The story of the Buddha’s life, like all of Buddhism, is a
story about confronting suffering. He was born between the
sixth and fourth century B.C., the son of a wealthy king in
the Himalayan foothills of Nepal. It was prophesied that the
It seems, at first, weird that we might learn from him.
Thomas Aquinas was a medieval saint, said in moments of high
excitement to levitate and have visions of the Virgin Mary.
He was much concerned with explaining how angels speak and
Most people agree that we need to improve our economic
system somehow. It threatens our planet through excessive
consumption, distracts us with irrelevant advertising,
leaves people hungry and without healthcare, and fuels
unnecessary wars. Yet we’re also often keen to dismiss the
ideas of its...
Democracy was achieved by such a long, arduous and heroic
struggle that it can feel embarrassing – even shameful –
to feel a little disappointed by it. We know that at key
historical moments people have made profound sacrifices so
that we can, every...
We’re particularly down on people we call ‘defensive’.
They blame others for what’s probably their own fault.
They hear reasonable criticism as a cruel attack. They deny
they have a problem when they clearly do.
But, of course, we must be doing this ourselves...
Little is truly known about the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu
(sometimes also known as Laozi or Lao Tze), who is a guiding
figure in Daoism (also translated as Taoism), a still
popular spiritual practice. He is said to have been a record
Modern architecture produces truly innovative work:
glittering, staggeringly tall buildings, opera houses that
look like folded origami, even museums that look like
spaceships. However, in turning towards everything new,
architectural modernism also dogmatically left behind much
of what makes buildings lovely. The best architects of...
We tend to get pretty nervous around the idea of political
art. Some terrible things have been done in its name: it’s
encouraged fanaticism, demonised vulnerable groups and
pumped out delusional propaganda. But despite our
misgivings, our collective existence is very much in need...
The 19th-century designer, poet and entrepreneur William
Morris is one of the best guides we have to the modern
economy – despite the fact that he died in 1896 (while
Queen Victoria was still on the throne), never made a
telephone call and would...
Among our deepest and seemingly most natural aspirations is
the longing to form stable, satisfying relationships: to
thrive in partnerships that are good for both people. It
doesn’t seem much to ask. A lot of people are looking for
roughly the same thing. But...
In the West, we have a vague sense that poetry is good for
our ‘souls’, making us sensitive and wiser. Yet we
don’t always know how this should work. Poetry has a hard
time finding its way into our lives in any practical...