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(generated from captions) musicians. Altogether, it's

called World Music. The sound

and style of world music is

influenced by the culture of

each country. And with so many

different cultures in the

world, the music has a lot of

variety. And that's why world

music festivals like this one

in Australia are so popular.

World music often uses

instruments which you may not

have seen before. Some are

made using the most simple

items, like recycled goods,

dried fruits and vegetables or

anything that can be found on

the land. It's a bit like the

didgeridoo that's been in

Australia for thousands of

years. Aboriginal people found

they could make music out of

these tree trunks that were

made hollow by termites. So

the sound we hear is

distinctively Australian. This

group, called ranko, perform

sued knees songs. They use a

lot of percussion instruments,

like drums, and even this

leather belt. It's actually

made from goat's toe nails,

which clash together to make a

sound when you move around.

Another instrument played in

the group is called the Rango,

which is how the group got its

name. It's a bit like a

xylophone and is more than 200

years old. The different

lengths of wood, the way it's

tuned and how hard you hit the

bars helps to produce the

sound. Hugh San is thought to

be the only person in the world

who can play the instrument.

He wants to teach others how to

play instruments like the

Rango, because if he doesn't

share his skills with the next

generation, rango playing could

die out. These kids were given

the chance to play the

instruments, dance and sing

along. I think it sounds

better when they're actually

playing it than hearing it

recorded. It was good to see

the feather person and to see

the people from different

countries. So with lots of

variety, world music definitely

has something for everyone.

That's it. Don't forget to

more information about any of log on to the website and get

the stories. You can send

comments and vote in our poll.

We'll see you next time. Closed Captions by CSI This program is not subtitled This Program is Captioned Live. # Theme music

I'm Waleed Aly. Hi there, welcome to Big Ideas, On the show today, the ten desires that drive us.

social researcher and novelist. Hugh Mackay is a psychologist, In his latest book, the very human question - the veteran social researcher poses but act as if we're not? why do we talk as if we're rational into what makes us tick Mackay discussed his insights

at the Sydney Institute. to the Sydney Institute Thanks for coming along tonight a most welcome return. to which Hugh Mackay makes I think, in 2007. From memory, he was here last, occasions, But he's been here on many And he's back, on this occasion, the recent publication to coincide with of What Makes Us Tick? The Ten Desires That Drive Us. of the book And we've got some copies to sign them, I'm sure. and Hugh will be happy But I'll introduce him briefly.

psychologist, social researcher Hugh Mackay is an Australian including five novels. and the author of 13 books, work in social research, In recognition of his pioneering doctorates by Western Sydney, he's been awarded honourary and Charles Sturt universities. NSW, Macquarie Australian Psychological Society He was elected a Fellow of the

in 1984, Sydney's Alumni Award and received the University of service in 2004. for achievement in community columnist for more than 25 years And he's also been a newspaper his sixth novel. and currently is working on Hugh Mackay is going to talk to us But tonight, we hope, we assume. about non-fiction - (Laughter) Hugh Mackay, you're very welcome. The Ten Desires That Drive Us, welcome, Thank you very much, Gererd for the at the Sydney Institute. and it is a great pleasure to be back a very well-worn field, This book is an attempt to revisit of human motivation namely the psychology or 'why we do the things we do.' humans ever ask themselves, I think, One of the oddest questions that and reflect on this ever asked yourself this question, and ask whether you've is 'why did I do that?' because you've done it. It's an odd question, isn't it, you're saying, 'why did I do that?' And now, reflecting on it, this new book Perhaps the central theme of when we're surprised is that we shouldn't be surprised by our own behaviour. For a couple of reasons. although we like to describe humans One is that as rational creatures, is very thin indeed. the evidence for that we'll have a happier life And it seems to me will make more sense to us and the world by and large, if we accept that humans, are deeply irrational creatures, rather than the head, ruled most often by the heart remarkable bursts of rationality. but capable of occasional And that's what should surprise us. not when they're irrational Not when people are rational - but when they're rational. why we shouldn't be amazed But the other reason when our own behaviour surprises us is that the motivations that drive us and subtle. are extraordinarily complicated to think of any piece of behaviour And I think it makes sense one desire, one motive, as the outcome not just of one drive, a dynamic interplay but the outcome of I'm going to discuss tonight - between ten - constantly. ten desires that are driving us They don't take it in turns, anxious kids, all punching the air, they're a bit like a room full of saying 'pick me, pick me.' would love to control us Each of these ten desires one of them take charge, and if we let any

