Notes on Complexity: A Buddhist Scientist on the Murmuration of Being

"You are this body, and you are these molecules, and you are these atoms, and you are these quantum entities, and you are the quantum foam, and you are the energetic field of space-time, and, ultimately, you are the fundamental awareness out of which all these emerge." | Continue reading | 3 months ago

The Poetic Science of the Ghost Pipe: Emily Dickinson and the Secret of Earth’s Most Supernatural Flower

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Albert Camus on Writing and the Importance of Stubbornness in Creative Work

“There is no greatness without a little stubbornness… Works of art are not born in flashes of inspiration but in a daily fidelity.” | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Spell Against Indifference

I was a latecomer to poetry — an art form I did not understand and, as we tend to do with what we do not understand, discounted. But under its slow seduction, I came to see how it shines a sidewise gleam on the invisible and unnameable regions of being where the truest truths dwe … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Into the Blue Beyond: William Beebe’s Dazzling Account of Becoming the First Human Being to See the Deep Ocean

“It was stranger than any imagination could have conceived… an indefinable translucent blue quite unlike anything I have ever seen in the upper world.” | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Terror, Tenderness, and the Paradoxes of Human Nature: How a Marmoset Saved Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Lives from the Nazis

The most discomposing thing about people capable of monstrous acts is that they too enjoy art, they too read to their children, they too can be moved to tears by music. The dissident poet Joseph Brodsky captured this as he contemplated the greatest antidote to evil, observing tha … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Doris: A Watercolor Serenade to the Courage of Authenticity and the Art of Connection

“There is no insurmountable solitude,” Pablo Neruda asserted in his stirring Nobel Prize acceptance speech. “All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the en … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Bertrand Russell on the Salve for Our Modern Helplessness and Overwhelm

“A way of life cannot be successful so long as it is a mere intellectual conviction. It must be deeply felt, deeply believed, dominant even in dreams.” | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Little Black Hole: A Tender Cosmic Fable About How to Live with Loss

Right this minute, people are making plans, making promises and poems, while at the center of our galaxy a black hole with the mass of four billion suns screams its open-mouth kiss of oblivion. Someday it will swallow every atom that ever touched us and every datum we ever produc … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

What Rises from the Ruins: Katherine Anne Porter on the Power of the Artist and the Function of Art in Human Life

“We understand very little of what is happening to us at any given moment.” | Continue reading | 3 months ago

The Human Scale: Oliver Sacks on How to Save Humanity from Itself

“…or there will be genocide, atomic bombs, and we’ll all perish and take the planet with us.” | Continue reading | 3 months ago

The Porcupine Dilemma: Schopenhauer’s Parable about Negotiating the Optimal Distance in Love

This is the supreme challenge of intimacy — how to reconcile the aching yearning for closeness with the painful pressures of actually being close, how to forge a bond tight enough to feel the warmth of connection but spacious enough to feel free. Kahlil Gibran knew this when he c … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Excellent Advice for Living: Kevin Kelly’s Life-Tested Wisdom He Wished He Knew Earlier

“The chief prevention against getting old is to remain astonished.” | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The Ant, the Grasshopper, and the Antidote to the Cult of More: A Lovely Vintage Illustrated Poem About the Meaning and Measure of Enough

“Enough is so vast a sweetness, I suppose it never occurs, only pathetic counterfeits,” Emily Dickinson lamented in a love letter. In his splendid short poem about the secret of happiness, Kurt Vonnegut exposed the taproot of our modern suffering as the gnawing sense that what we … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Simone Weil on Love and Its Counterfeit

How to tell a plaything from a necessity. | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The Donkey and the Meaning of Eternity: Nobel-Winning Spanish Poet Juan Ramón Jiménez’s Love Letter to Life

"Come with me. I'll teach you the flowers and the stars." | Continue reading | 4 months ago

How to Say Goodbye: An Illustrated Field Guide to Accompanying a Loved One at the End of Life

“If you don’t know what to say, start by saying that… That opens things up.” | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Make Yourself a Seer: The Teenage Arthur Rimbaud on How to Be a Poet and a Prophet of Possibility

“The day of a single universal language will dawn!… This language will be of the soul, for the soul, encompassing everything, scents, sounds, colors, one thought mounting another.”… | Continue reading | 4 months ago

“Little Women” Author Louisa May Alcott on the Creative Rewards of Being Single

“Liberty is a better husband than love.” | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The Wondrous Birds of the Himalayas and the Forgotten Victorian Woman Whose Illustrations Rewilded the Western Imagination

Bridging Blake and Darwin with a single-hair brush. | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Love’s Work: Philosopher Gillian Rose on the Value of Getting It Wrong

"You may be weaker than the whole world but you are always stronger than yourself. Let me send my power against my power... Let me discover what it is that I want and fear from love. Power and love, might and grace." | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Bunny & Tree: A Tender Wordless Parable of Friendship and the Improbable Saviors That Make Life Livable

Traversing the landscape of life on the wings of trust. | Continue reading | 4 months ago

How to Be Animal: An Antidote to Our Self-Expatriation from Nature

How to embrace our inheritance as “a creature of organic substance and electricity that can be eaten, injured and dissipated back into the enigmatic physics of the universe.” | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The Power of Being a Heretic: The Forgotten Visionary Jane Ellen Harrison on Critical Thinking, Emotional Imagination, and How to Rehumanize the World

