What is an organising idea?
An organising idea pulls information together so the mind can make sense of it. The richer the pattern in the mind, the more 'true' the organising idea is.
In all areas of life confusion flourishes, mistakes are made and harm is done when we forget that the way we look at phenomena is dependent on an active effort of imagination and thinking. We are not mechanical recording instruments looking out on a fixed world. We organise what we see through what we believe we know.
“All scientific knowledge is a correlation of what is seen with the way that it is seen.”
Henri Bortoft in 'The Wholeness of Nature'
All the organising ideas in our head play an active role in shaping our perception and thinking and guiding our actions. An effective new organising idea is always larger than an earlier one because it can explain the anomalies that previously caused confusion.
The quality of the organising idea is determined by how much of reality it reveals.
When any field of study is confused, any political effort is failing, any conflict not being resolved, it usually means a larger new organising idea has to be introduced before a resolution to the problems can be found.
Since most people react in conditioned ways to events, it requires a particular set of skills and qualities to see what has never been seen before and thereby produce the new organising idea.
These are not necessarily the same skills that are needed to introduce the idea to enough people so it takes hold. A perfect example of this is the case of the man, Ignatz Semmelwiess, who recognised that doctors washing their hands between seeing patients and cleanliness were important in preventing high mortality rates in hospitals. He was driven mad because his colleagues couldn't see what he was going on about. But now we know his organising idea was correct and hygienic behaviour in hospitals has saved millions of lives.
Explore our articles and interviews
How one session of human givens therapy was enough to transform the life of Sarah, a depressed single mother.
Denise Winn talks with Professor John Ratey about the brain as a social organ, and the need to be alert early to inept social skills.
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.
When we react excessively to events, major or minor, we may be victims of a primitive survival mechanism gone awry, suggests Joe Griffin. Despite often causing years of distress, it can be treated successfully — and usually remarkably quickly.
GP Andrew Morrice explores the part inflammation plays in depression and how that connects with human givens understandings.
Andrew Jones describes how the human givens approach has transformed his effectiveness in his demanding role as a chaplain in the Royal Air Force.
Last night, while you slept, you went into the REM state and dreamed. You probably don't remember because, for a very good reason, we evolved not to. However all normal humans go into the REM state and dream every night and most mammals show evidence of this brain pattern too.
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.
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Volume 25, No 1, 2018, the latest edition of the Human Givens Journal is now available.
Date posted: 11/06/2018
Brian Greene and Jennifer Broadley discuss how to apply the human givens approach in couples therapy.
Date posted: 30/05/2018