If the conscious mind—the part you consider you—is just the tip of the iceberg in the brain, what is all the rest doing? Why can you argue with yourself, cajole yourself, and get angry at yourself? Who, exactly, is dealing with whom? Is there a single true you, or is that just an illusion?
Neuroscientist David Eagleman, is here to show how your brain is like a conflicted democracy engaged in civil war. Perhaps more importantly, he’ll also tell you how you can learn strategies to manage the battles.
David Eagleman holds joint appointments in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and is the founder and director of the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law. His influential neuroscience books include Incognito, Live-Wired, and Wednesday is Indigo Blue. He writes regularly for the New York Times, Wired, Discover, Slate, and New Scientist, and is a repeat guest on NPR, discussing both science and literature -- his twin passions. Eagleman's novel, SUM, was named a Best Book of The Year by Barnes and Noble and inspired U2 producer Brian Eno to write twelve new pieces of music, which he performed, with Eagleman, at the Sydney Opera House.
This secular sermon took place at Conway Hall, London on Sunday 10 April 2011
Increasing wealth hasn't made us happier, and more individualistic,competitive societies make many of us positively unhappy. There is too much avoidable suffering in our society and too little contentment. We need to find a better way to live.
The key idea of the Action For Happiness Movement (actionforhappiness.org) is that for a society to be happy, individuals must get their happiness from helping others. Drawing compelling insights from scientific evidence, as well as wisdom of age-old spiritual and ethical practices, Richard Layard will show us how we can work together to become better parents, partners,colleagues and citizens.
We have the potential to create a society in which the greatest happiness of humankind is our main priority. Join the revolution.
Richard Layard is a leading economist. He is founder of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, and since 2000 has been a member of the House of Lords. He is best known for his workon unemployment and inequality, and his most recent book, Happiness:Lessons from a New Science (2005). He is a founding member of Happiness Movement which aims to promote the increase of happiness and the reduction of misery.
This secular sermon took place at Conway Hall on Sunday 23 January 2011.
Is mindfulness the answer to all our prayers? The benefits are compelling: it’s free, you can do it anytime, anywhere, and it’s been scientifically proven to work. It is recognised by those in and out of the health profession as a useful tool for generally improving our mental wellbeing, as well as dealing with more serious issues such as depression or anxiety disorders.
Professor Mark Williams, a leading authority on mindfulness, takes to our pulpit to explore the science behind it and look at its practical application in everyday life. He takes us through the myths, realities, and benefits of meditation, and looks at how such practices can help us to live lives of greater presence, productive and peace.
Mark Williams is Professor of Clinical Psychology and Wellcome Principal Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. He is author of the bestselling books: 'Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World' (Piatkus, 2011; co-authored with Danny Penman) and 'The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing yourself from Chronic Unhappiness' (Guilford, 2007; co-authored with John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn).
This secular sermon took place at Conway Hall on Sunday 5 June 2011.
“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust.”
- Lawrence Krauss
Professor of Earth and Space Exploration, Lawrence Krauss, isn’t immune to small irritations of daily living. However, he can see the bigger picture.
In this secular sermon he shows how each of us is connected to the cosmos in ways we’d never imagine. From the stardust we’re made of, to the atoms we breathe, to the curving of space time that governs the way we make our way through traffic jams, to time travel itself.
Dr Lawrence Krauss is a prolific and popular writer and an indefatigable fighter for science and critical thinking. At Arizona State University, he is Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Departments, Associate Director of the Beyond Center, and Co-Director of the Cosmology Initiative. He is also Director of the exciting new Origins Initiative, which explores questions ranging from the origin of the Universe to the origins of human culture and cognition. He has studied and explained matters from the microscopic to astronomical. In performing with the Cleveland Orchestra, judging at the Sundance Film Festival, and his Grammy nominated notes for Telarc Records, Krauss has also bridged the chasm between science and popular culture.
This secular sermon took place at Conway Hall, London on Sunday 16 October 2012
Ken Robinson believes that everyone is born with extraordinary capability. So what happens to all that talent as we bump through life, getting by, but never realizing our true potential?
For most of us the problem isn’t that we aim too high and fail - it’s just the opposite - we aim too low and succeed.
We need to find that magic spot where our natural talent meets our personal passion. This means we need to know ourselves better. Whilst we content ourselves with doing what we’re competent at, but don’t truly love, we’ll never excel. And, according to Ken, finding purpose in our work is essentially to knowing who we really are.
Get ready to unleash your inner fervor as Ken takes to our pulpit to inspire you to follow your passion.
Sir Ken Robinson is a leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources, working with governments and the world’s leading cultural organizations. Born in Liverpool, he was Director of The Arts Project (1985-89), and is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Warwick. He was knighted in 2003 for his contribution to education and the arts. Recent publications include Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative (2001) and The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (2009).
This secular sermon took place at Conway Hall on Sunday 13 March 2011
Jewels and trash: droppings along the way
Various films that describe our place in the cosmos, in the Earth's grasp, and in the network of all beings. Interconnection, intercommunity, and interdependence are the ground of all Being. Unless we bring that into our hearts, we will not survive in a world in which anyone would want to be a part.