"If we are to be true and worthy heretics, we need not only new heads, but new hearts, and, most of all, that new emotional imagination... begotten of enlarged sympathies and a more sensitive habit of feeling." | Continue reading | 4 months ago

How to Be More Alive: Hermann Hesse on Wonder and the Proper Aim of Education

“While wandering down the path of wonder, I briefly escape the world of separation and enter the world of unity.” | Continue reading | 4 months ago

How People Change: Psychoanalyst Allen Wheelis on the Essence of Freedom and the Two Elements of Self-Transcendence

“We create ourselves. The sequence is suffering, insight, will, action, change.” | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Look Up: The Illustrated Story of Astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, Who Laid the Groundwork for Measuring the Universe

How a brilliant woman rose against the tide of her time to fathom the mysteries of space. | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Fox and Bear: A Tender Modern Fable About Reversing the Anthropocene, Illustrated in Cut-Cardboard Dioramas

An antidote to the civilizational compulsions that rob human nature of nature. | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Reason and Emotion: Scottish Philosopher John Macmurray on the Key to Wholeness and the Fundaments of a Fulfilling Life

"The emotional life is not simply a part or an aspect of human life. It is not, as we so often think, subordinate, or subsidiary to the mind. It is the core and essence of human life. The intellect arises out of it, is rooted in it, draws its nourishment and sustenance from it." | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The Work of Happiness: May Sarton’s Stunning Poem About Being at Home in Yourself

“What is happiness but growth in peace.” | Continue reading | 5 months ago

A Shelter in Time: John Berger on the Power of Music

“Songs are like rivers: each follows its own course, yet all flow to the sea, from which everything came.” | Continue reading | 5 months ago

Archives of Joy: Reflections on Animals and the Nature of Being

An invitation to “a certain, forgotten way of seeing the world” and an exultation at “earthly life, with its duration so short it obliges us to surpass ourselves.” | Continue reading | 5 months ago

An Antidote to the Anxiety About Imperfection: Parenting Advice from Mister Rogers

“It’s part of being human to fall short of that total acceptance and ultimate understanding — and often far short.” | Continue reading | 5 months ago

Wonder-Sighting on Planet Earth: The Space Telescope Eye of the Scallop

Inside Earth’s most alien vision. | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The Experience Machine: Cognitive Philosopher Andy Clark on the Power of Expectation and How the Mind Renders Reality

"We are never simply seeing what’s 'really there,' stripped bare of our own anticipations or insulated from our own past experiences. Instead, all human experience is part phantom — the product of deep-set predictions." | Continue reading | 5 months ago

Between Matter and Spirit: Psychoanalyst Allen Wheelis on the Substance of What We Are

“We are carriers of spirit… into a future unknown, unknowable, and in continual creation.” | Continue reading | 5 months ago

Everything Is Already There: Javier Marías on the Courage to Heed Your Intuitions

“This has nothing to do with premonitions, there is nothing supernatural or mysterious about it, what’s mysterious is that we pay no heed to it.” | Continue reading | 5 months ago

A Victorian Visionary’s Prescient Case for Animal Rights and Vegetarianism

“Once upon a time your fore-fathers made no scruple about not only killing, but also eating their relations.” | Continue reading | 5 months ago

Kierkegaard on the Value of Despair

“To despair over oneself, in despair to want to be rid of oneself, is the formula for all despair.” | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The Universe and the Soul: Richard Jefferies on Nature as Prayer for Presence

How to grow “absorbed into the being or existence of the universe.” | Continue reading | 5 months ago

A Taste of How It Feels to Be Free: Pioneering Psychoanalyst Karen Horney on Our Inner Conflicts, the Psychology of Hopelessness, and the Path to Wholeness

"The most comprehensive formulation of therapeutic goals is the striving for wholeheartedness: to be without pretense, to be emotionally sincere, to be able to put the whole of oneself into one’s feelings, one’s work, one’s beliefs. It can be approximated only to the extent that … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

The Poetry of Reality: Robert Louis Stevenson on What Makes Life Worth Living

“The true realism, always and everywhere, is that of the poets: to find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing.” | Continue reading | 5 months ago

William James on the Most Vital Understanding for Successful Relationships

“Neither the whole of truth nor the whole of good is revealed to any single observer.” | Continue reading | 5 months ago

Enchantment and the Courage of Joy: René Magritte on the Antidote to the Banality of Pessimism

“Life is wasted when we make it more terrifying, precisely because it is so easy to do so.” | Continue reading | 6 months ago

How the Octopus Came to Earth: Stunning 19th-Century French Chromolithographs of Cephalopods

The art-science that captured the wonder of some of “the most brilliant productions of Nature.” | Continue reading | 6 months ago

Some Thoughts about the Ocean and the Universe

How to bear the gravity of being. | Continue reading | 6 months ago

Wholeness and the Implicate Order: Physicist David Bohm on Bridging Consciousness and Reality

How to “include everything coherently and harmoniously in an overall whole that is undivided, unbroken, and without a border.” | Continue reading | 6 months ago

The Challenge of Closeness: Alain de Botton on Love, Vulnerability, and the Paradox of Avoidance

The psychological machinery of our commonest coping mechanism for the terror of hurt, rejection, and abandonment. | Continue reading | 6 months ago