What Does it Mean to be Human? || Matt Haig: Notes on a Nervous Planet
Matt Haig: Notes on a Nervous Planet
The world is messing with our minds.
Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. We are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.
– How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad?
– How do we stay human in a technological world?
After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig, so he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him. The poignant and natural follow up to Matt’s Reasons To Stay Alive, which sat in the bestseller list for over 46 weeks, Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the twenty-first century.
Join the author for an evening of positive and insightful discussion about the modern world, offering a closer look at the challenges posed by our ever-changing technological landscape and his advice on how best to navigate it.
What does it mean to be human?
The overarching theme is ‘What does it mean to be human?’ Such a fundamental question isn’t just answered with a biological definition. The very things that make us unique (if we are) can be considered from a philosophical, historical, innate, technological or future thinking perspective.
The world advances at such rapid pace, changes in society, commerce, lifestyles and environments, often driven by economic or technological stimuli, occur much more quickly than we as humans and societies can respond to them. This is generating turmoil as our presence and standing becomes ever associated not with who we are as people, but what we do, how we do it and who with. Are we losing sight of what it means to be human or did we never really understand that anyway. More than ever, people are questioning their own behaviour, unhappy or uncomfortable with where it has led them or where that leads humanity.
What does it mean to be human? We are unpredictable and that’s principally what makes us human after all - does modern life push us into a narrow conformist space dominated by technology or money and other influences…can or should that be resisted, or do we shape it for our own or society’s needs? We need to ask insightful questions about ourselves and our communities. For example, have we reached ‘peak tech’ now that we have digital detox, switch off and screen free days? Have we lost sight of the essence of what we want from our life?
Leeds International Festival