A Hymn to the Glass Half Empty

An uplifting talk about pessimism:

In the constant search for happiness, philosopher Alain de Botton believes that we should all learn to be a bit more pessimistic.

In this secular sermon, Alain challenges the great bourgeois promise that everyone can find happiness in love and work and suggests that we take on the joys of pessimism instead. He argues that the chances of anyone succeeding in both areas (let alone in one) are extremely remote – and that it is therefore peculiar, and deeply cruel, to base our societies around these values. Indeed, in denying a place for misery and despair, the modern world denies us the possibility of collective consolation, condemning us instead to solitary feelings of shame and persecution.

Alain de Botton is the author of numerous essayistic books that have been described as a ‘philosophy of everyday life.’ For more information, visit his website.

This secular sermon took place at Conway Hall, London on 22 March 2009

More on this topic:

●  Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking

●  On optimism (and positive thinking)

●  Rethinking positive thinking

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters