Archives

Sensitivity

When done well, philosophy does two things: it shows how two similar things are actually rather different, and it shows how two different things are actually rather similar. This is an essay about the second class of philosophy. We generally think of cooking, gardening, dancing, painting, building, parenting, and writing as having nothing in common. […]

Read More

Space

We tend to romanticise willpower, believing that if we simply try harder, focus more intently, or exert ourselves a little more, then we will reach our goal. While this may sometimes be true, it remains an incomplete picture, and therefore, an untruth. Exercising willpower will lead in two radically different directions: This is not as […]

Read More

Beyond Small Talk

Seen for what it is, small talk is imprisonment of false bonhomie and an utter failure of communication. But, seen for what it could be, small talk is an opportunity to step beyond the banal and into the deepest and most intimate realms of another’s mind. But such an imperative can be overwhelmingly intimidating. As […]

Read More

Meaningful Work

If you had asked a serf 400 years ago if they found their work fulfilling, they would have looked at you in confusion; the necessity of work was absolute, the type of work was non-negotiable, and toil was considered a part of the process; a type of thinking which backgrounded Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic […]

Read More

A Blank Page

For writers (including yours truly), a blank page can be terrifying, even debilitating. Signalling a potential waiting to be realised, it is likewise unlimited potential, potential without direction; any decision taken closes down others which could have been made in its stead. To the extent that a blank page signals absolute freedom, it likewise signals […]

Read More

You’re Not Normal

Looking in the mirror, you probably say to yourself in particularly self-hating moments that you aren’t normal. Everyone else seems able to hold down a job, maintain emotional equilibrium, and manage healthy relationships; it is you, and you alone, who are singularly cursed to abnormality. If only you could change, be different, be normal… But, […]

Read More

Measure

To the Ancient Greeks, one of the essentials of the good life was keeping everything in proper measure. As a part of this, Greek tragedies portrayed man’s suffering as a result of him going beyond the proper measure of things. So did Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s noble vice was a quality in his protagonists (Othello, Romeo, Macbeth, […]

Read More

Wintering & the Turning of the Seasons of Our Lives

‘We are in the habit of imagining our lives to be linear’ writes Katherine May in her work Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times. We imagine ‘our lives to be a long march from birth to death in which we amass our powers, only to surrender them again, all the while […]

Read More

Why We Are Mean To Those We Care About

We should be nicer to those we care most about than a complete stranger. After all, these are the people who we have made an implicit promise to embrace and care for. Yet, oddly enough, this isn’t always the case. In fact, we inflict far greater malevolence, insult, and injury to those we care about […]

Read More

Friendship and Giving Good Advice

Good advice is a gift. Like any gift, it isn’t about you, but the other person. Here, this means that what matters is what helps your partner in conversation, and not your desire to be seen as wise. Tied up in this is an important recognition: good advice shouldn’t involve telling someone what to do […]

Read More