Life Worth Living

The Life Worth Living Program is an effort to revive critical discussion in universities and the broader culture about the most important question of our lives: What is a life worth living?

Today, more than at any previous time in history, the question of the good life—what makes for a flourishing life—is a pressing one. This question once came pre-answered—by culture, by religion, by tradition—but these days, we each have to ask and answer for ourselves: What is the good life? What does it mean to live a flourishing life? These are difficult questions that require intellectual muscles we’ve long let atrophy; we need one another’s help to ask and answer them well.
The Life Worth Living Program exists to revive critical discussion about this most important question. Through our annual course, student fellows program, and campus events we aim to facilitate conversation across important and enduring lines of difference on questions of meaning and purpose.
Yale College Course
HUMS 411, “Life Worth Living,” draws upon a range of philosophical and religious traditions to help students develop habits of reflection that will equip them for the life-long process of discerning the good life. In addition to seminar readings from the foundational texts of each tradition, the course engages guest practitioners of the various religious traditions examined and offers a weekend retreat that invites students to reflect on their own worldview and approach to the questions under consideration. Since the inaugural seminar in 2014, the class has been taught by Miroslav Volf, Ryan Mc-Annally-Linz, and Matt Croasmun. A course syllabus is available here. Readings and other materials for a number of the traditions examined in the course are available along with the profiles of each tradition’s guest practitioners.
Student response to the course has been phenomenal. Below, students from the inaugural seminar reflect on their experience: