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
Joe Griffin talks with Professor Ian Robertson about the role of experience in the sculpting of our brains, and why certain types of counselling may do harm.
Lorraine Debnam describes how she used her chance to bring psychological help to Rwandan street children.
Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell explain how and why a human givens approach can help therapists shift depression in just a few sessions — or less.
Studying to become a counsellor would give her the skills to help people, thought Frances Masters. It didn’t … until she came across the human givens approach.
Looking at cult behaviour. A revised version (including additional material) of an article by Ivan Tyrrell, first published in 1993, that explores Dr Arthur Deikman's enlightening work on cult behaviour.
Renée van der Vloodt describes how a dramatic event during rewind helped a client resolve a whole host of difficulties in her life.
Ivan Tyrrell reviews "The Buddha Pill: can meditation change you?" by Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm (Watkins Publishing, £10.99).
Most people think ethics is concerned with truth, justice, equality, loyalty, fairness, values, principles, morals, etc. All these words in italics are abstractions. They are content free. They contain no sensory information. Such words used to be called 'reifications' in philosophy and are now more commonly called 'nominalisations'.
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