The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

Discussion Leader – Carl Angotti

11 a.m., February 10, 2019

Recently, the HCSV Book Discussion Group read the Jonathan Haidt book – “The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom”. His book explores the human search for happiness via modern scientific approaches and the ancient wisdom that has been passed on by many former Philosophers and Religious persons. To this end he tries to help encapsulate what is meant by happiness, its pursuits and what might be considered its root causes.

We will use a mixed format of video and other material to explore Haidt’s book among ourselves as it relates to our understanding of happiness and to our lives.


Jonathan Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and then did post-doctoral research at the University of Chicago and in Orissa, India. He taught at the University of Virginia for 16 years before moving to NYU-Stern in 2011. He was named one of the “top global thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine, and one of the “top world thinkers” by Prospect magazine.

His research focuses on morality – its emotional foundations, cultural variations, and developmental course. He began his career studying the negative moral emotions, such as disgust, shame, and vengeance, but then moved on to the understudied positive moral emotions, such as admiration, awe, and moral elevation. He is the co-developer of Moral Foundations theory, and of the research site He is a co-founder of, which advocates for viewpoint diversity in higher education…….


This video and presentation discussion will be led by Carl Angotti, a longtime member of the Humanist Community. He is trained and worked as an Electronic Engineering Consultant for many years, and has been an amateur student of Philosophy and Psychology since his youth.

Slides from this Forum can be found here.

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Note: If you would like to speak at a Forum, or know of someone who you think might be willing to speak at a Forum, please send an email about your idea to the HCSV Program Committee.

Goals for Life – A Video Presentation Followed by a Facilitated Discussion

Facilitated by Richard Hobbs

11 a.m., December 2, 2018

Two TED Talks ( on goals for life will be shown, and a third TED Talk on the same subject briefly summarized.

Then Richard Hobbs, Executive Director and Co-founder of Human Agenda (, will briefly present the CLEAR vision of Human Agenda, as it relates to the conclusions of the videos.

Then Richard Hobbs will facilitate an audience discussion of all of the material that has been presented.

The two videos that will be shown are:


The video that will be summarized is:

You can click on any of the above links to read about each video’s particular approach to this topic.

After the Forum, please join us for a lunch at 12:30pm. The lunch is complimentary for first-time visitors and students.

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Two Videos of Talks by Prof. Lawrence Lessig

11 a.m., November 4, 2018

Lawrence Lessig III is a distinguished American academic, attorney, and political activist. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Equal Citizens Foundation (

The first video is a TED Talk (see from 2013 entitled “We the People, and the Republic we much reclaim” (18 minutes, Here is the description of the first video:

There is a corruption at the heart of American politics, caused by the dependence of Congressional candidates on funding from the tiniest percentage of citizens. That’s the argument at the core of this blistering talk by legal scholar Lawrence Lessig. With rapid-fire visuals, he shows how the funding process weakens the Republic in the most fundamental way, and issues a rallying bipartisan cry that will resonate with many in the U.S. and beyond.

The second video is a YouTube video entitled “Lawrence Lessig: What Maine Can Teach” (14 minutes, It can be shown under the Creative Commons license ( It presents Lawrence Lessig’s keynote address at the “Get Money Out of Politics Summit” at the University of Southern Maine on April 7th, 2018.

There will then be a general discussion of the content of the two videos by audience members.

After the Forum, please join us for a lunch at 12:30pm. The lunch is complimentary for first-time visitors and students.

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Benefit Corporations

Hosted by Arthur Jackson

October 29, 2017

Longtime Humanist Community member and leader Arthur Jackson will introduce the concept of a Benefit Corporation, and then show a 30 minute video of a HCSV Forum talk by John Montgomery on Benefit Corporations from 3/31/13 ( Mr. Jackson will then host the Q&A period, drawing from John’s article in the May/June 2014 issue of The Humanist magazine ( which Mr. Jackson helped make possible by connecting John with Jennifer Bardi, the editor of The Humanist.

Mr. Jackson would like to promote the idea of Benefit Corporations, which give corporations a conscience so they benefit all of society – not just the investors. Mr. Jackson’s goal is to find a way to develop pressure groups to spread the idea of benefit corporations and the power they have to change the whole world through using economies fairly. In contrast, traditional corporate law often forces corporations to stand in opposition to a society’s best interests.

Humanist Community Forum (2017-10-29): Benefit Corporations (Arthur Jackson) from Humanist Community-SiliconValley on Vimeo.

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Can a divided America heal?

Featuring a video of a TED Talk by Jonathan Haidt

November 20, 2016

How can the US recover after the negative, partisan presidential election of 2016? Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the morals that form the basis of our political choices. In this TED Talk, which shows a conversation between Jonathan Haidt and TED Curator Chris Anderson, Jonathan Haidt describes the patterns of thinking and historical causes that have led to such sharp divisions in America — and provides a vision for how the country might move forward. A discussion of this topic by audience members will follow the showing of this video.

Please see and

Note: The previously scheduled talk by Jason Kazarian, “Forward To The Past: Life In A Second-World Country”, will be given at a later date.

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