Gavin, Helen (2010) Sex, food and the pursuit of happiness (with apologies to John Locke). In: British Psychological Society North East of Britain Branch Third Annual Conference, 22nd October 2010, Durham, UK. (Unpublished)

The theme of conference this year is sex and food. Both of these things should bring a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction, i.e., happiness, to human beings, but unfortunately the reverse is often the case. Happiness is a state everyone wishes to attain, but so few seem to reach. Examine the list of things that many think will enable them to reach happiness – wealth, beauty, status – and we realise that these are all short lived and ephemeral, so does this mean that happiness is the same? Or do we in fact, ascribe the property of happiness to the wrong things? In this talk I will examine what it means to be happy, and how and why two activities that are natural and meet fundamental, biological and psychological needs have become so enmeshed with guilt, pain, and furtive behaviour. I will present the case that humans have vilified the very things that make us happy, whilst pursuing the wrong goals.

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