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The Day Dostoyevsky Discovered the Meaning of Life in a Dream

One November night in the 1870s, legendary Russian writer <b>Fyodor Dostoyevsky</b> (November 11, 1821–February 9, 1881) discovered the meaning of life in a dream — or, at least, the protagonist in his final short story did. The piece, which first appeared in the altogether revelatory <b>A Writer’s Diary</b></i> …

Neuroscientist Sam Harris on Happiness, Spirituality Without Religion, and How to Cultivate the Art of Presence

Nietzsche’s famous proclamation that “God is dead” is among modern history’s most oft-cited aphorisms, and yet as is often the case with its ilk, such quotations often miss the broader context in a way that bespeaks the lazy reductionism with which we tend to approach questions of spirituality …

Alice in Quantumland: A Charming Illustrated Allegory of Quantum Mechanics by a CERN Physicist

As a lover of science and of all things <i>Alice in Wonderland</i>, imagine my delight at discovering <b>Alice in Quantumland: An Allegory of Quantum Physics</b> (<i>public library</i>) — an imaginative and unusual 1995 quantum primer by particle physicist <b>Robert Gilmore</b>, who has under his belt experience at Stanford and …

The Ego and the Universe: Alan Watts on Becoming Who You Really Are

During the 1950s and 1960s, British philosopher and writer <b>Alan Watts</b> began popularizing Eastern philosophy in the West, offering a wholly different perspective on inner wholeness in the age of anxiety and what it really means to live a life of purpose. We owe much of today’s mainstream adoption of …

Oscar Wilde on Art and Cultivating the Crucial Temperament of Receptivity

<b>Oscar Wilde</b> (October 16, 1854–November 30, 1900) may have been the twentieth century’s first and most tragic pop celebrity, and a masterful writer of love letters, but he was also a poignant observer of culture and custodian of the creative spirit. His 1891 essay <b>The Soul of Man Under Socialism</b></i> …

Godliness in the Known and the Unknowable: Alan Lightman on Science and Spirituality

<i>“If we ever reach the point where we think we thoroughly understand who we are and where we came from,”</i> Carl Sagan wrote in his timeless meditation on science and religion, <i>“we will have failed.”</i> It’s a sentiment that dismisses in one fell Saganesque swoop both the blind dogmatism of religion and …

An Antidote to the Age of Anxiety: Alan Watts on Happiness and How to Live with Presence

<i>“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,”</i> Annie Dillard wrote in her timeless reflection on presence over productivity — a timely antidote to the central anxiety of our productivity-obsessed age. Indeed, my own New Year’s resolution has been to stop measuring my days by degree …

The Universe in a Glass of Wine: Richard Feynman on How Everything Connects, Animated

In 1961, Caltech took a leap of faith and invited Richard Feynman — champion of scientific culture, graphic novel hero, crusader for integrity, holder of the key to science — to teach the introductory course in physics. At the time, Feynman was a theoretical physicist with no particular interest in …

J.R.R. Tolkien on Fairy Tales, Language, the Psychology of Fantasy, and Why There’s No Such Thing as Writing “For Children”

<i>“I do not believe that I have ever written a children’s book,”</i> the great Maurice Sendak once said in an interview. <i>“I don’t write for children,”</i> he told Colbert. <i>“I write — and somebody says, ‘That’s for children!’”</i> This sentiment — the idea that designating certain types of literature as …

The 13 Best Science and Technology Books of 2013

On the heels of the year’s best reads in psychology and philosophy, art and design, history and biography, and children’s books, the season’s subjective selection of best-of reading lists continues with the finest science and technology books of 2013. (For more timeless stimulation, revisit the …

Religion vs. Humanism: Isaac Asimov on Science and Spirituality

Science and religion have a long history of friction as diametric opposites. But some of humanity’s greatest minds have found in science itself a rich source of spirituality, from Albert Einstein’s meditation on whether scientists pray to Richard Feynman’s ode to the universe to Carl Sagan on the …

How the Universe Was Born: An Animated Explanation from CERN

The question of why the world exists has not only puzzled some of history’s greatest minds but has also, at one point or another, occurred to just about every human being. And yet the more we learn, the more we understand how little we actually know: The Big Bang, for instance, turns out to have …

Carl Sagan on Science and Spirituality

The friction between science and religion stretches from Galileo’s famous letter to today’s leading thinkers. And yet we’re seeing that, for all its capacity for ignorance, religion might have some valuable lessons for secular thought and the two need not be regarded as opposites.<p>In 1996, mere …

Be All Your Selves: Joss Whedon’s 2013 Wesleyan Commencement Address on Embracing Our Inner Contradictions

On the heels of this season’s finest commencement addresses — including Debbie Millman on courage and the creative life, Greil Marcus on the artificial divide between “high” and “low” culture, and Arianna Huffington on redefining success — comes screenwriter, producer, composer, and actor <b>Joss …

If you read one thing today, make it Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson's timeless advice on creative integrity and life: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/05/20/bill-watterson-1990-kenyon-speech/

Explaining Complicated Philosophies With Gorgeously Simple Postcards

Author: Valentina Palladino. Valentina Palladino Design<p>Date of Publication: 05.06.13.<p>Time of Publication: 9:30 am. 9:30 am<p>Try to explain any …

Graphic Design

Can Science Lead to Faith?

The relationship between science and religion has always been vexed. Most scientists I know are nonbelievers, convinced that there is no deity, or at least that there is no convincing evidence of one. Even those who are believers, like Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, …

The Difference Between Curiosity and Wonder and How It Shaped the Science vs. Scripture Divide

<i>“The important thing is not to stop questioning… Never lose holy curiosity,”</i> Albert Einstein counseled in 1955. Iconic science fiction writer Isaac Asimov has hailed curiosity as the key to discovery. Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of the greatest scientific minds of our time, has proclaimed it central …