I’m a journalist and writer, who is interested in how people seek the good life in modern societies. I’m particularly interested in ancient Greek and Roman philosophies, and how individuals and communities are re-discovering their ideas today. An important part of that story is cognitive psychotherapy’s re-discovery of ancient philosophy.
I first got into this subject because I suffered from depression while at university, and realised to what extent our emotions can make our life a misery. I got better, in large part thanks to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which I then discovered was directly inspired by ancient philosophy. I was amazed that ideas and therapeutic techniques invented over 2,000 years ago still work today. Since then, I’ve met and interviewed hundreds of people who were also profoundly helped by the ideas of Socrates, Plato, Seneca, Epicurus and other great sages, and wrote about this in Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations. I’m now researching ecstatic experiences in modernity.
Today, I am policy director at the Centre for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary, University of London, and write for the Centre’s blog. At the Centre, I recently completed an AHRC-funded project researching and promoting the rise of philosophy groups worldwide, which included setting up www.thephilosophyhub.com. I also help to run the London Philosophy Club, which is the biggest philosophy club in the world, with over 3,000 members. We organize regular public events and have hosted some of the UK’s leading philosophers. I’m one of the BBC’s Next Generation Thinkers for 2013. I’m also involved in the Stoicism and Therapy project at Exeter University, and I’m working with the RSA on its Spirituality project.
I have written and spoken about philosophy, psychology and the politics of well-being for BBC2′s Culture Show, for BBC Radio 3 and 4, RTE-1 and ABC Australia; for print publications including The Financial Times, The Economist, The Telegraph and The Spectator; and for think-tanks including new economics foundation, IPPR and the Rockefeller Foundation. I’ve done talks at events including How The Light Gets In, the Month of Philosophy in Amsterdam, the Hay-On-Wye festival, the Galway Arts Festival, the Happinez festival, TEDX Breda, Latitude, Dartington Hall, Voewood, the School of Life, the Idler Academy, the RSA, academic conferences and even Speaker’s Corner. Before this, I was a journalist in Russia for four years, covering the former Soviet Union for various publications.
You can contact me at jules dot evans at mac dot com