The School Of Life

 

The school Of Life, bibliotherapy,
"Dream" Jaume Plensa Wikipedia

 

How do I deal with my stress?

Why isn’t this relationship happy?

When will I find work that makes use of my gifts?

What can I do to make the world a better place?

Imagine a storefront that exists to help you explore the answers. Not one-size-fits-all pop culture pablum but deep and meaningful ways to think about your questions using visual arts, philosophy, literature, and social sciences.

There is such a place. Currently only one, in London. It’s called The School of Life.  It’s a dogma-free zone started and run by writers, artists, philosophers, and others drawn to wisdom in all its forms. They urge us to keep asking questions of our lives and of art, letting these explorations stretch, delight, and energize us. The programs they offer help seekers connect with other curious and open-minded people.

At The School of Life  you’ll find Secular Sermons, big ideas by big thinkers like Susan Greenfield on Storytelling, Karen Armstrong on Compassion, Lawrence Krauss on Cosmic Connections, and Rebecca Solnit on Hope.

They offer psychotherapy as an avenue of personal enlightenment.  Or that can be sought through bibliotherapy: book prescriptions custom-designed with your reading history, dilemmas, and desires in mind.

The place is also teeming with activity beyond the sit still and think variety. There are engaging programs with transformative potential and weekend adventures developed by scientists, artists, and others.  Oh, and what they call Utopian Feasts, described this way.

In the mediaeval utopia of Cockaygne, ready-to-eat larks fly into your mouth and the sky rains cheese. While we can’t take you there, we will transport you to feast in alternative idea–worlds where you can fuel up on brain-fodder, feed your creativity, debate ideas and design a better future.  The Feasts combine extraordinary conceptual catering with a menu of conversation ideas.  Each is guided by an expert in the history of ideas…

As you surely do as well, my friends and I have long cobbled together what I realize now is our own version of The School of Life as we brainstorm, create, discuss, and share our love of the arts. But I want in the worst way to see more of these places everywhere in a world that needs to ask more questions, look for more meaning, and joyously include others in that search. I find hope in this recent interview with one of the founders, Alain De Botton. He notes their efforts have met with extraordinary success and they see it expanding all over the world.

 

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Laura is the author of a poetry collection titled Tending and Free Range Learning, a handbook of natural learning. She lives on a small farm notable only for its lovestruck goose.