unbalanced and miserable lives. we're going to lead But they're in conflict very often, they're in competition very often,

they interact, they overlap and it's this interplay between them why we do the things we do that determines on any given occasion. of that dynamic interaction, And of course, we're rarely conscious which is why we're so often puzzled - - not only by our own behaviour but of course most of us have heard ourselves saying to other people, especially spouses and kids, 'why did you do that?' and then been deeply unsatisfied by the answer because who knows why they did what they did. Well, I've said there are ten and if you get hold of a copy of the book you'll notice that the chapters - one desire per chapter - the chapters are not numbered and that's because I do want you to think of these desires as being like the strands of a web where the strands are all interconnected, there's a lot of overlap, there's a lot of interplay,

and there's a constant vibration in this web. They're not going to be presented tonight in order of importance,

there's not a hierarchy of these desires, in my view, they all have their day, and mostly we're only conscious of them when they're frustrated and they demand to be heard. But there is one to which I give a bit more emphasis than the other nine. And that's because, it seems to me,

in any collection of desires driving a particular piece of behaviour you'll always find one that's present. Perhaps the most fundamental of all the desires that drive us,

the one that's usually part of the explanation. And that is the desire to be taken seriously.

Now, I should hasten to say that that doesn't mean that we desire to be regarded as serious people - most of us don't want to be thought of as serious, most of us want to be more fun than that - but this is the desire to be noticed. The desire to be acknowledged, the desire to be appreciated, the desire to be valued, perhaps even the desire to be remembered. Some of you may have seen an interview that Andrew Denton did on his Enough Rope - Elders series a year or so ago with a very old English woman called Helen Bamber who's been a life-long campaigner for the rights of torture victims. And in the interview, Helen Bamber described the experience as a very young woman of being at the gates of the Belsen concentration camp when Belsen was liberated. And she said she watched this pathetic stream of humanity staggering out of the gates of Belsen. One woman in particular obviously spent, virtually at the end of her life. And Bamber went up to this woman, knelt in the dust beside her, cradled her in her arms and listened while this woman tried to tell the story of what life had been like in Belsen. And as she was speaking, Helen Bamber said to her, 'I'm going to tell your story' and she said at that moment, almost at the point of death, the woman seemed to become calm as though it was enough for her to know that she would not be forgotten, that her identity would not just evaporate, but that her story would be told. We all need to know that we won't be forgotten, that our voices will be heard. I don't know how often I've heard young people in particular, although you do hear older people saying the same thing, - but younger people in particular - talking about the experience of applying for jobs

and saying, 'You send off dozens of applications, mostly you don't even receive an acknowledgement of the application.' As one such person said in one of my research projects that I've quoted in the book 'It's as if you don't exist.' Some of us feel like that if we're kept waiting too long in a doctors surgery, don't we? An hour goes by, no-one explains, no-one apologises, you feel as though you're unimportant, you don't exist. A lot of people have been cynical about what is not emerging as a bit of a spate of official apologies that are being made by various governments and institutions around the world - In Australia, of course, most famously, the Federal Government's 2008 apology

to members of the Stolen Generations - But we've seen many other apologies around the world, the Roman Catholic Church apologising to the Jews for its role in Nazi Germany or to the victims of child abuse, etc. And the cynicism that many people express about this is - 'What's the point? What does it achieve? to make these official apologies?' Especially if there's no follow-through, no compensation or reparation. Well, we saw in Australia, didn't we, in 2008 what the point of an apology is. It says to the recipients of the apology, 'Yes, we acknowledge that we haven't been taking you seriously and now we are.' And the outpouring of emotion in response to that apology to the Stolen Generations was an eloquent demonstration of how powerful is this desire to be taken seriously. So, what happens when we're not taken seriously enough? Of course, we hate it. One of the signs that we're not being taken seriously is if we're lumped into a category - that's why we hate being the victims of racism or sexism. You don't want someone to say, 'oh well, they're baby boomers,' 'she's a single mother' or 'He's a Presbyterian' or gay or something as though that's all you need to know - just a member of a category. Of course, that denies our uniqueness as individuals, wanting acknowledgement of our uniqueness as individuals. But if we're not taken seriously enough, it usually brings out the worst in us. Much anger in humans - individually and in entire nations - comes from feeling as if we haven't been taken seriously. I've already mentioned Nazi Germany - Germany between the two wars is a classic example, and there are others on the planet right now, of course., Nations who feel they haven't been taken seriously enough and respond very aggressively to that.

