Updates and thoughts

Love is the Drug I’m thinking of…

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We are delighted to have Neuroscientist Anders Sandberg speak at The Greatest Adventure, Love in the Time of Tinder, at the end of April. He will be evaluating, discussing and sharing his views on why he thinks evolution has had a lasting effect on love...

‘Till Death Do Us Part’ is certainly true if you are living in a cave as early man, where starvation and predators are around every corner. Under these circumstances, it would be a necessity and life dependent for you to swiftly move on and find another partner to mate and reproduce with. And life would go on…

There is no reason why evolution should glue a relationship together, because it would not last more than ten years back then! Nowadays, it is extremely rare for humanity to face such problems. As people live longer, this poses problematic concerns and stresses on the longevity of relationships.

Sandberg has studied the brain and its relevance to romance and attraction extensively for years. Studies have shown that for many people, it is common for excitement levels to decrease over time. Natural attraction might fade, our binding system to one another might fall apart due to changes in our environment and surroundings and we naturally drift apart. Which poses the question: “Can love only exist in short doses?”

However, can we attempt to outwit evolution? Can love be more than just a ticking time bomb? And can romance really last forever?

American Dr Helen Fisher uses anthropology as a method to try and understand what love is. Her study shows that the part of the brain that lights up in couples that are in love is the same area of the brain that is responsive to addiction. Perhaps this explains the saying “love is a drug”. Addictions however can fade or in many cases stop all together; so surely love cannot always last either? With this in mind, could there be a medicated way to intensify and prolong attraction and in turn add longevity to relationships? Could humanity create a love drug?

Sandberg will discuss how pharmaceuticals or other emerging technologies could be used to enhance (or diminish) feelings of lust, attraction, and attachment in adult romantic relationships, and the affects this may cause to future evolution.

Be prepared to have your mind blown! You cannot miss it!

Philosophy Pilot Project for Schools

In a recent conversation with a Humanities teacher, after an in-school workshop, I was discussing what a great time it must be to teach history, in a way that truly makes sense and has a resounding impact on students.

I’ve been creating workshops for schools and colleges now for the best part of a decade. It’s one of the best perks of producing creative learning work. Being able to work collaboratively with teachers, artists and practitioners to devise a workshop that uses creativity and big ideas to bring a topic to life is great fun. It holds the promise of being the catalyst to life-long enthusiasm or the germination of fulfilling career; it’s why people do this job. It’s why working with young people is so rewarding.

I have of course witnessed the predictable trends that education goes through, often depending on who is in government. Colleagues, who have been working in arts education for far longer than I, report how they’ve learned to roll with the punches and revel in the periods where ideas prosper and learning becomes holistic. The changes that we are seeing now, however feel something far beyond this regular cyclical pattern. Our toes are on the edge of substantial change, and this reaches far beyond the classroom.

2016 was a remarkable year. Political systems on either side of the Atlantic that had previously felt so stable and embedded were shaken up. People chose to have their voice heard through democracy. This is a great thing. Some may say that it shows our young people how change can occur. My query is that I am not certain that people made a choice based on the whole facts. I am not convinced that the change that has been implemented will solve the problems that they are meant to.

The reason I was sitting in the staff room, having this conversation about political history taught through current affairs, is because the school requested a workshop exploring morals and values in an age where so many beliefs must co-exist. Many of the students were atheist or agnostic so the workshop explored; If God is now Money then where does morality spring from? If we are all seeking to get richer, often at the expense of others, then how can we be moral? 

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British institutions like parliament, monarchy and even our statutory holidays firmly have Christianity at their heart. However this value system fails to resonate with many as the country is home to a patchwork of faiths, including secularism. Who or rather what does provide our moral compass? 

Value in our society often gets quantified by a thing’s monetary worth, yet this concept rarely is a helpful one. As YoungMind’s, the UK’s leading emotional well being and mental health charity says, “Many aspects of today’s society can be bad news for the mental health of young people. There is so much pressure to have access to money, the perfect body and lifestyle. The materialist culture heavily influences young people.”

The workshop was great. Despite the understandable reluctance of some to share things that they hold dear, in front of so many of their classmates, there was a buzz in the room when questions about the driving force of governments were asked. These young people are being given the opportunity to develop great critical thinking skills the debunk many of the ideas that their teachers want to arm them against.

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Through this workshop I further learned the importance of this work. It now falls to me to go back to planning the next phase of workshops so that more schools can benefit. It’s a big task, but one I relish.

If you are interested in learning more about the workshops or would like your school to get involved, please do get in touch.

Fran – Education Lead at the globe at hay

Email: fran.king@theglobeathay.co.uk

Phone: 01497 821738