johann Hari.
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