…Would thinking be enough to keep you happy?

Diogenes liked sleeping in a giant wine jar and masturbating in public, all part of his Cynicism philosophy of rejecting the conventional desires for wealth, power and fame.

Actually, it’s a lot less challenging than a naked man walking around, defecating in the theatre, polishing the bannister to make a point and urinating on people who insulted him (of which, bearing in mind his other activities, there must have been quite a few).

But does sitting and listening to some of the world’s most compelling thinkers challenge your perceptions count as a Lusso luxury or one of life’s necessities?

Sitting beside the lazy River Wye (its name itself posing an existential challenge), you can emerge from bending reality to suit your goals and ask, what if the left and right hemispheres have fundamentally different ways of understanding the world and what happens if, to go with Professor Iain McGilcrest’s talk, the left hemisphere’s detail-orientation is continually allowed to dominate, erasing the right brain’s potential to see how disparate things are actually connected?

What can we learn from someone like Fiona Hill, who was born a miner’s daughter in Durham in the 80s, and rose to become advisor on Russia to three US Presidents, until one of them mistook her for the secretary and asked her to do his typing? Not least, we can learn how to reroute after a reversal and take our career back into the most powerful office in the world.

It might initially seem like nonsense to think of life as just a game – until we see how life surrounds us with rules linked to expected rewards and then, hearing from Slavoj Žižek, we can learn to see life as a game with multiple deaths and rebirths, inspired as he is by canonical texts such as Tom and Jerry.

If you go to the philosophy (and comedy and music) festival HowTheLightGetsIn, the modern philosophers are more formally dressed and the public onanism is entirely intellectual but no less challenging.

Should the words ‘moral’ and ‘capitalism’ ever appear in the same sentence without ironicising inverted commas? Harvard professor Rebecca Henderson thinks so.

Is polyamory the answer to the high divorce rate? What’s the future of sex? Is there an overlap between spirituality and science? Is feminism inherently racist? And was Blondie’s bassist so good at keeping time because he knows it flows in more than one direction?

The 300 events of the HowTheLightGetsIn festival stretch across 4 days in Hay-on-Wye in May (which confused at least some Americans Lusso sat next to at lunch, who were wondering where all the books and authors were this year) and 2 days in London in September.

Mixed in with the radical takes on philosophy are pioneers in science, including the occasional Nobel winner, some folk, jazz and electro-dance performers and tickling a different part of your brain to the philosophers, comedy acts running late into the night.

For details and booking, visit HowTheLightGetsIn