National Crises Viewed in the Light of Personal Crises

28 February 2018, 17:15 - 18:15

Babbage Lecture Theatre (New Museum Site)

This public lecture is organised by the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. This lecture is now fully booked. Join the waiting list here.


Nations experience crises, whose solution requires adopting selective changes, and which some nations are more successful at solving than are other nations. We as individuals also experience personal crises, either associated with certain ages (e.g., teenage or midlife crises) or else triggered by external shocks (e.g., relationship problems or break-ups, the death of a loved one, or a health or job or financial blow). The solution of a personal crisis also requires adopting selective changes, which some of us are more successful at accomplishing than are others of us. Counselors and psychotherapists have identified many factors that make it more or less likely that an individual will overcome a personal crises. I’ll examine the extent to which similar considerations help understand the outcomes of recent and impending national crises and the impending world crises. 

About the speaker 

Jared Diamond is a Professor of Geography at UCLA and the Pulitzer-prize winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse and other books.

(Photo by Kenneth Zirkel [CC BY-SA 4.0])