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ISQOLS Webinar: Sustainable Hedonism. A Thriving Life That Does Not Cost the Earth

  • 10 Nov 2021
  • 6:00 AM (PST)
  • Online Webinar


  • The webinar is free for all participants.

Registration is closed


Sustainable Hedonism. A Thriving Life That Does Not Cost the Earth


06:00 AM PST

09:00 AM CET

3:00 PM CET 


How could values that might seem distant, such as ecological balance and solidarity, override what is immediate, personal, and enjoyable? Why would anyone opt for minimalism in the world of maximizers? Ecologically responsible behaviour is often perceived as a loss of happiness and life quality, evoking resistance or even anger.

The idea of loss is unlikely to motivate for adjustment. A more viable path is to refine and fine-tune our relationship to joy. We need to find a life strategy that is both joyful and does no harm to oneself or to others. I call this ‘sustainable hedonism’.

Our simplified 21st century version of hedonism encourages radical hedonism, unrestrained egoist pleasure-seeking. In contrast, ancient hedonists were masters of pleasure, but with inner freedom, emphasizing that one should not become a slave to desires. Experiencing pleasure and pain is a matter of habit, and it can be learned, argues Aristotle. Self-mastery is far from being ascetic self-denial, but rather a ’golden mean’ or a ’middle way’ between self-indulgence and self-mortification, as argued by both Aristotle and the Buddha as well. According to Aristotle, pleasure and morality need to be connected. This approach invites us become better hedonists and more virtuous at the same time.

The presentation is based on Dr Lelkes’ recent book titled "Sustainable Hedonism. A Thriving Life that Does not Cost the Earth” (Bristol University Press, May 2021).

Presenter: Orsolya Lelkes

Orsolya Lelkes, PhD 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. She holds a PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics. Her current research interests include post-growth economy and society, solidarity economy, flourishing life for all, subjective well-being, participative and community-based initiatives. She is seeking ways to support societal, communal and individual transformations for a flourishing life for all, including future generations. Website:

The International Society for
Quality-of-Life Studies

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Gilbert, Arizona, 85299, USA


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