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The Great Architects: Oscar Niemeyer

One of the most depressing aspects of travel is finding that the world often looks the same in many different places. The towers of downtown Tokyo are indistinguishable from those of Frankfurt or Seattle. That’s no coincidence. Modern architecture was founded on the idea...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
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The Great Urbanists: Jane Jacobs

There is something compelling and exciting about cities that makes many of us love (and some of us dread) them. They are full of bright attractions, intriguing strangers and endless, unimaginable possibilities. Yet despite a great migration towards city living in the modern era,...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail

The Great Environmentalists: Rachel Carson

There’s nothing very natural about caring for nature. The first and predominant impulse of humans has almost always been to burn the trees, exhaust the fish stocks, pollute the ground springs and darken the skies. If we learn – gradually – to become somewhat...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail

Travel as Therapy: Glenpark Road, Birmingham – for Boredom

Abroad is, as we know, the exciting bit. You’ve been so far recently. You were in Abuja only on Tuesday and then at Heathrow on Wednesday. Yesterday lunchtime, you were having fried plantain in the Wuse district with Promise and Chinwe, and at eight...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail

Travel as Therapy: Comuna 13, San Javier, Medellín, Colombia – for Dissatisfaction

Groups of young men armed with planks of wood roam the alleyways extorting money. Houses are made of bits of tin, old doors, the occasional lump of concrete, oil drums and tarpaulin sheets. Sofa carcasses thrown onto rubbish tips in the first world are...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail

Utopia series: the government of the future

For hundreds of years now, humans have tended to believe that the best sort of government is one which leaves its citizens maximally ‘free’. We’ve come to associate good government directly and uncomplicatedly with the promotion of ‘freedom’: freedom to worship as one pleases, to...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail

What is Philosophy – and what is it for?

People are understandably confused about what philosophy is. From a distance, it seems weird, irrelevant, boring and yet also – just a little – intriguing. But it’s hard to put a finger on what the interest really is. What are philosophers? What do they...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
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Why you should visit The School of Life in Paris

For a start, because - as we all know - Parisians are notoriously suspicious of tourists. How many of us have been to Paris and stared at French life through a thick window pane, deeply curious as to its processes and rituals and...
Posted by Alain de Botton

We're Coming to Amsterdam!

Since our launch in London in 2008, more than 70,000 people have taken part in our programmes, and we are so thrilled to now be opening our doors at another international location in addition to our permanent school in Melbourne, Australia and our pop-up...
Posted by The School of Life
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Dear Bibliotherapist

Dear Bibliotherapist, I’m just back from The School of Life’s intensive in Sao Paolo. I had a truly inspiring time, and was not only filled with ideas for how to change my life for the better, but also fell completely in love with Brazil....
Posted by Ella Berthoud

The Hunt for Happy

In December 1817, the poet John Keats, then twenty-two years old, went to see the annual Christmas pantomime at the Theatre Royal, in London’s Drury Lane. Also in attendance was his friend, the critic Charles Wentworth Dilke, and as they strolled home, the two...
Posted by Oliver Burkeman

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