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
Julia Welstead on loneliness and the Human Givens approach
Listen to Brian Greene’s interview with Denise Winn (Human Givens College tutor and psychology journalist, editor and author) as they discuss how the human givens approach is used for successfully treating depression.
Julia Welstead looks at how our inner resources - with a little help from an effective therapist - can help us to overcome trauma, build resilience through difficult times and develop a positive mindset and zest for life.
Paul Dow finds creative ways of using the human givens approach to help struggling students meet their emotional needs.
How’s your New Year resolve bearing up? What went through your mind as the bells rang in 2019? Julia Welstead discusses how reframing, visualising and rehearsing your own success are often the keys to achieving what you want, and to making your New Year resolution a permanent behaviour pattern in your life...
When? That’s the big unanswerable question: the uncertainty of which can cause us debilitating fear or a ‘head in the sand’ attitude of ignoring the inevitable. In this article Julia Welstead looks at our mortality and preparing for the inevitable.
Ivan Tyrrell talks with Paul Allin about the significance of the Government’s National Well-being Programme and the contribution of the human givens
Do you think of yourself as an anxious person? This can lead you to think that anxiety is your lot; that there is damn all you can do about it. Well, that isn’t true at all and you are confining yourself to a limiting box if you continue to believe that...
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The Human Givens Institute (HGI) was one of the six organisations, along with BACP, UKCP and NCS, involved in developing the SCoPEd framework,
As you may be aware, after 26 years as editor of the Human Givens Journal, Denise Winn will be stepping down at the end of 2023. Despite advertising for a successor last year, we have been unable to find any one person who could fulfil the role.
Date posted: 13/04/2023