Occasionally, there's a happy ending to not being taken seriously. Ken Moroney, the recently retired Commissioner of Police in NSW, tells the story of his very first performance review as a probationary constable, when the reviewing officer said to him,

Moroney, you're never going to amount to anything.' And his response, of course, was to become Commissioner in the end. Well, you hear those stories because they're so exceptional. What normally happens when young people especially - adolescents, young adults - are humiliated, ignored, marginalised or exploited, is that they carry that as a wound which sometimes takes a lifetime to heal. There are, of course, people who respond to not being taken seriously enough by doing the job themselves - 'If you won't take me seriously, I'll take myself seriously.' So, hubris and arrogance can almost always be traced to early experiences of having been humiliated, mocked, overlooked or belittled in some way. It's the desire to be taken seriously that explains why listeners are so highly prized in our society. Isn't it a wonderful gift when someone attends closely to what you're saying. Because, of course, the unspoken message is 'I take you seriously as a person, that's why I'm listening.' But, of course, the opposite is also true. If someone isn't listening, we know that the unspoken message is 'I don't take you seriously enough to offer you the gift of my undivided attention.' I think one of the most tragic things we hear in marriage,

often from couples who've been married for a very long time, one or other partner saying,

'Oh, he doesn't listen to me anymore.' Meaning, he doesn't take me as seriously as he once did. We all need to know that someone is taking us seriously, even if it's only the dog. (Laughter) Some people do procure a dog so that when you get home after a rough day at least one creature will wag its tail enthusiastically and appear to be taking you seriously. Perhaps counter-intuitively, it's the desire to be taken seriously that also helps to explain why minorities thrive on persecution. That sounds like a contradiction of what I was saying about individuals who are humiliated but persecution of ethnic or religious minorities never results in them shriveling up and just going away and saying 'We've obviously made a mistake, let's do something else, let's be someone else.' What always happens is faith is reinforced, ethnic identity is affirmed by the very fact of persecution - because if a group like that is being persecuted, they're being taken seriously, they're someone's target. It's indifference that's the enemy, not persecution. So, the extent to which we're prepared to listen to each other, to make time for each other,

to attend to each other's passions, even if we don't share them, they way we respond to each other's needs, even the way we make love to each other, all of these things send unspoken messages

about how seriously we take each other. One of the most famous experiments in the history of industrial psychology, was conducted by an Australian psychologist, Elton Mayo, many years ago in an American factory. It was one of the early time and motion studies, and he was looking at the effect of changes in the working environment

on productivity of workers. And one feature of Mayo's experiment which has become very famous, was to play around with the illumination levels in the factory. He found when he increased the illumination level, productivity went up. But later found when he reduced illumination levels, productivity went up further. Which was not what he expected. And his conclusion was that the workers are not just responding to illumination, they're responding to being taken seriously. Someone showing an interest in their working conditions. So that's the first of my ten. Let me more quickly, more briefly, run through the other nine. And again let me emphasise, that this is not a list in order of importance, but these are the nine. There is a desire for 'my place'. In our culture we often attribute this to indigenous people don't we? We say - 'well it's indigenous people who have a strong sense of place a strong connection with the land' et cetera, which of course is true. But we often overlook the fact that we all have that,

that we all have a profound need for places that say things about us we're pleased to have said. For places that somehow symbolise our identity, or stand for important moments, or important passages of our lives. It's often a childhood home or a school classroom, or for some people, it's an office, a workplace that somehow symbolises them. For some people it's bed.

For some churchgoers it's a favourite pew, and let anyone else sit in the pew and it feels like an invasion of 'my space'.

For some people its the car. For some blokes it's the shed. But we all have something. If we don't have places that have this almost mystical connection with our sense of identity, a vague restlessness usually results. Migrants often tell the story of the ruthlessness they experience when they leave behind all their sacred sites, all their magical places, that have been so symbolically important to them come to a new country and never quite recapture a sense of 'my place.' And so it's quite a common experience and some of you may have had this yourselves. For first generation migrants to say - 'I don't feel as if I quite belong anywhere.' You may not be able to remember - although I hope you can - the person with whom you shared your first kiss. Your first romantic kiss. But I bet you can remember where you were when it happened,

because a sense of place is so integral, to emotionally intense. It's why, of course, in our culture we all say - 'Where were you when John F Kennedy was shot?' And we all know, because any emotionally charged event, the place where we are is integral to our response.

