Archives

Against Planning

More than detailed attempts to trace a path from the present to the future, plans can function as psychological buffers, insulating us from the interminable flux of life. If life is a raging river, plans are stepping stones we hope will take us to the safe ground on the other side. First we’ll finish school, […]

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The Melancholy of Looking at Photos of Our Younger Selves

The process of ageing is both invisible and inexorable. The day to day changes – of hair slowly greying, skin gradually wrinkling – become apparent only across a lifetime. It is often quite striking (and even emotionally destabilising) to see photos of our younger selves and begin to grasp the physical and psychological gulf growing […]

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Melancholy of a Flower

You’re laying on the grass feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin. Nearby bees hum happily. You take hold of a daisy, clasping its delicate stem between your fingers, plucking it asunder before placing it upon the pages of your open book. You sit in admiration. Only the most thoughtful deity could have […]

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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. […]

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Meditations on Ouroboros

I Like the dog chasing its own tail, Ouroboros has forgotten a part belonging to himself. There is a split, a splinter separating the head (mind) and tail (body), and this split manifests in many diverse yet similar ways. Think of our chemically enhanced foods which stimulate the mind but malnourish the body, or cigarettes […]

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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 […]

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A Tale of Two Flowers

Two seeds carried on the back of a strong wind were cast into a garden. One seed fell into a sunny bed of soil, which was judiciously cared for by the gardener who lived on the land. The second seed slipped through the cracks of the concrete upon which the gardener walked. The first seed […]

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The More Loving One

Looking up at the stars, I know quite wellThat, for all they care, I can go to hell,But on earth indifference is the leastWe have to dread from man or beast. How should we like it were stars to burnWith a passion for us we could not return?If equal affection cannot be,Let the more loving […]

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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, […]

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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, […]

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