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A Parable

On a warm summer evening, the great Persian king Darius and his scribe Cyrus were walking through the palace gardens. As Cyrus was dutifully transcribing tomorrow’s tasks the king lent forward, his eye caught by a particularly striking flower. Feeling a whisper of cold air behind him, Cyrus turned, only to behold Death, his scythe […]

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The Vegetable Garden As Teacher

To live virtuously, we need look no further than the garden, for it is the most steadfast and honest of teachers. Through the act of gardening, we learn humility, patience, kindness, empathy, and commitment; but likewise receive an antidote to the vices of arrogance, impatience, selfishness and hubris. I Kneeling down in prayer in front […]

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Beyond Small Talk

Seen for what it is, small talk is an imprisonment of false bonhomie and an utter failure of communication. But, seen for what it could be, small talk can be an opportunity to step beyond the banal and everyday into the hidden terrain of another’s world. But such an imperative can be intimidating, and can […]

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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 Blank Page

A blank page can be for writers (including yours truly), both paralysing and 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 […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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