And we have a desire for something to believe in. Bertrand Russell wrote many years ago, 'Man is a credulous animal and must believe something. In the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.' Well, that's a cynical view but in many ways an accurate view. The neuroscientists today are telling us that it's much easier for us to believe, than for us to remain sceptical. It's cognitively easier to accept what we are told, rather than be sceptical about it.

And there is no mystery about our desire for something to believe in. Because it's all to do with trying to make sense of the mystery we called life. Our own life. Life on Earth. All of that. We want to make sense of it, we need a framework, we need a code.

We need a template that we can lay over the events of our lives in order to give us some kind of basis for interpreting what's happening, some basis for understanding about what's happening. For most people, through most of human history the beliefs that have provided us with that kind of narrative, that kind of code, have been religious beliefs. But in western society - Australia in particular - we've seen a dramatic decline in religious faith and practice particularly over the last 30 years in Australia.

We are down to 15% of Australians who attend church regularly - that's one sign of religious belief, not the only sign of course - But if it's not conventional religious belief that'll sustain us, we'll believe in something else astrology for example. About 35% of Australians claim to believe in astrology. Now I shouldn't have a sceptical tone in my voice or I would have already offended 35% of you who believe in astrology. By the way it's not just Australia, look around the western world, about the same proportion of western populations say they believe in astrology, whatever that might mean. But even people who say they don't believe in astrology, usually know their star sign. Would you put your hand up if you don't know your star sign? Anyone here who doesn't know their star sign? I asked that question in Canberra a little while ago

and about ten hands went up. And I thought - 'That's the national capital for you!' (Laughter) But there are people who say - 'Look, of course it's all rubbish, I don't believe that, on the other hand, my husband is a text-book Aries.' (Laughter) So you find yourself in the hairdresser reading a magazine that's two months old, and you inevitably go to the stars column to see what was supposed to have happened to you two months ago. And if you could remember, you'd be able to check the voracity of it. For some people it's superstition, for some people it's conspiracy theories, for some people it's the free market, for some people it's science,

for some people it's the idea of rationality. If you doubt our desire to believe and the therapeutic effect of belief just take a look at the well demonstrated medical phenomenon of the placebo effect. A medical researcher testing the efficacy of a new drug will divide the sample into half who are going to get the drug, half who are going to get a bit of chalk, sugar-coated or something that looks like a drug. And over and over again, hundreds of experiments demonstrate that about 30% of those swallowing the chalk

will experience roughly the same improvement in symptoms as those swallowing the drug. The best or worst example - whichever way you like to interpret it - of the placebo effect I have come across, published in The New England Journal of Medicine a couple of years ago,

involved knee surgery. If you've recently had knee surgery, don't listen to this,it's too distressing - But people who were due for an arthroscopy on the knee were divided in half. Half of them had the arthroscopy half of them had an incision made in the skin which was just sewn up. Do I need to tell you the result? (Laughter) The researcher said there was no statistical difference in relief of pain and improvement in knee function, no difference between those who'd had the surgery and those who just had the incision. A recent study in the effectiveness of the so-called 'female viagara' drug, to address some perhaps mythical phenomenon known as female sexual disfunction, found that a placebo actually had a greater effect... (Laughter) ..than the drug. Some of us are so desperate for something to believe in of course, that we place our faith in leaders and that always turns out to be a mistake. (Laughter) Then, there is that desire to connect. Obviously, we desire to connect with each other communication is our life blood.

We're creatures who need that kind of connection. But it's not only connecting with each other, we need to connect with ourselves, to understand who we are. Carl Rogers, my psychological hero, once wrote, reflecting on 40 years of clinical practice - 'There is only one problem.' By which he meant, whatever people bring to my consulting room, whether it's a broken marriage or a dysfunctional relationship or a drug addiction, or a phobia, or whatever it might be - it always comes down to the question, 'Who am I?' And 'How did I get myself into this situation?' We desire also to connect with the natural world. And when we are disconnected from the natural world, most of us do feel a vague restlessness, if not a neurosis. Even people living on the 14th floor of a high rise apartment will have a goldfish in a bowl or a pot plant struggling on the balcony, or some of you are old enough to remember the pet rock phenomenon. (Laughter) Where people's desire for the natural world to be brought into a highly urbanised environment purchased pet rocks,

complete with handbooks on how to care for your pet rock. (Laughter) Of course it was a marketing triumph, it was a joke - but it symbolised how deep is our need is to feel some connection with the natural world.

