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The Nature of the Self: Experimental Philosopher Joshua Knobe on How We Know Who We Are

<i>“The fate of the world depends on the Selves of human beings,”</i> pioneering educator Annemarie Roeper wrote in her meditation on how poorly we understand the self. Indeed, while philosophers may argue that the self is a toxic illusion and psychologists may insist that it’s forever changing, we tend …

Mark Twain on Masturbation

In 1879, 44-year-old <b>Mark Twain</b> — irreverent adviser of little girls, pointed critic of the press, recipient of some outrageous requests from his fans — took the podium at a men’s club in Paris and delivered a lecture titled “Some Thoughts on the Science of Onanism,” onanism being masturbation, …

Conformity and the Instinct of Rebellion: Norman Mailer Channels His Departed Friend, the Pioneering Psychologist Robert Lindner

On February 27, 1956, the prolific writer and pioneering psychologist <b>Robert Lindner</b> — best-known for his 1944 book <i>Rebel Without A Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath</i>, from which the famous 1955 starring James Dean borrowed its title — died of a chronic heart condition at the age of …

Advice from Artists on How to Overcome Creative Block, Handle Criticism, and Nurture Your Sense of Self-Worth

<i>“Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work,”</i> Chuck Close scoffed. <i>“A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood,”</i> Tchaikovsky admonished. <i>“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too,”</i> Isabel Allende …

A Solitary World: A Breathtaking Homage to H.G. Wells from a New Genre of Cinematic Poetry

From my friends at PBS Digital Studios and filmmaker James W. Griffiths comes <b>A Solitary World</b> — a breathtaking homage to <b>H.G. Wells</b>, with text adapted from five of his most celebrated works: <i>The Time Machine</i> (1895), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The First Men in the Moon (1901), In The Days of the …

Brian Eno’s Reading List of Twenty Books Essential for Sustaining Human Civilization

<i>UPDATE: The folks from the Long Now have kindly asked me to contribute to the Manual for Civilization library — here is my own reading list.</i><p>There is something inescapably alluring about the reading lists of cultural icons, perhaps because in recognizing that creativity is combinatorial and fueled …