A Night of Better Conversation: Happiness

Due to COVID-19, we are cancelling all public and business events until the end of April - in both Melbourne and Sydney, from 16 March. Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our community and we would like to do our part in being a part of the solution.

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Our society is obsessed with happiness. Whole countries are ranked by a happiness index, while each of us feels like being happy isn't just something to aspire to but a duty, like eating our greens or going to the gym. Those of us who can't be happy -- or pretend to be happy -- often feel rejected by the society around us, as if melancholy isn't a natural human condition but something alien, awkward and (worst of all) contagious.

What if we've got it wrong? Are there better measures by which we can judge our lives than whether we make ourselves (and others) happy? The fact is that life is full of miseries, large and small, that are an essential, if painful, part of the human experience. This pain might not be meaningful, but is it perhaps necessary, if we are to fully experience pleasure?

In this wide-ranging and thought provoking night of conversation, we'll be drawing on the work of leading thinkers, artists and writers to reframe our obsession with happiness. We'll be saying things we've never said before and asking ourselves (and each other) some big questions. 

Namely, is the quest for true happiness making us all truly miserable?


6.30 pm    Doors Open
7.00 pm    Welcome & Introduction
7.15 pm     Key Idea 1 & conversation
7.45 pm     Key Idea 2 & conversation
8.15 pm     Key Idea 3 & conversation
9.00 pm   Event Concludes & Venue Open for Continued Conversation


'You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.'
― Albert Camus

Event Partner

This event is proudly presented in partnership with The Old Clare Hotel.

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The Old Clare Hotel and The School of Life have a commitment to providing enlightened hospitality to its customers. Our shared mission is to create events and environments where meaningful connections can flourish.

About A Night of Better Conversation

Our lives are so often filled with superficial talk, from office chitchat to commentaries on last night's television. How can we have conversations that inspire us to think in new ways, that stimulate our curiosity and that prompt us to say things we've never said before?

A Night of Better Conversation has been designed to help us enjoy rich and memorable conversations about things that really matter in life, inspired by the ideas of great thinkers and philosophers.

This interactive and social evening is split in to equal parts facilitated and presented content and group conversation. Participants will be encouraged to meet and converse with as many different people as they can to explore and interact a diverse range of ideas and ways of thinking.


Tim Dean is a philosopher and science writer. He has a PhD from the University of New South Wales on evolution and morality, and has an interest in ethics, the philosophy of biology, philosophy of science and moral psychology. He is an Honorary Associate in the Philosophy department at the University of Sydney. In 2015 he won the Australasian Association of Philosophy Media Professionals' Award for his writing on philosophy in New PhilosopherAcuity MagazineCosmos, ABC's The Drum and on Channel 10's The Project

Buy tickets for
A Night of Better Conversation: Happiness


When and where:
  • Mon 16 Mar 2020 6.30pm – 9pm
    The Clare Bar at The Old Clare, 20 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008




Full price: $45
Concession: $36
+ booking fee

Tickets include light, vegetarian refreshments. Drinks can be purchased at the bar.

Health Care Card, Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and current Student Cards.

Please note that we are unable to offer refunds or transfers with less than 10 days cancellation notice before the original class date. If you require a refund please contact us as per below.

Need More Help?

Email: enquiries@theschooloflife.com.au

For mobility access: please contact us as above to discuss arrangements to ensure your access requirements are supported.