Hearing a talk by social commentator, Hugh Mackay, can leave us questioning our thoughts and actions. Seeking happiness for its own sake will not help us achieve it, but we may experience fleeting moments of happiness when, say, a butterfly surprises us by landing on our shoulder, he tells the audience. We've known that for a very long time but we still seek happiness for its own sake.
The search for meaning and purpose is what is more likely to bring us life satisfaction, not necessarily happiness though. Are happiness and meaning mutually exclusive, comes the obvious question from another panellist. No you can have both, it's just that you should be searching for meaning not happiness.
We are social beings, driven to connect with each other, but we've lost our way with this innate need - divorce, not knowing our neighbours, technology cited as some of the reasons. But there's good news on this front, there's a turning tide, with signs of people connecting, reaching out to each other. Learning to slow down our family activities for example, not doing more but connecting more. Taking time to listen, to hear, to be with.
We need time to ourselves to recharge. Being a social being is exhausting, demanding. We need to regroup to be able to keep giving. This is not selfishness.
And what about people whose focus is on surviving, like refugees and others who don't have basic safety? They need to prioritise themselves - and we need to notice and reach out to them. To counter some of the political decisions being made at the moment - decisions that will lead to shame and apologies in the future. Applause at this point.
Wandering back through the dark but well-lit city night, reflecting upon the evening's lessons, it's hard to walk past the lady begging for clean socks and underwear and the man lying in a sleeping bag, asleep already, crutches leaning against the window of the shop doorway. Conscience pricked. What is a good person supposed to do?