“We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never so little scar.” “We are what we repeatedly do,” Aristotle famously proclaimed.
How the dynamics of papyrus scrolls explain Facebook. We’ve already seen that modern social media come from a long lineage of primitive predecessors — from the florilegia of the Middle Ages, which predated
“This is the greatest damn thing about the universe. That we can know so much, recognize so much, dissect, do everything, and we can’t grasp it.” More than merely one of the most memorable, prolific, disciplined
From Aries to Pisces, by way of a confused lobster. After my recent discovery of Salvador Dalí’s little-known and lovely 1947 illustrations for the essays of Montaigne — following in the heels of his illustrations
“It’s a joke to think that a film is going to mean anything if somebody else fiddles with it.” “Mindfulness meditation is essentially cognitive fitness with a humanist face,” it’s been said. And what essential
The Great Explainer reminds us that our divisions of life are artificial and arbitrary. In 1961, Caltech took a leap of faith and invited Richard Feynman (May 11, 1918–February 15, 1988) — champion of
“The confidence people have in their beliefs is not a measure of the quality of evidence but of the coherence of the story that the mind has managed to construct.” Every year, intellectual impresario Edge
A Liberal Decalogue: Bertrand Russell’s Ten Commandments of Critical Thinking and Democratic Decency
“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.” British philosopher, mathematician, historian, and social critic Bertrand Russell (May 18, 1872–February 2,
How to master the beautiful osmosis of conscious and unconscious, voluntary and involuntary, deliberate and serendipitous. In 1926, thirteen years before James Webb Young’s Technique for Producing Ideas
“The soft bonds of love are indifferent to life and death.” Science and religion have a long history of friction as diametric opposites. But some of humanity’s greatest minds have found in science itself
Dancing with yourself, how to talk to statues, and what squirrels have to do with love. UPDATE: Now available as an illustrated book. Modernity offers a curious paradox of connectedness and loneliness.
On the emotional scaffolding of the self, or how the dynamics of temperament fluctuate with social context. We’ve previously explored what it means to be human and what defines a “person.” Much of our
Aesthetic Consumerism and the Violence of Photography: What Susan Sontag Teaches Us about Visual Culture and the Social
“Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted.” Ever since its invention in 1839, the photographic image and its
“Every man has a right over his own life and war destroys lives that were full of promise.” Despite his enormous contributions to science, Albert Einstein was no reclusive genius, his ever-eager conversations
“Two hearts could provide enough energy to drive a truck around the world in two years.” Much of our inquiry into what makes us human focuses on understanding consciousness, yet we spend the whole of lives
“Man cannot stand a meaningless life.” Legendary Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (July 26, 1875–June 6, 1961), along with his frenemy Freud, is considered the founding father of modern analytical He
“Faith is the willingness to give ourselves over, at times, to things we do not fully understand… the full engagement with this strange and shimmering world.” “If we ever reach the point where we think
Brain Pickings by Maria Popova - Kirstin Butler is writing an adaptation of Gogol for the Google era called Dead SULs, but when not working spends far, far too much time on Twitter. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA.
Why Sarah Palin identifies with the grizzly bear, or what the unconscious knows but doesn’t reveal. A primary method for making sense of the world is by interpreting its symbols. We decode meaning through
Jane Goodall on Science and Spirit: The Iconic Primatologist Talks to Bill Moyers and Reads Her Poem “The Old Wisdom”
“As human beings, we can encompass a vague feeling of what the universe is, and all in this funny little brain here — so there has to be something more than just brain, it has to be something to do with