The Human Givens Charter
To ordinary, intelligent people, the governments of the world seem all at sea. It is clear, in the myriad different ways they try to deal with the increasingly complex problems of the world, that they are missing an essential element: that of the psychology of human nature, which is programmed into us from our genes (hence human ‘givens’).
These givens can be expressed straightforwardly as innate needs and resources. Meeting the one, and correctly using the other, are key to global mental health – and understanding how our behaviour is driven by our attempts to get our needs met is central to improving any human endeavour.
The universal law of all living things
The Human Givens Charter derives from the universal law of all living organisms: That, to survive, each living thing must continually maintain and rebuild itself by taking in appropriate nourishment from the environment. The existence and survival of all life forms depend on this. The specific needs of each species’ are genetically programmed in to drive every member of it to fulfil its potential. When these innate needs are met well in the environment it flourishes.
None of us can escape this universal law while we are alive. It is the key to emotional health and clear thinking and, as such, we must take account of its truth in everything we do, including how we die. Every policy and plan should derive from being underpinned by this principle. It ensures fair and wholesome management of human affairs. The prime purpose of government therefore is to ensure that the innate physical and emotional needs of the people it serves are met well.
The Human Givens Charter, and the pages that follow it, are intended to unpack what this means and provide an opportunity for us all to step back and look at the bigger picture.