The desire to be useful drives us. If you doubt that, just reflect on how you would feel if the judgement to be made on your life and your contribution was - 'Well, he's pretty useless.' 'She's been a pretty useless mother.' 'He's a useless bloke around the office.' 'She's a useless member of the community.' It's the ultimate put down, isn't it? Look at the thousands of people who queued with mops and buckets in Brisbane to satisfy their desire to be useful in that crisis. We're driven by the desire to belong. We're social creatures, we're herd animals, we need little herds to belong with. Traditionally that was the family, the household, but in Australia and all around the western world, the fastest growing household type is the single person household.

So usually not living in herds anymore, so we find other herds to belong to. Book clubs, work place herds etcetera. If you can't think of any other way of connecting with a herd, you go to a place like the one downstairs, euphemistically called 'The Food Court' where you can graze with the herd. (Chuckles) And line up at the public trough and feel as though you're somehow connected. And it's not just small herds that we need to belong to - we need bigger, muscular, more numerous tribes as well. Extended families, organisational tribes, religious tribes, sporting tribes, political tribes - these herds and tribes fuel our sense of who we are and satisfy our need for emotional security. For many people, religious belief. Religion is as much about belonging to a tribe, as it is about believing particular things. And then there are a couple of desires that get us into trouble. They have very primitive origins which are obvious, but in the modern world they often do lead us into difficulty. The desire for more. We're an insatiable species whatever it is - whether it is what we are eating or drinking or acquiring, or earning, or winning - we want more of it. Even more life. Isn't it true that most of us when we're young and even into our middle years, say - 'Quantity of life is unimportant, quality of life is everything. And when bits start falling off and I start doing and saying stupid things, just hit me on the head, put me out of my misery.' And then, bits start falling off and we start doing and saying stupid things and we say - 'Is there a pill?' Is there some way to prolong this?' The quality diminishes, we get very interesting quantity. And of course many religious believers desire more life even than this mortal span, via reincarnation or eternal life. Whatever it is that we're enjoying, we seem to want more. We also seem to want control. The desire for control is another one of the most troublesome

of the ten desires that drive us - mainly because we so often try to control the uncontrollable, like each other. What a mad idea, that we could get other people to behave in ways that conform to our wishes. Or that we could control external circumstances, takes most of us a long time to work out that we can only control ourselves and our own reaction to these external circumstances. But we constantly create frustrations, anxiety for ourselves by trying to control things that are actually beyond our control. Then there's the desire for something to happen, something to stimulate us, something to look forward to, something to hope for.

We're odd about this, paradoxical about it. Because on the one hand, most of us say that we resist change, we're destabilised by change. And of course we are destabilised by too much change. Australia's consumption of anti-depressants and tranquilisers is a testament to how badly we handle change on a large scale. So we say we want predictability and certainty and stability and then when we get all that, we say 'Nothing ever happens to me, better go on an exciting holiday to try and generate some danger or excitement, stimulation.' Obviously what we actually thrive on is uncertainty, unpredictability, things that crash into our lives unexpectedly and have to be dealt with. And finally, the desire for love, both giving it and receiving it. A very wise American psychiatrist recently wrote

'If you have someone to love, something useful to do and something to look forward to,

that's probably the secret of happiness.' Well, you may not have the same three on your list, but three out of ten probably isn't bad. We know that love is the thing that most comforts us, that has the power to enlarge the human spirit, to bring out the best in us. We know it can go horribly wrong, there are such things as

obsessive love and compulsive love, sad love, mad love. But anyone who was a child experienced the joy of unconditional love, or at any stage of life the thrill of romantic love, or the enduring satisfaction of being loved by a constant circle of friends - knows that this is the big one. that this is our richest source of emotional security. So, those are my ten. The desire to be taken seriously, the desire for my place, the desire for something to believe in, the desire to connect, the desire to be useful, the desire to belong, the desire for more, the desire for control, the desire for something to happen -

