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  • Writer's pictureHenrietta

Hari or Harari?

Funny that my two current favourite authors have such similar last names :-)

Lost Connections by Johann Hari describes an understanding of depression that I recognise clearly from my work. It's about looking at ourselves as a whole, rather than trying to look at our emotional self away from our context, place and way we live. About how communities can support us all and help us grow.

Similarly, Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari is familiar to me, because of the evolutionary approach I have taken over the years in trying to understand human behaviour. We've lived as creatures for millions of years, and only lived as we do now for a few short thouands of years, and in some areas, only tens of years - the smart phone and social media for example.

So how did it all happen? And Harari takes us back to the agricultural revolution and the time we stopped living as we had evolved to live. Which takes us back to Hari and the lack of social support!

Both books speak loudly and clearly, the mark of truly great writing, as far as I'm concerned.

One other things that shouts at me from Harari's work is the buddist idea that craving is at the route of human pain - craving to have more stuff or to be something we don't really think we can be, for example. The notion that by seeing things as they are, we will still experience them but without the angst. We will still feel pain, but it won't be compounded by trying to get away from it, by craving happiness.

It's this craving that seems to have taken over much of the way we live. More stuff, more recognition, more reward. Stuff, recognition, reward, even awards, will make us happy - just one more thing and life will be ok, we will be happy. We will have got it right.

What if we are able to learn to see pain or joy and notice them, accept them, and move on. Rather than thinking we need more of one than the other?

Maybe then we could start to live.

Maybe we could start to build the communities that Hari talks about in his work, that could contribute to emotional well being for those around us as well as ourselves.

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