It was standing room only for Dauphine Alumni's Art&Culture club's inaugural conference on the topic of Instinct


We all need to nurture our instinct. To encourage us, Dauphine Alumni's Art&Culture club devoted its inaugural conference to the subject, in a groundbreaking event co-organized with Disney Nature.

In 2006, director Luc Jacquet's March of the Penguins won the Oscar for Best Documentary. Twelve years later, he has returned with The Emperor.

On February 9th, Dauphine Alumni's Art&Culture club invited a panel of eminent scientists, intellectuals and artists to explore the role that instinct plays in animals and in humans: Luc Jacquet, director of The Emperor, Gilles Bœuf, biologist and former President of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (National Museum of Natural History, France), Joël Chevrier, researcher in Basic Physics, Annika Gill, singer-songwriter and composer, and Florence Lautrédou, psychoanalyst. The discussion was hosted by journalist Mathieu Vidard.

Luc Jacquet delighted the audience with stories about penguins. He told a magic tale of penguin chicks' first encounter with the Antarctic Ocean as they head for an ocean they cannot even see and jump into the water for the first time, without ever having learned to swim.

Gilles Boeuf then told the audience that although that some of their behavior can be explained by physiological or environmental factors, some of it still remains a mystery.

Instinct – a basic component shared by of all living species

Physicist Joël Chevrier then refocused the discussion on humans: he commented that as a scientist, he seeks to prove theories based on empirical, measurable evidence. But what exactly inspired him to become a researcher? What drove him to focus on one subject or another? Could it be instinct, that basic component we share with all other living species?

And what does instinct teach us about management? In the workplace, we would probably do well to listen more to our instinct. It is not something we learn to do at school, but with a bit of effort, we can learn use our instinct/intuition in all areas of decision-making and risk-taking.

Singer-songwriter Annika Gill made the closing remarks by quoting guitarist Ben Harper (Les Inrockuptibles - 12 Mars 2003): "If you succeed in explaining your instinct, it means that it has been reduced to impotency." Food for thought …

Visit the Dauphine Alumni website for Art&Culture's up-coming events.

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