something to look forward to - and the desire for love. And some of you are perhaps saying, 'Well, I could think of a few others that aren't on your list', and yes of course there are other kinds of desires - there are ethereal desires like the desire for truth or justice or beauty. And then there are basic survival needs which some people think of as desires, I wouldn't put them in the same category, the need to eat and drink and sleep, the species need for us to have sexual activity in order for the species to survive. The desires on my list are not survival desires, they are about the choices we make in our social relationships. They're about where our sense of identity comes from and how we manage our relationships. So, when you look at the ten, it's perhaps no wonder that we so often feel puzzled by what we do, because there's this swirling collection of desires in the psyche, often contradicting each other, often competing. We all want to reduce our carbon footprint and we wish to fly to London, how will we reconcile that? In almost every loving relationship, the desire for control will sometimes emerge. More than one bride has been heard to say, 'Once I've got him I'll fix him'. There's a contradiction between a couple of desires. And when the desire for control enters a loving relationship, it's almost always going to spell trouble. So what makes us tick, is this interplay between these desires and when you're looking at what seems to be irrational human behavior, just remind yourself that all of us are struggling to somehow reconcile these ten desires. We look at people who've become workaholics for example, or who keep working long after everyone else thinks they should retire, or who work when they don't even need the money that they're going to earn. Well, of course work is one of those activities that satisfies many desires at once.

The desire to be useful, the desire to be taken seriously, the desire to belong, to a work group, herd and an organisational tribe, the desire for 'my place', perhaps even the desire for control. And I've mentioned religion a couple of times, obviously religion now under attack for its irrationality by various of the anti-theists, Dawkins, Hitchens, etcetera. But when you listen to people who are engaged in religious faith and practice, you realise that rationality doesn't enter into it, that religion for such people ticks all ten of the boxes. None of these desires is inherently good or bad, they each have the capacity to bring out the best or the worst in us. And as I've said, they're not about our survival, but they are about trying to harmonise,

trying to bring into some manageable relationship, desires that would all like to control us. How we make those choices, how we choose to balance out these ten desires will determine not only the kind of people we will become, but the kind of society we'll be helping to create. Thank you. (Applause) Many thanks to Hugh Mackay,

so we come to questions and discussions. Before we do, I should say thanks also to Clayton Utz for the use of this great facility this evening. And also there's copies of Hugh's most recent book, What Makes Us Tick? are available, Janet Grundy's got copies of them. I regret to advise, that despite what the author said tonight, in his disparaging remarks on the market, copies are for sale, they're not being given away. But I should say the good news is, they're at a very reasonable price. So we come to questions and discussions now, to lead off. Your comments tonight make a lot of sense about society's which we know, I mean, modern, advanced, western societies - how well do they apply in less advanced societies, or in dictatorships, do they also apply there? Mmm, yes, thanks Gererd. And I've pondered this long and hard, and decided, in fact I have a disclaimer in the introduction to the book, that the only claim I'll make for this is that these are the desires that drive westerners, modern, western, liberal democracies, this is how we can account for our behaviour. Would it apply in a more primitive society? Would it apply among indigenous people anywhere? Would it apply in Asian cultures, et cetera? I simply don't know, but I have been encouraged by the response of a number of people to the book,

to think that they are probably universal human desires, certainly the Ancient Greeks talked about many of these. But I don't make the claim that this will work as a framework in every culture. I had a conversation recently with someone who works closely with Indigenous communities in Queensland, who said that he felt, yes, he could identify these ten desires there, but the balance would be different. He wouldn't put the same emphasis that I've put on the desire to be taken seriously. In those cultures he would have said the overwhelming central desire is the desire to belong, that the tribal urge is the most powerful one. OK, so, yep. I just wondered if maybe there was a conflict - Julian Assange has been all over the newspapers now

for two or three months. He's had an Australian hippy type upbringing

up on the Hinterlands of Byron Bay. He's been a nobody, now he's a somebody. He's been vilified, he's been heroised. Can you assess him a little bit?

About his desires, what makes him tick? Maybe just fantasise. Yes, well I'd love to depth interview him, I must say, and try and get some of this. But things that you can see, just observing this, the desire to be taken seriously must be run very, very powerfully through him. The desire for control I think is -

in a way he's thinking courtesy of Wikileaks, he's going to single handedly take control of information flow in democracies, where information is, in spite of our belief in transparent society, is so obviously rationed. So, those two things would seem to me to be very powerful drivers,

