The amount of knowledge we have at our fingertips is amazing. You may know about evolution and creation, who won at Waterloo or figured out E=mc2, the names of footballers and
politicians, how to drive and use the computer… but how much do you know about the areas of life that make up your everyday experience? This is what you can find here: how to handle
emotions, make decisions, overcome fears, cope with challenges, communicate effectively, form and sustain relationships, and much more.
These materials provide practical knowledge about all basic areas of human life. These areas are also organised in a map that shows the relationships and connections among them (hence
the word ‘synthesis’ in the title).
Why do we need something like this?
We are all aware that we live in a time of rapid and sometimes dramatic changes. In the past, almost every aspect of daily existence was regulated by the extended family, the church,
even our neighbours. Life then was more restrictive, less tolerant of divergences and differences, and often hard, but it created some sense of security and predictability. Today, the
complex nature of our societies, greater cultural diversity, and pluralism of values have increased choice and allowed more freedom, but it has also added to personal responsibility,
insecurity, anxiety and confusion. Arguably, we have never had it better, and yet we don’t seem to cope all that well.
According to the World Health Organization, by 2020 depression is set to become the world’s most pervasive serious illness (more widespread than heart disease and cancer). Every 40
seconds somebody commits suicide and many more make an attempt. In the UK one in four visits to a doctor is due to a psychological problem (the most frequent reason after flu and cold).
Alcohol and drug misuse, as well as anti-social behaviour, are also widespread. This is not to say that we need knowledge and skills covered