Why do we talk as if we're rational, but act as if we're not?
Why are some people such control freaks?
What is the true role of religion?
Why do we seek change, yet resist it?
Why do we want more of the things that have already failed to satisfy us?
Why are we so passionate about sport?
Why do we need to communicate?
Why do we fall out of love?
Why do we exaggerate stories about what's happened to us?
As Australia's preeminent social researcher, Hugh Mackay has spent most of his working life exploring why we do the things we do, ranging from the television programs we watch or the politicians we vote for, to the decisions that shape our lives - who (or whether) to marry, where to live, whether to have children, what job to do.
Part reflection, part psychological analysis, What Makes Us Tick? is a highly personal account of the things Mackay has learnt from the experience of listening to people talk about their dreams, their fears, their faith, their hopes, their disappointments, their frustrations and their fantasies.
In his previous books Hugh has documented the trends that have been reshaping our society. Now the focus is on us as individuals, and Mackay's conclusions go to the heart of some of life's big questions. What Makes Us Tick? is provocative, insightful and inspiring work from one of Australia's great thinkers.
Hugh Mackay is a psychologist, social researcher and novelist. He has a master's degree in moral philosophy and was one of the founders of the St James Ethics Centre. His publication, The Mackay Report, was the benchmark of social research in Australia for over thirty years.
In recognition of his pioneering work in social research, Hugh has been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of NSW, Macquarie and Charles Sturt universities.
His most recent books are Advance Australia Where?, Ways of Escape, Right and Wrong, Winter Close. Hugh is currently working on his sixth novel.
What Makes Us Tick?
Author: Hugh Mackay
Question: Why did you originally decide to write What Makes Us Tick?
Hugh Mackay: I've been wanting to write this book for many years - it's a wrap-up of my social research findings, plus basic motivational psychology, plus my personal reflections on why we do the things we do.
Question: Through your research you were able to answer questions; can you please explain Why are we so passionate about sport?
Hugh Mackay: Sport is a symbolic version of ancient hunting and battle rituals, so it appeals to some very basic, primitive urges in us all - especially in men.
Question: As a social researcher you were able to find out why we exaggerate stories about what's happened to us, why is this?
Hugh Mackay: We all want something exciting to happen to us, so, when we're talking to our friends, we often exaggerate things that have happened to us to make them seem more exciting than they really were.
Question: How does the book explain why we fall in and out of love?
Hugh Mackay: The desire to be taken seriously is the deepest of all our desires, and the desire for love is the strongest. We fall in love for all kinds of reasons - and no reason at all! - but it's usually because someone takes us seriously, makes us feel better about ourselves. When we fall out of love, it's usually because we sense we are no longer being taken seriously and we no longer feel good about ourselves when we're around the other person. We also fall out of love because we've had foolish expectations of how long "romance" can last - as love matures, it inevitably becomes less romantic and more companionable, but often stronger and deeper as well..
Question: Who will enjoy What Makes Us Tick?
Hugh Mackay: Anyone who wants to understand why we do the things we do!
Interview by Brooke Hunter