I imagine he would also say that he's got a strong set of beliefs that are expressed by the Wikileaks phenomenon,

namely his belief in information that concerns all of us should be available to all of us. So, that would be three straight off that I think would be... I don't think the desire for love is running very powerfully in Assange, no. It's another thing that I wrestled with, with this book - what will I call these things? I chose desires because I wanted to emphasise that they're not about survival. I mean, I'd talk about sleep as a need - you can't live without it. The species can't survive without sex, we have to drink, eat, et cetera. Those are needs. I think these are - Of course, some people have argued with me about this and said, 'Well, there's plenty of evidence to show that if you live a life - particularly have a child who'd live without love, that's going to shorten your life expectancy. So, that's a need, you know, there is a kind of survival implication of that.' Which I accept - there is such research, yes. But it does seem to me that there's an important difference between things that are just going to kill us if we don't respond to them and other things that may be a real struggle for us. But we can survive without our desire for 'my place' being satisfied. We can survive for some time without feeling as if we belong anywhere. We'll yearn to belong and that will drive us. It'll be a frustration - all these desires become really urgent for us when they're frustrated.

When they're being satisfied,

we don't even recognise that they're there. But I think that there's choice in this, and it's much more to do with how we are managing our personal relationships. So, I wouldn't say - I mean, I take your point - if I said, 'Yes, they're needs,' I'd be comfortable with that, then I'd want to find another word for the survival needs, and some people would call them instincts, of course, which is another controversial term. But I'm wanting to pull back from needs to say we can make choices here. You know, we can work out... And one of my hopes in writing this book

is not just that we would be a bit more easily able to understand what's driving us, but that we would also be, perhaps, a bit more compassionate, a little more tolerant in our approach to understanding what's driving - I mean, we're all struggling with the same ten desires,

competing and being satisfied or frustrated. I think recognising this, particularly with kids, recognising that they are in the grip of these things that they don't always understand should make us a little more tolerant of their struggle. But even a little bit more tolerant of our own struggle as well. There's a question down there. Just speak up a fraction. If I could take a scenario that we would all remember from childhood, you know, the sense of injustice that your little brother or sister has screamed that you've done something that you haven't done, and you've punched. And it strikes me that that often carries right through life - the sense of injustice. I don't know how that fits in your ten...your ten themes, but to me, it seems you can understand a lot of experience, the way in which people react,

by the fact that they're being treated unfairly, unjustly, how do you consider that? Yes, I think there are a couple of points - it's a lovely point to introduce because, you know, most of us carry scars and for some people, the scars become the dominant feature of their lives. It's usually to do with feeling as though you haven't been taken seriously. That you've been ignored and someone else has been taken seriously. Someone's word has been believed rather than your word. The most extreme version of it, I guess, is child sexual abuse, where a child grows up with the feeling that they're not worth, that they're not being taken seriously - they're just a sex object, they're just being exploited, and that maybe that's right, maybe that's all they're worth, and they never quite rise above that.

So, the frustration of that desire, I think,

does become a huge burden for people. But there's also the desire for control in there, as well. That things have really run out of control when we feel as though we're the victim of injustice - 'Surely, I can control this situation,' I mean, that's less likely to be a permanent wound than the offence against the desire to be taken seriously, but it is a big issue for a lot of people, and it takes a long time to learn that we can't control these things, even to the point of having to live with injustice. Hm, no. When I say human nature is irrational, I mean I'm slightly exaggerating my position on this, because obviously we do lots of rational things. You know, we get ourselves dressed and on the bus and into the Sydney Institute on time. That requires a whole lot of rational, er... (Laughter) ..that requires a whole lot of rational activity. But what intrigues me is when I listen to people talking about the trajectory of their lives, the mistakes they now feel they've made, the huge moves they've made - like who they've married or how many kids they've got, or where they live or what job they do, over and over again, I'm struck by the sense that this is all mostly pretty accidental and often, apparently irrational. I mean, to quote some specific examples from my own research, I remember a few years ago, a study on why you do the job you do. There are two dramatic examples that I recall from that study. One was a bricklayer in Canberra who said, '30 years ago a mate said to me, "Would you come and help me lay a few bricks one Saturday morning?" And 30 years later, I'm still laying bricks. And I don't want to be a bricklayer, but that's what I am.' (Laughter) And another bloke who said when he finished school,

and the day before university enrolments came round, he was sick, and he rang a friend and said, 'Can you do my enrolment for me?' His friend said, 'Fine, OK,' and then before he hung up, thought to say, 'What do you want me to enrol you in?' - things were much simpler in those days than they are now - and he said, 'What are you doing?' And his friend said dentistry, and he said, 'Oh, OK, I'll do dentistry.' (Laughter)

Now, this man could be drilling your teeth, you know, and it seems like an accident. And I don't know how many times I've heard - in research, but even in social life - heard people say, 'How did I end up with three kids?' (Laughter) 'I never meant to have three kids.'

