Several Hay veterans had recommended Prof Tallis as a Hay must. What struck me first was an uncanny resemblance to the late Clement Freud. Analysing my reaction I wonder whether that marks me as a philistine and therefore unworthy of the Prof’s profundity.
This was an intellectual tour de force where Tallis contextualised ‘hunger’ as having four forms; the commonly understood nutritional need which differs from animal hunger in the rituals that it has spawned which in turn lead to a form of hedonistic hunger, he then describes the hunger for others, sexually or otherwise and finally the hunger for meaning and significance.
Throughout there were liberal references to great philosophers Sartre, Hegel, Spinoza, Camus and several times to Primo Levi. They gave weight to the polemic but ultimately I didn’t really buy it. The four hungers felt like the bastard child of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the seven deadly sins.