Viewing entries posted in March 2011
'I believe men are still generally a little afraid of the
dark,' wrote Thoreau in Walden, 'although the witches are
all hung and Christianity and candles have been introduced.'
Mankind's ongoing project to banish any remaining
crepuscular corners from the earth has made astonishing
Just over a decade ago, the government decided that
emotional well-being should be taught in British schools.
The initiative was part of the Every Child Matters policy
shift in 2003, which was dogged from the start by a
bureaucratic obsession with acronyms: ECM declared,...
Stress has a huge impact on our society. Mental health
problems cost the British economy around 100 billion a year,
and seven million UK adults are so tense they'd qualify for
a diagnosis of anxiety disorder. Many of the physical
ailments that overwhelm our...
When Rene Descartes tried to systematically doubt everything
he believed, he succeeded until it came to his own
existence. The very act of questioning whether you exist
proves you do, because you must be there for the doubt to be
entertained in the first...
According to the Tao Te Ching, the universe is ruled by two
principles: an active principle (Yang) and a passive
principle (Yin). Perhaps there are also two forms of
well-being: active and passive. The active form of
well-being lies in the happiness of pursuit,...
There are many ways of living with something. To live with
cares and troubles means ensuring they do not overwhelm the
rest of life. To live with friends and loved ones means,
hopefully, to cherish them. To live with disability entails
a delicate, perpetual...
What is hope? In his autobiography, Miracles of Life, the
writer J.G. Ballard offers an arresting case in point, which
I think gets to the heart of the matter.
He tells of the apparently most hopeless moment in his life.
He, his wife and...
Early in the morning on the fifth of February AD 62, a
gigantic earthquake rippled beneath the Roman province of
Campania and in seconds, killed thousands of unsuspecting
inhabitants. Large sections of Pompeii collapsed on top of
people in their beds. Attempts to rescue...
In the last 20 years or so, after a two-thousand-year
hiatus, philosophy has got back into the business of
self-help. I say 'back into' it, because when philosophy was
first invented, that was what it was: self-help.
Socrates, Epicurus, the Stoics, Sceptics, Cynics and...
The human ear will always twitch to attention at the promise
of being saved. It is a pragmatic organ, distrustful of our
ability to cope on our own, always eager for outside advice.
If you are like most people, your ear will occasionally...
Know thyself, Plato instructed us 2,500 years ago. Most of
us don't, of course, and women are experts at a certain type
of self-deception. Decades of studies show that women are
more likely than men to underestimate their influence, and
this mismatch between how...