More discourse than lecture, these presentations offer you the opportunity to engage with the subject matter, question and discuss with like minded people. Join the discovery of practical wisdom and how it could be applied in daily life. (Limited to 20 attendees). 


Sat 15 February
Being Happy
Peter Stoddart
Sat 7 March
Dialectic :
Discourse that uplifts and enlightens
Marita Brewster
Sat 28 March
Who's really in charge?
Michael Smith

“How do I make better choices?” 

If it’s choice, not chance that determines our destiny, what destiny are you choosing?

The decisions that we make moment by moment, day by day, are steering a course for our lives. So are we fully awake or asleep at the helm? By understanding the nature of the choices we make and the way in which we make them, we can begin to steer a more conscious path for our lives.

This workshop will provide you with practical skills for making better choices. 

Being Happy

Saturday 15th February 2020 10.00 am -12 noon. 

It is human nature that we tend to pursue happiness and seek to leave unhappiness behind. Actually, we can spend a lot of time and energy seeking happiness, often with limited success. The unexpected events of life can also overwhelm us, leaving us feeling small and miserable. Could it be that we are seeking our happiness in the wrong manner, or in the wrong place? Traditional wisdom tell us that true, lasting happiness is to be found within our being and is part of our true nature. It is unaffected by the fortunes or mis-fortunes which we inevitably experience as ‘my life’. This presentation will look at the advice of various philosophers on the pursuit of happiness and pose the question “What do I need to do to achieve lasting happiness?”

Presented by Peter Stoddart.

Peter is now retired but spent his working life in the management of Victoria’s public lands, Forests and Parks, including a senior role in fire management. He has attended the School of Philosophy for 27 years and was a tutor for around 20 years. He has learnt from experience that happiness does indeed come from within.

Dialectic – Discourse that Uplifts and Enlightens

Saturday 7th March 2020 10.00 am -12 noon. 

How many of our waking hours are spent in conversation?  How much of that conversation is uplifting and enlightening?  How might that proportion be increased?  The art of discourse or conversation is one that can be greatly improved with guidance and practice.  In this session we will learn some basic principles that we can follow and we will also gain some practice that will help us to spot the pitfalls that can so easily hinder the development of an uplifting discussion. 

Presented by Marita Brewster.

Marita Brewster is a foundation member of the School of Philosophy in Melbourne and has studied and tutored philosophical concepts for over 40 years. She leads the Plato faculty in the School, and facilitates seminars in Platonic philosophy in Australia and abroad. She is head of Philosophy Development at the Erasmus Primary School.

Who's really in charge?

Saturday 28th March 10.00 am - 12 noon


An exploration into, and a perspective on, the perplexing range of influences, expectations, opinions, desires, goals, environmental and cultural factors - amongst many - which appear to drive if not govern our everyday existence, leaving us rundown and frustrated with barely enough energy to get through another day. Is that all there is and is this how it’s meant to be?  Just what is going on and is there another way which can result in a more enjoyable and effective life? Drawing on present day and older insights and  wisdom, we’ll see if we can open up a window to  a more fruitful life.

Presented by Michael Smith.

Michael is a recently retired commercial lawyer who was at one time the Managing Partner of a city law firm with over 120 staff. Practising mainly in contract and business law, Michael provided advice to businesses of all sizes ranging from a major Australian bank to small and medium businesses with a practice also in sports and entertainment law. In recent years, he was the in-house lawyer at an inner city Council. A tutor and student of Philosophy, Michael also has a special interest in Plato and what Plato can tell us about life’s purpose and how to navigate it.


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