Irritability is the tendency to get upset for reasons that
seem – to other people – to be pretty minor. Your
partner asks you how work went and the way they ask makes
you feel intensely agitated. Your partner is putting knives
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon; you were nine years old.
Your parents wouldn’t let you have any ice cream if you
didn’t do your maths homework. It was achingly unfair.
Every other child in the world was playing football or
watching television. No...
He described himself as an obsessional neurotic.
For although the father of modern psychology told us so much
about our inner lives, he was touchingly vulnerable
Sigmund Schlomo Freud was born to a middle-class Jewish
family in 1856, in what is now the Czech...
Most of the time, successful modern life involves lots of
technology, constantly being connected with other people,
working very hard for as much money as possible, and doing
what we are told. These elements are almost a conventional
prescription for success. So it may...
For the griefs of love, he may be the finest among
He was surely also one of the most pessimistic. Arthur
Schopenhauer was born in Danzig in 1788. In later years, he
looked back on the event with regret: "Human existence must
We generally think that philosophers should be proud of
their big brains, and be fans of thinking, self-reflection
and rational analysis.
But there’s one philosopher, born in France in 1533, with
a refreshingly different take. Michel de Montaigne was an
intellectual who spent his writing...
We know very little for certain about the life of the
Chinese philosopher Confucius (a westernised version of his
name, which means ‘Master Kong’). He is said to have
been born in 551 B.C. in China; he may have been a student
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
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