Policy Press

Publishing with a purpose

Sustainable Hedonism

A Thriving Life that Does Not Cost the Earth

By Orsolya Lelkes

Published

May 19, 2021

Page count

224 pages

ISBN

978-1529217988

Dimensions

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

May 19, 2021

Page count

224 pages

ISBN

978-1529217971

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

May 19, 2021

Page count

224 pages

ISBN

978-1529217995

Dimensions

Imprint

Bristol University Press

Published

May 19, 2021

Page count

224 pages

ISBN

978-1529217995

Dimensions

Imprint

Bristol University Press
Sustainable Hedonism

Watch the author’s introduction to the book here.

How can we create a thriving life for us all that doesn’t come at the price of ecological destruction?

This book calls to explore our collective and personal convictions about success and good life. It challenges the mainstream worldview, rooted in economics, that equates happiness with pleasure, and encourages greed, materialism, egoism and disconnection.

Drawing on science and ancient Greek philosophers the author details how we can cultivate our skills for enjoying life without harming ourselves or others, and can live an autonomous, creative and connected life. Complementary to our intellectual understanding, the experiential method of role play and theatre can powerfully facilitate the exploration of the inner drivers and hindrances of a thriving life.

"Highly topical and timely. This work brings together key economic and philosophical literatures with a distinctive practical approach.” John Hills, London School of Economics and Political Science (1954-2020)

“Not only does the book bring together three strands (environmental, social, individual) but it also aims to do so in a novel and accessible way – not just outlining the theory, but also encouraging a process of self-reflection and experiential learning.” Sam Wren-Lewis, University of Nottingham

“Orsolya Lelkes’ in-depth exploration of the tensions between standard market economics, intense consumption-based growth, and the ecological crisis offers a highly original pathway to “a flourishing life”. Her recipe for a fairer, more fulfilled life rests on “benevolence, universalism, and self-direction”, values that are endorsed across the globe. Her ideas for progress advance both the survival of the planet and thriving communities, and thriving personal lives, which she calls “Sustainable Hedonism”.” Anne Power, London School of Economics

“Beyond the empty, sterile promises of consumerism, there is a place rich in meaningful engagement with ourselves, others and the more than human world. A rediscovery of our bodies – specifically in the form of theatre and role-play – provides a powerful channel for this re-awakening. This is the territory that Orsolya Lelkes so skilfully and powerfully explores, helping us to re-engage with the power of embodiment.” Jonathan Dawson, Schumacher College

Orsolya Lelkes is an independent scholar and psychological counsellor, former Deputy Director at the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Vienna and former Head of Economic Research at Hungarian Ministry of Finance. Her website can be found at https://lelkes.at/en/orsolya-lelkes/

Introduction: Is There Anyone Who Does Not Want to Thrive?

PART I: The Challenge

1 Unintended Consequences of Economics as a Science

2 The Narrative of Success in Capitalism, and Its Failures

PART II: What Is a Good Life?

3 Pleasure, Joy, Satisfaction, Purpose: Refining Our Quest for Happiness

4 Sustainable Hedonism

5 A Flourishing Life: Living Well and Doing Well

6 Values in an Era of Free Choice

PART III: How Do We Get There?

7 The Laboratory of the Flourishing Life: Serious Change Can Be Playful

8 Inner Agents and Saboteurs of the Good Life: Role Theory

Conclusions: Flourishing Life in the World