Getting college students to ask what makes life worth living

At Yale, classrooms full of future doctors, lawyers, and hedge fund managers are contemplating the good life.

“It seems a little dramatic to say that the class altered my life, but some days that’s how it feels,” said Alina Lale Yaman. “It opened me to the idea of a life lived with intention.”

“I don’t think there is any other class at the school that grapples with the fundamental questions: What do you want in life, and is that worth wanting?” commented C. J. Fowler. “It’s sad there aren’t more sections of this class at this school, where it seems everybody has bought into the existing paradigm of success: go into consulting, make a lot of money.”

“It’s different to read great texts with a sincere desire to answer the great questions of life rather than hunting the pages for an argument to prove your intellectual prowess,” said Beatrice Beressi. “The stakes of the class felt far greater than any I had taken. We were asking questions about how we live every day and why we are doing it.”