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Yesterday I received two emails from Matthew Taylor in quick succession, back to back in my inbox, and I felt a bit confused by their content, until I realised they were sent by completely different people.

The RSA Chief Executive has been musing about adult development, in the context of our '21st century enlightenment' mission, and forwarded me something about that, relating to our recent report on the relationship between adult development and the Big Society.

However, the second email was written by the Matthew J Taylor, who is the producer of 'The Play's The Thing' and Director of The Social Arts Network. This Matthew made a particularly interesting connection between a line in another RSA report and a prediction by Aldous Huxley, who was obviously a great author, but also had a great deal of insight into behaviour change, and we have mentioned his 'reminder birds' here before.

I have Matthew's permission to share the email here:

Dear Jonathan,

I was (am) reading your very interesting RSA paper, Transforming Behaviour Change: Beyond Nudge and Neuromania, when I came across these words:

"In the UK, this has led to the creation of a Behavioural Insight Team in the Cabinet Office, leading to fears amongst some of Government manipulation and control."

They immediately reminded of these words from Aldous Huxley's 1950 introduction to Brave New World, in which he says:

"The most important Manhattan Projects of the future will be vast government-sponsored inquiries into what politicians and the participating scientists will call 'the problem of happiness -'.

It looks as though his predictive powers were spot on. And quite scary that he should link the creation of the atom bomb to the 'problem of happiness'.

Many thanks for participating in Play's the Thing last November. We're currently working on plans for Play's the Thing 2 and I hope that you might be able to be involved in some way.

Best wishes


I hope so too!



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