Are we pursuing happiness, or is the happiness industry pursuing us? Leo Johnson goes on a year-long journey to explore radical philosophies of happiness.
Are we pursuing happiness, or is the happiness industry pursuing us? And if our model of hedonism isn't working, how do we hack our happiness back? Leo Johnson goes on a year-long journey to pick up life lessons of happiness from modern day practitioners of radically different philosophies.
It's a journey that takes us from Yorkshire's anti-fracking grannies to the slow footballing Vietnamese monks of Plum Village, from self-cutting poets to the Chief Happiness Officers Convention in Paris, from London's asexual community to multi-orgasmic Swedish academics, and from World Champion Muay Thai women kick-boxers to Elvis-loving dementia sufferers.
What emerges is a set of starkly competing visions of the good life - ancient philosophies still duking it out to get punched in as the destination in our psychic Sat Navs.
What we meet is a set of individuals who have questioned the default comforts of the IKEA catalogue, defined the shape of the self, and chosen lives that give us a glimpse of how each of us can reclaim peace, reclaim purpose, reclaim pain, and reclaim pleasure - the real pleasure that hedonism promised.
Episode 2: Self-Harm Nation
Exploring radical alternatives to hedonism. What if happiness isn't about pleasure at all?
The programme features poet Clare Shaw in interview and reading from a poem in her new collection 'Flood', we hear from members of London's asexual community and we meet Dr. Liz Gloyn -author and Classics academic from Royal Holloway, University of London - at Stoicon X.
A Reel Soul Movies production for BBC Radio 4
Photo credit: Photo of poet Clare Shaw by Claire McNamee.