Or, 'Why am I doing this?' You know, 'How did we end up living here?' That sort of thing that I - and the fact that people so often do say, 'Why did I do that?' as though to say, 'Well, I know I'm -' You know, some people think of the brain as a computer. I think some of the more enlightened research describes the brain

as a gland - driven more by hormones than by some kind of rational process. So, presumably this is what evolution intends for us - that we should stumble around, making all kinds of poor judgements. But also, I mean, we do want engineers to build bridges that will stay up when we drive over them, but we recognise that when those engineers go home they're just as hopeless, emotionally, as anyone else. You know, so it's a mixture. But I guess I'm pinching a line of Alain de Botton here, but I guess we should assume that the car keys are not where they should be and be surprised when they are. (Laughter) Yes, well, again - in a couple of them. Certainly in the desire to be useful,

to be acknowledged as useful, to have made a contribution. But also the desire to be taken seriously

is very much about the need to be needed. GERERD HENDERSON: Since we're already over time,

we're now heavily into the need to be brief, so... (Laughter) I know it does feel like that, although my own view of this is that the conscience, that our sense of right and wrong is socially determined,

that that all comes out of the experience of learning how to rub along with other people, how to take the needs of strangers into account, and so on. So, I think it's not something we do all by ourselves, even though it feels very personal. And sometimes involves us in standing aside from the crowd. But nevertheless, we've been conditioned to that. I don't think that's written in the stars, or even bred into us.

This is very topical, of course, right now.

Look, there is no doubt that every identifiable bit of 'otherness', whether it's religious or ethnic or cultural otherness, or economic otherness, bothers us. Our natural, primitive instinct is to flock together with birds of a feather. And we find it hard to admit to our tribes,

to our communities, to our - in some ways, easier to admit to our herds - people who have other otherness -

because we get to know them, and it's person to person.

Like people who say, 'I can't stand the Vietnamese, except the bloke who married my daughter.' You know, so in the herd, it's much easier. There's no doubt that one of the great challenges to our capacity to be civil, one of the great challenges to our sense of our own identity as civilised, compassionate people, is the ability to accommodate people who are obviously different from us. But we do it. And it's one of the remarkable things about us, that our desire for love, our desire to connect,

our desire to belong, our desire to be useful, our desire to have something to believe in - all of these things feed into the capacity to be tolerant of otherness. And all we need is encouragement to do it. And, by the way, I'm quoting Gererd, who made this point in writing many years ago - Australia is the brilliant example to the world of how all of those desires could come together

and we could be a genuinely diverse, genuinely multicultural society, and still preserve harmony. So that when we see examples of ugly racism, and so on, we recognise that they hit the headlines because they're so rare in Australia. I think it's really weird that we're not more relaxed and more proud about that, 'cos we've actually done it. To me, this is my most important book

because it's a distillation of, well, 30 years, perhaps more, of social research, trying, almost empirically, to look at all this research and say 'Now, OK, what are my personal reflections on this? What do I distill from this?' Not just 'What's the effect of shrinking households or falling birthrates?', or whatever it might be,

but what's underneath it all? So, there's a lot more of me in the book than there is in my other non-fiction because it is a more reflective book. However, I would resist the proposition that this is something about the secret of happiness because there's a section in the book, in the chapter on control, where I actually attack the concept of happiness - The idea that - I don't mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in western society, which is fear of sadness. It's a really odd thing - people are now saying, 'Write down three good things that happened to you today before you go to sleep,' and 'Cheer up,' and, you know, 'Happiness is our birthright,' and so on. And so, we're kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It's rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for, and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure, all of those things which make us who we are - and happiness and victory and fulfillment - these are nice little things that also happen to us - they don't teach us much - we learn much more - everyone says we grow through pain, and then as soon as they experience pain, they say, 'Quick, move on, cheer up!' So I'm very nervous. I'd like, just for a year, to have a moratorium on the word 'happiness' and to replace it with the word 'wholeness'. Ask yourself, 'Is this contributing to my wholeness?' And if you're having a bad day, it is! (Hearty applause) Tips on life and love from social researcher Hugh Mackay, speaking there at the Sydney Institute. That's all from Big Ideas for today, but don't forget, you can find more debates and talks at our website, at the address on your screen. Look out for more Big Ideas on ABC News24 at 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays. I'm Waleed Aly. See you again. Captioned by CSI This

Program is Captioned Live.

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