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What are the Human Givens?

dreamstime_6465548_sWe are all born with innate knowledge programmed into us from our genes. Throughout life we experience this knowledge as feelings of physical and emotional need.  These feelings evolved over millions of years and, whatever our cultural background, are our common biological inheritance.  They are the driving force that motivates us to become fully human and succeed in whatever environment we find ourselves in.  It is because they are incorporated into our biology at conception that we call them 'human givens'.

Over enormous stretches of time, they drove our evolution on. They are best thought of as inbuilt patterns, biological templates, that continually interact with one another and seek natural fulfillment in the world.  This allows us to survive and live together, as multi-faceted individuals, in a great variety of different social groupings, and to flourish.

It is the way those needs are met, and the way we use the resources that nature has given us, that determine the physical and emotional health of an individual.

As such, the human givens are the benchmark position to which we must all refer in education, mental and physical health and the way we organise and run our lives.  When we feel emotionally fulfilled and are operating effectively within society, we are more likely to be mentally healthy and stable.  But when too many physical and emotional needs are not being met in the environment, or when our resources are used incorrectly, unwittingly or otherwise, we suffer considerable distress. And so do those around us.

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