Since the late 1990′s, Alain de Botton has been breaking down difficult philosophical and literary ideas and seeing how they apply to people’s everyday lives. He did this with his 1997 bestseller, How Proust Can Change Your Life. And he took things a step further with his television series called Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness.
Then, in the summer of 2008, de Botton and some colleagues set up The School of Life, a London-based institution that offers courses “in the important questions of everyday life,” in areas we all tend to care about: careers, relationships, politics, travels, families, etc. The school also hosts a series of “Sunday Sermons” that feature “maverick cultural figures” talking about the virtues they cling to, and the vices to be wary of.
Today, we’re featuring several of these sermons. Above, the actress, writer, and director Miranda July takes an offbeat and endearing look at strangers, and the role they play in our lives. Then come some notable mentions:
Physicist Lawrence Krauss on Cosmic Connections. (Also don’t miss this other unrelated but splendid talk by Krauss.)
Author Rebecca Solnit on Hope.
And Alain de Botton himself on the importance of defying pessimism.
Again, you can find the full list of sermons organized chronologically here.