Last Thursday I went to a fascinating talk at the Wellcome Collection by Dr Alice White.
It covered the work psychiatrists and psychologists from the Tavistock Institute carried out for the British Army during and after WW2.
One part of this covered the selection process for choosing officers and how they helped introduce methods, such as non-verbal reasoning tests, word and picture association and leaderless group activity tasks.
Nowadays these are commonly used, but were fairly revolutionary in the 1940s.
Civil Resettlment Units
As interesting as these were, what I found truly amazing was the Civil Resettlement Units that were set up to help Prisoners of War (POWs) assimilate back into non-military life, following the WW2.
I’ve read some eye-opening books during 2017, but none more so than Oliver James’ Not In Your Genes.
Subtitled “The real reasons children are like their parents”, the book reveals the truth about how little impact genes have on the way we turn out as people.
At the core of this is the seemingly-little-known revelation that genes play no part in things like mental illness, our skill at various things like sport or music, or what we enjoy learning at school.
The fact that conditions such as depression or ADHD are not at all genetic and inherently down to nurture is a bit of a shock.
I read The Observer’s article remembering George Michael today with great sadness – and not just because I liked him.
It also reminded me that – so often – it takes someone to die before we talk about how much we loved them and what was so special about them.
The Observer feature has Elton John saying “he was one of the kindest, most generous people that I ever met in my life” – I hope he got to say that to George, because everyone needs an ego boost every now and then.
My point? Today, think about someone you truly care about and make sure you tell them why they’re so special. None of us knows what could happen tomorrow.