Wild with Sarah Wilson


KIERAN SETIYA: How to love living a hard life

Ep. 69

Life is hard. And yet so much of contemporary life compels us to fight this fundamental reality. We are meant to be happy! We are meant to live our best, most #blissful, potential-stacked life! But I talk with Kieran Setiya, a professor of philosophy at MIT, who argues we should #NotLiveOurBestLife. It’s better to aspire to a life that is, well, good enough. Kieran has appeared on Sam Harris’ podcast, written for the New York Times, the London Review of Books etc bringing a philosophical argument to pop issues such as the Dave Chapelle quandary, baseball and the worth of having a midlife crises.  In his latest book, Life is Hard, he draws on Aristotle, Wittgenstein, and Simone Weil - as well as Groundhog Day and Joan Didion – to guide us to a good life, which entails embracing pain and hardship. In this chat we cover: How to make friends; what if the whole world turned sterile; the beauty of chronic pain and Kieran’s thesis for “the meaning of life” (it’s a cracker, and it’s not 42!).

Grab Kieran’s book Life Is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way

Read some of his essays and connect with him via his website

He mentions he came across Wild via this interview with Katherine May 


If you need to know a bit more about me… head to my "about" page. 

Subscribe to my Substack newsletter for more such conversation. 

Get your copy of my book, This One Wild and Precious Life 

Let’s connect on Instagram! It’s where I interact the most. 

More Episodes


MARGARET ATWOOD: The Doyenne of Dystopia turns to creating climate utopias

Ep. 87
Margaret Atwood is best known for her mega-bestselling dystopian fiction, including the Booker Prize-winning novels “The Blind Assassin” and “The Testaments”, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and, most recently, the essay collection “Burning Questions”. The Canadian firebrand imagines future societies, specifically the worst scenarios in these future societies, worlds of genetic modification, pharmaceutical and corporate control, human-made disasters and theocracies where women’s bodies are controlled by capitalist overlords. And this is the thing – her dark fantasies have a horrifying habit of coming true, Exhibit A: “The Handmaid’s Tale”, a portent for the new abortion laws in the US, the erosion of American democracy, even the January 6 insurrection.However, at age 83 Margaret, dubbed “the prophet of dystopia”, is turning her vibrancy and wild care to creating… utopias. Or rather, she is trying to find a way to save the world via an online program where participants work with experts to develop solutions to all the wicked problems we’ve created. Today we discuss how the subordination of women and theocracies follow particular economic cycles, why she’s not quitting Twitter (yet) and what hope will need to look like. We mention Rebecca Solnit’s book Hope in the Dark and Paul Hawken's book Drawdown, as well as Martha Gellhorn: A LifeFollow Margaret on SubstackCheck out Practical Utopias here

HELEN LEWIS: On slaying Jordan Peterson + declining Andrew Tate

Ep. 86
Helen Lewis (internet famous for her GQ interview with Jordan Peterson, pop culture expert) is a British journalist, BBC broadcaster and currently a staff writer for Atlantic magazine. Her work covers the rise of TikTok tics in teenagers, Harry-and-Meghan, Andrew Tate, the absurdities of US and UK politics…you know, all the chunky bits of life in 2023. She also wrote the best bestseller Difficult Women, A History of Feminism in 11 Fights and just released the BBC podcast series The New Gurus. However, Helen is probably best known for her 2018 GQ interview with Jordan Peterson, the controversial Canadian psychologist and messiah of the manosphere (the video version has been viewed 60 million times).My conversation with Helen was fast and intense and we cover the IDW, Andrew Tate (she declined an invitation to debate him), tactics for arguing with Galaxy Brains and why we don’t use pronouns in our bios. This episode is extra-long because Helen’s riff is that good.**BONUS ** Join Helen and I over at my Substack, (this is precious) as we talk through our tips for remaining sane amid the noise – a productivity tip, a writing tip, two podcasts, two Substack follows, the book to read and the journalist to follow. Available only on Substack, Friday 3rd March.Subscribe to Helen’s Substack The Bluestocking – it's a good place to follow her writing and projectsThe New Gurus series can be downloaded here