Happiness: Is it worth it?

PhiloSophia will host a session in the library discussing this topic, on 4 March 2018:

Happiness: Is it worth it?

The first version of this topic occurred in 2015, run through Sydney Philosophy Circle:

Happiness: Is it worth it?

Photos associated with this first session:

Entering the marketplace: #10 of the Zen Ox Herding series 



Alchemy of Happiness





Sapiens Seriously

Here is information and resources regarding the book Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari which was run as a Coursera mooc back in 2013.


In May 2015 and through Sydney Philosophy Circle, we began holding discussion meetings based on the Coursera lecture series, which is freely available online. At the first meeting we simply looked at the first lecture (or chapter of the book), as a sort of taster:

Sapiens Seriously: Human Family

The full 100 minute lecture runs over five shorter YouTube videos, as follows:

Introduction (6mins)
Part 2 (31mins)
Part 3 (29mins)
Part 4 (12mins)
Part 5 (29mins)

Notes on this first lecture and all subsequent lectures are provided here:


Here is the full course content as it appears in the lecture series (and coursera mooc):

Part I: The Cognitive Revolution
Lecture 1: The Human Family
Lecture 2: The Cognitive Revolution
Lecture 3: Daily Life in the Stone Age
Lecture 4: The Human Flood

Part II: The Agricultural Revolution
Lecture 5: History’s Biggest Fraud
Lecture 6: Building Pyramids
Lecture 7: There is No Justice in History

Part III: The Unification of Humankind
Lecture 8: The Direction of History
Lecture 9: Imperial Visions
Lecture 10: The Law of Religion

Part IV. The Scientific Revolution
Lecture 11: The Discovery of Ignorance
Lecture 12: The Marriage of Science and Empire
Lecture 13: The Capitalist Creed
Lecture 14: The Industrial Revolution
Lecture 15: A Permanent Revolution
Lecture 16: And They Lived Happily Ever After
Lecture 17: The End of Homo Sapiens

Here are the corresponding chapters in the book that Harari later published:


Note that extra chapters were added, making a total of 20 chapters, as compared to 17 lectures.


Eve and the Serpent


Anne will lead a discussion of the Genesis story of Eve and the serpent, with a special eye to the Gnostic interpretation.

Research resources as follows:

Adam, Eve, and the serpent / Elaine Pagels. The Introduction and first chapter are available here: PagelsAdamEveSerpentChapter1

For a gnostic perspective, see: Stephan A. Hoeller: The Genesis Factor

Other tales about feminine curiosity: Lot’s wife, Pandora, Psyche, Bluebeard

State Library directions for newcomers:


Books requested:

offsite: Adam, Eve, and the serpent / Elaine Pagels.

onsite: several illustrated Blake books

Image information:

William Blake: Eve Tempted by the Serpent (detail)

Full image here:

Further images:


Eve and the Serpent, illustration from a 15th century German bible, via Discarding Images

Minoan snake dancer

art deco bronze snake charmer

Jordan Peterson: 12 Rules for Life

Jordan B. Peterson: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (amazon link)

The “look inside” feature at the link above gives the foreword and part of the overture (or introduction).

Here are PDF copies of sections of the book:



















Nothing Matters

Files relating to the topic to be discussed on 21 January 2018 at the State Library of NSW.



Quotes (thank you to Christos for these):

“Come now I will tell thee-and do thou hear my word and heed it-what are the only ways of enquiry that lead to knowledge. The one way, assuming that being is and that it is impossible for it not to be, is the trustworthy path, for truth attends it. The other, that not-being is and that it necessarily is, I call a wholly incredible course, since thou canst not recognise not-being (for this is impossible), nor couldst thou speak of it, for thought and being are the same thing.”
-The Way of Truth

(the above is from Parmenides)

“The body is a device to calculate the astronomy of the spirit.”
-The Fragile Vial

“Upward soareth our spirit: thus is it a simile of our body, a simile of an elevation. Such similes of elevations are the names of the virtues. Thus goeth the body through history, a becomer and fighter. And the spirit—what is it to the body? Its fights’ and victories’ herald, its companion and echo.
Similes, are all names of good and evil; they do not speak out, they only hint. A fool who seeketh knowledge from them!
Give heed, my brethren, to every hour when your spirit would speak in similes: there is the origin of your virtue.
Elevated is then your body, and raised up; with its delight, enraptureth it the spirit; so that it becometh creator, and valuer, and lover, and everything’s benefactor.”
-Thus Spoke Zarathustra

(the above is from Nietzsche)