ICONOCLAST ATHEIST

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The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time

How the debris of a landmark disagreement became the foundation of our present ideas about the fabric of existence.<p><i>“It is the insertion of man with his limited life span that transforms the continuously flowing stream of sheer change … into time as we know it,”</i> Hannah Arendt wrote in her brilliant …

A 15-minute online quiz can give you a scientifically accurate assessment of your personality

But there are indeed differences between people that can be tested.<p>One of the most common, preferred ways psychologists use to measure personality is what's called the "Big Five": extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience.<p>(Want to skip to the quiz? …

The Science of Why We Cry and the Three Types of Tears

What stress hormones have to do with the social machinery of sympathy.<p><i>“If you need to cry you should cry,”</i> Maira Kalman wrote in her marvelous philosophical children’s book. But what is it, exactly, that makes us need to cry and are all tears created equal? That’s what the TED-Ed team explores in …

Margaret Mead’s Beautiful Letter of Advice to Her Younger Sister on Starting a Family in an Uncertain World

In praise of “living more intensely and doing better work” whatever life may throw your way.<p><i>“All things are so very uncertain, and that’s exactly what makes me feel reassured,”</i> beloved children’s book author and artist Tove Jansson wrote in her marvelous parable of uncertainty and self-reliance. …

Literature

The Strange Note at Lucy Maud Montgomery's Bedside

By Sadie Stein November 30, 2015<p>Our Daily Correspondent<p>Lucy Maud Montgomery. Photo: KindredSpiritMichael<p>Should you visit Google today, you’ll find that the daily “doodle” commemorates the birthday of Lucy Maud Montgomery, born November 30, 1874. The animation portrays Montgomery’s most famous …

Thomas Wolfe on Ambition, Gratitude, and the True Measure of Success, in Letters to His Mother

“It is not all bad, but it is not all good, it is not all ugly, but it is not all beautiful, it is life, life, life — the only thing that matters.”<p><i>“Does what goes on inside show on the outside?”</i> Van Gogh wrote to his brother in contemplating how ambition is transmuted into art, adding wistfully:</i> …

Steve McCurry's Photographs Of His Travels Will Give You The Chills

"My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport."<p><i>"Most of my photos are grounded in people. I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person's face." -- Steve McCurry</i><p>Photographer Steve McCurry has been traveling …

5 Reasons 'Just Be Yourself' Is Terrible Dating Advice

"Just be yourself" might be the most common advice given to anyone who's nervous about going on a date. And I get it, it really might feel like an encouraging thing to say. The underlying meaning is, "I think you're awesome just the way you are, and others will, too." That's great, and the person …

Tchaikovsky on Depression and Finding Beauty Amid the Wreckage of the Soul

“Life is beautiful in spite of everything! … There are many thorns, but the roses are there too.”<p><i>“An artist needs a certain amount of turmoil and confusion,”</i> Joni Mitchell once told an interviewer. Indeed, the history of the arts is the history of the complex relationship between creativity and …

James Baldwin and Margaret Mead on Religion

“If any particular discipline … does not become a matter of your personal honor, your private convictions, then it’s simply a cloak which you can wear or throw off.”<p><i>NOTE: This is the fifth installment in a multi-part series covering Mead and Baldwin’s historic conversation. Part 1 focused on</i> …

Civil Rights