'What do you do from morning to night?' 'I endure myself.'
While working on a text about Indigenous Peoples, I stumbled upon this great insight into the characteristics of our modern life, which we tend to regard as superior to the 'less civilized' societies: Again, mentally, is not our condition most unsatisfactory? I am ... alluding ...to the strange sense of mental unrest which marks our … Continue reading A Mental Unrest of Getting More and Going Somewhere Else
When it comes to being wrong we all agree that human nature is not infallible, that we all make mistakes, that perfection is unattainable. However, says Kathryn Schulz in her Ted Talk On being wrong, “when it comes down to me, right now, to all the beliefs I hold, here in the present tense, suddenly … Continue reading The miracle of your mind isn’t that you can see the world as it is; it’s that you can see the world as it isn’t.
We all believe in what we call our 'real self', the one that stays with us notwithstanding changes we experience throughout life. We find comfort in the idea that our true self is a permanent thing and is always there for us to offer stability in life's unstable and chaotic order of things. It really … Continue reading Your Self Is Not Permanent
I have discovered by chance a recording of a beautiful exchange of ideas and perspectives on storytelling between John Berger and Susan Sontag on Youtube. Their take on storytelling is especially fascinating because of the relation they have with it - both of them are writers of fiction. Thus, we get perspectives on storytelling which … Continue reading Is there more universality or more particularity in storytelling?
Every time we look at ourselves in the mirror we believe we see our (one) self. We are confident that the ‘I’ is real and only one, regardless of the time and place. However, what science says is that this sense of our self is an illusion. Psychologist Susan Blackmore states that illusion in this … Continue reading I am what I think that you think I am
“Despite the fact that we are now healthier and grow to be older, despite the fact that even the least affluent among us are surrounded by material luxuries undreamed of even a few decades ago, and regardless of all the stupendous scientific knowledge we can summon at will, people often end up feeling that their … Continue reading Happiness is having control over one’s inner life
Shankar Vedantam, the host of one of the greatest podcasts out there, Hidden Brain, is talking in this podcast to psychologist Daniel Gilbert about how bad people are at making predictions about their future and how this goes hand in hand with the way we make decisions. Human beings are the only animals that think … Continue reading You think you’re utterly unique? Well, nonsense.
We all know how the story of love is supposed to go: you meet your soulmate, you fall in love and love triumphs over all difficulties – it is fate. This story is so ingrained in us that we’ve come to believe this is the only way love life ought to go. Philosopher and author … Continue reading Love is a process of education
He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. Nietzsche What’s a well-lived life? Is it one pursuing pleasure or is it one pursuing self-betterment through struggle and hardships? The first is of course easy, but it is the latter which is most fulfilling and satisfying. Or at least that’s what … Continue reading The road to character is paved with self-confrontations
Jean-Paul Sartre believed that one of the problems of our time is bad faith - mauvaise fois –representing the lie we tell ourselves in order to spare ourselves short-term pain. This ultimately leads to a long-term psychological impoverishment. It also represents the instilled belief that we have no choice, that we do not have other … Continue reading Sartre on Bad Faith
Introspection – a highly pervasive phenomenon today – has rather become a cause of depression and misery providing contrary results than originally intended. The more you look inside yourself, the more you lose touch with reality and human relationships. The self-help industry, a phenomenon of the 20th century, has been trying to urge everyone to … Continue reading Step outside yourself for a happy you
The Madness of Sincerity — a 1997 documentary revisits Albert Camus’ Life and Work. It is Camus’ “madness of sincerity” that produced the invaluable works like The Stranger, The Plague, The Rebel, The First Man, The Outsider, and The Fall. Handsome, mysterious, irrepressible, with a great thirst for liberty, Albert Camus faced the discomfort, thrill, … Continue reading A life without ultimate meaning can be made worth living
The existentialist Jean Paul Sartre believes that humans live in eternal anguish, not because life is terrible but rather because we are condemned to be free. We are thrown into existence, become aware of ourselves and have to make choices. Even deciding not to choose is a choice – every choice we make reveals what … Continue reading What does it mean to be me?
A Gift by Denise Levertov Just when you seem to yourself nothing but a flimsy web of questions, you are given the questions of others to hold in the emptiness of your hands, songbird eggs that can still hatch if you keep them warm, butterflies opening and closing themselves in your cupped palms, trusting you … Continue reading Good questions evoke that which is deepest and truest in us
What does it mean to lead a good life – intellectually, creatively and spiritually? “We never see the world exactly as it is, we see it as we hope it will be or we fear it might be and we spend our lives going through a sort of modified stages of grief about that realization. … Continue reading Meaning in a Digital World
One of humans’ perplexing conditions is that they are victims of both fear and need of isolation. We can only think deeply by being alone. History can show us how dictatorships used keeping people together in crowds and limiting their chances of private space as tools to prevent them from thinking and rebelling. And yet, … Continue reading We are not helpless, we are undecided
One thing we can all be sure of is that we will die. It is one of the scariest and most unpleasant things we humans have to deal with and we come up with all kinds of ideas which can trick us into thinking that death is nothing more than a passing into another world … Continue reading Death is a natural part of life
Lindsay Beyerstein talks on Point of Inquiry with Greta Christina about coping with death and our own mortality in her recent book “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do With God.” We live in a death-denying society; we tend to avoid talking and thinking about our temporary stay on earth mainly because it is a kind of … Continue reading ‘Things don’t have to be permanent to be meaningful’
We all believe in what we call our 'real self', the one that stays with us notwithstanding changes we experience throughout life. We find comfort in the idea that our true self is a permanent thing and is always there for us to offer stability in life's unstable and chaotic order of things. It really … Continue reading Your true self is partly discovered and partly created