Meaning in Life
What is it that makes your life worthwhile and meaningful, whether you are an atheist or a believer? And can we find it by looking into ourselves or do we need to be appreciated by others?
Bridget Kendall's guides through the labyrinth of possibilities are professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Susan Wolf; writer, philosopher, television presenter and entrepreneur Alain de Botton; and archaeologist-turned-novelist Alexandre Mitchell.
Alain de Botton
Alain de Botton also wants us to enrich our appreciation of life and answer our need for meaning. In his latest book Religion for Atheists, he argues that one of the problems is that we humans tend to overplay our own significance in the world. So we should spend more time contemplating the vastness of the universe and how meaningless our existence is in comparison. Finding meaning through recognizing we don’t matter?
60 Second Idea to Change the World
Jane Austen as a self-help tool? Philosopher Alain de Botton believes that schools and universities poorly equip students to face the challenges and dilemmas of daily life, from how to have relationships or raise children, to how to manage one’s anxieties and ambitions. So he wants to reform the education system using great novels, plays or paintings as conduits for contemplating some of the large and important questions in life. So, goodbye courses on Narrative Trends in 19th Century French Novel! Instead, how about lessons in Surviving the Tensions of Marriage, or Coping with Death?
In Next Week's Programme
The Challenge of Ageing: guest presenter Baroness Helena Kennedy is joined by a live audience at the London School of Economics’ festival Space for Thought, as well as Swedish champion of visual statistics, Hans Rosling; founder of Oxford’s institute of aging, Sarah Harper; and one of Britain’s sprightliest of nonagenarians, crime writer PD James.