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
At a time when we are struggling with a number of major moral dilemas, Ivan Tyrrell suggests that the human givens approach can help us reach ethical decisions.
Ian Thomson takes a look at a selection of ethical issues of relevance to human givens practitioners.
Read Mike Beard's therapist account of Nina's treatment.
In this 2009 article, Bill Andrews describes the practice-based evidence that has emerged from studies of the human givens approach to date and explains why the future looks positive.
Ivan Tyrrell reviews "The Buddha Pill: can meditation change you?" by Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm (Watkins Publishing, £10.99).
We take a look at what's been achieved since two pioneering psychotherapists put a name to this powerful understanding of human nature and mental health...
Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell describe a biologically-based theory which explains the shortcomings of purely cognitive approaches and why effective therapies can work fast.
The essence of what good teachers do is that they enter each pupil's world to discover what they already know, then find ways to connect up new knowledge and/or skills to what already exists in the pupil's mind, thus expanding the learners model of reality.