From opposite ends of the metaphysical spectrum, these two books deal with questions that seem of heightened importance at present: how to be happy and where to find meaning in life. The Fourfold Remedy, by the philosopher John Sellars, makes no mention of coronavirus, so had presumably gone to press when the first wave struck; The Interior Silence, by the journalist Sarah Sands, was half written when the pandemic began and has been modified accordingly. Despite these differences, the answers that their authors offer to the question of how to achieve happiness are surprisingly similar.
The Fourfold Remedy is a pocketbook introduction to the ideas of Epicurus, who founded his philosophical school in a garden just outside the walls of Athens in the late fourth century BC. The central question of ancient philosophy was how to achieve happiness. Epicurus’s answer was radical: through pleasure. Opponents