A monthly event featuring debates, talks, interviews, music and film. LIVE.

The Debate: The Pleasure Paradox

Monday 7th August - 06:00 PM BST

The Debate: The Pleasure Paradox

Most agree that health is better than sickness, abundance is better than poverty, and peace is better than war. But many now point to a fundamental problem. Despite better access to healthcare, education, and more disposable income, cases of depression have increased by over 50% worldwide since 1997. Research shows that richer countries have higher rates of anxiety than poorer ones, whilst happiness has been declining across the board in the most developed countries for more than a decade. And recent studies from Stanford University demonstrate that too much comfort in the short term could lead to pain in the longer term.

Should we give up the view that life is simply about aiming for positive experience and comfort and instead see struggle and well-being as two sides of the same coin? Should we abandon the central claim of government policy that better living standards lead to greater well-being? Or would this be a dangerous move that would threaten the progress made in the past few centuries and irrevocably change the character of our culture?


17:15 BST - The Opening Interview: Dopamine Nation The Lounge

18:00 BST - The Debate: The Pleasure Paradox arena

19:20 BST - The Solo Talk: The Happiness Index and the Futility of Suffering arena

19:30 BST - Flats & Sharps stage

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Yaron Brook

Ayn Rand Institute Chairman.

Yaron Brook is an entrepreneur and intellectual at the helm of the Ayn Rand Institute. As a staunch objectivist, Brook is unafraid to challenge the status quo, debating some of the biggest political commentators of today to advocate for individual rights and free markets.

Patricia Churchland

Neurophilosophy pioneer

Patricia Churchland is a decorated philosopher famous for illuminating the intersection of neuroscience and ethics. For decades Churchland has been helping to redefine our understanding of the human mind, and has been awarded the MacArthur Prize, The Rossi Prize for Neuroscience and the Prose Prize for Science.


Robert Lawrence Kuhn

Acclaimed public intellectual

Robert Lawrence Kuhn is the creator, writer, host and executive producer of Closer To Truth; bridging science and philosophy to unravel the enigmas of existence, Kuhn has written or edited over 30 books, including 'The Mystery of Existence: Why is there Anything At All?' and 'Closer to Truth: Challenging Current Belief'.

Anna Lembke

Stanford addiction expert

Anna Lembke is a groundbreaking psychiatrist and addiction medicine expert. Alongside shaping individual lives in her clinical practice, Lembke has featured on the hit Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, and has testified before various committees in the United States House of Representatives and Senate.

The Debate: The Pleasure Paradox

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