Wednesday, 12 December 2018

TV boffin continues search for happiness

THE quest for the secret of happiness may be almost as old as humanity itself — but that

THE quest for the secret of happiness may be almost as old as humanity itself — but that doesn’t mean the question isn’t worth asking.

One public intellectual still willing to broach the subject is Professor Robert Winston — the presenter of television programmes including

Child of Our Time

and the Bafta award-winning

The Human Body

On Thursday, February 11, he will be giving a talk at the Kenton Theatre on “What makes us happy?”

Subtitled “Reading the human mind”, Professor Winston will be asking and seeking to answer a range of intriguing questions.

For instance, what led to French philosopher Michel de Montaigne thanking fortune for the pain he suffered?

Why did Mahler apparently stop composing after his meeting in Holland with Sigmund Freud?

Why was J Alfred Prufrock in TS Eliot’s poem so chronically depressed and suffering such lack of self-esteem?

And shall we ever really understand what makes us happy?

To some extent the ability to be happy is inherited, but social scientists have emphasised that various environmental influences — health, a stable society, economic advantages — play a major role. Professor Winston, who also sits in the House of Lords, examines the role of brain imaging, hormone study, sexuality, child development, pharmacology and psychological research in understanding how science may help us be happier.

Happy people tend to live longer, and recent research suggests we tend to get happier as we get older. Is this simply because we become more forgetful?

Can we make ourselves happier and if so, will knowledge of brain function and how we might manipulate it give us more fulfilled lives?

The one-hour talk starts at 7.30pm and will be followed by a 30-minute question and answer session.

Tickets are priced £19 and can be booked by calling (01491) 575698 or visiting

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