News for September

Chris Smith writes:

The September meeting was well attended and we were treated to a very interesting, challenging, and even humorous, talk about Happiness by group member Simon Nightingale.

Starting with a variety of Humanist logos, and the reminder that tattoos are forbidden – see Leviticus for details – Simon told us about many attempts to define and measure happiness from Aristotle onwards. In addition to a variety of questionnaires researchers now have access to MRI scanning and can identify areas of the brain which are active when we experience pleasure or pain. Twin studies show there is a genetic component to our happiness, but perhaps reassuringly 40% of our happiness is under our control if we choose. Money doesn’t buy happiness? Research shows that after £50,000 pa increasing income doesn’t contribute more happiness. (I would be prepared to take the risk!) As a PS he mentioned the Implicit Association Test, available on line, as a way of finding out about our underlying attitudes.

Following an email suggestion from a member there was general agreement to do something about a wreath commemorating those of no religion around the time of Remembrance Day. Time is short for this year but we will see what can be done.

Our 18 October meeting is both AGM and a chance to hear about Torture for Humanists from group member Geoff Berriman. Non-members are as welcome as ever of course.

If you have any ideas for the web site please get in touch.

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