Tuesday, December 20, 2022 - 5 pm - Webinar
Do you constantly obsess about being happy? Well, you are not alone. It appears that many Americans share this national proclivity. These pervasive desires with how to be the wealthiest, the most powerful or famous, take up a lot of psychic energy, and the end results are not too impressive. Despite the myriad of self-help books out there, we Americans are among the most anxious people on earth.
At this time of year, it is particularly noticeable with people struggling to make their holiday celebrations perfect and feeling guilt-tripped into spending money they don’t have on gifts that aren’t needed. So, we are taking a stop and asking, is there a better way? We suggest that you inhale the sweet spices of the season and join us to consider some fresh thinking on the subject.
AVRAM ALPERT, writer and educator, shares his ideas from The Good-Enough Life, suggesting how an acceptance of our own limitations can lead to a more fulfilling life and a more harmonious society. ”Obsessing about greatness has given us an epidemic of stress, anxiety, inequality and ecological damage,” according to Alpert who is a writer and teacher, and currently a Research Fellow at The New Institute in Hamburg where he is working on a book on wisdom. He previously taught at Princeton and Rutgers.
KIERAN SETIYA, a professor of philosophy at MIT provides a refreshing and realistic antidote to many of the platitudes pushed by our contemporary American self-improvement industry. His latest book Life is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help us Find our Way suggests that trying to live a perfect life in difficult circumstances only brings dismay. Much in life that makes us miserable can neither be changed nor ignored, so we need to come to terms with reality.
Both guests challenge the notion that happiness should be life’s primary pursuit – arguing we might be better served by living well within our means, acknowledging some difficult truths and concentrating on leading a meaningful life instead? Embracing the “good-enough” life might be preferable to hankering for the perfect one, and we might just stumble across happiness in the process. Join this stimulating discussion for some useful suggestions about how to maintain our humanity, in challenging times.
Photo credit : Pexels.com - Pixabay
BIO: Kieran Setiya
Kieran Setiya teaches philosophy at MIT, working mainly in ethics, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind.
He’s the author of Practical Knowledge, Reasons without Rationalism, and Knowing Right From Wrong.
His new book, Life is Hard, is out from Riverhead Books (US) and Hutchinson Heinemann (UK). Combining philosophy with personal essay, the book has chapters on infirmity, loneliness, grief, failure, injustice, absurdity – and hope. It has been reviewed by the Economist, The York Times, the Sunday Times, and the Guardian, and was selected as one of the New Yorker‘s Best Books of 2022. Excerpts in the Atlantic, LitHub, BBC Future, Big Think, and the Guardian.
His last book was Midlife: A Philosophical Guide. It is available in bookstores and can be ordered online. My work on midlife has been featured in Aeon, Hi-Phi Nation, Five Books, and the New York Times. He has also written about baseball and philosophy, H. P. Lovecraft, stand-up comedy, and the meaning of life.
BIO: Avram Alpert
Fellow at The New Institute in Hamburg, Germany, Avram Alpert is the author of three books, The Good Enough Life (Princeton University Press, 2022) being the latest.
Alpert works to understand what values we can live by in a world as connected, chaoticm and potentially catastrophic as the present.
After receiving his PhD, he has taught at Rutgers and Princeton University. With Rit Prenmnath, he co-edited and co-managed the programming of Shifter Magazine from 2014-2021. In 2018, with Meleko Mokgosi and Anthea Behm, he cofounded the Interdisciplinary Art and Theory Program at Jack Shainman Gallery.
His other books are : Global Origins of the Modern Self, from Montaigne to Suzuki (SUNY Press, 2019) and A Partial Enlightenment : What Modern Literature and Buddhism Can Teach Us About Living Well without Perfection (Columbia University Press, 2021).
His writing has also appeared in Aeon, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Truhout, and elsewhere.