the observer Sat 12 May 2012
While suffering from depression in his 20s, Jules Evans did a course of cognitive behavioural therapy and he was struck by how closely many of its ideas corresponded to what he remembered of Greek philosophy. And so began a quest to discover how the ideas of Aristotle, Seneca et al could be applied to today's emotional dilemmas, helping us to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. The result is Philosophy for Life (Rider Books), a punchy journey through the wisdom of the ancients that takes in Stoicism, Epicureanism, the concept of human flourishing, and much besides.
Evans, 34, who lectures on practical philosophy and runs the wellbeing project at Queen Mary, University of London, says that, as a society, we've turned away from ancient wisdom because we're so "obsessed with the new and the scientific. Luckily, the latest psychology and neuroscience have rediscovered ancient philosophy, so people are taking it seriously again." He adds, though, that simply studying philosophy isn't enough: "You have to practise it too."