chapter 6. Leisure

A World Without Air Travel

For years, we heard much about a need to fly less; now, we’re imagining a world in which people might not fly at all. In the future, children may gather at…

chapter 5. Calm

The Seven Most Calming Works of Art in the World

Art has never been mere entertainment. Alongside philosophy and religion, it has been humanity’s chief source of consolation. It is what we should turn to in our very worst moments. Here…

chapter 1. Relationships

On the Sweetness of Children

If there is one generalisation we can hazard around children, it is that they come across – on a good day at least – as markedly ‘sweet’. Their attitudes, mannerisms, games,…

chapter 3. Self-Knowledge

In Praise of the Melancholy Child

It’s an axiom of modern parenting that a good childhood should, first and foremost, be a happy childhood. This means that from the start, there should be smiles. No sooner has…

chapter 1. Relationships

Listening to Children

The suggestion that parents might not be listening hard enough to their children will strike the average mother or father as, at best, maddening – and at worst simply cruel. After…

chapter 1. Relationships

How We Crave to Be Soothed

One of the greatest skills any human can possess is a capacity for soothing: in a better arranged society, we would celebrate not only gifted athletes and canny entrepreneurs, but also…

chapter 1. Relationships

The Task of Parenthood

Simply defined, the task of a good enough parent is to shepherd a human from babyhood to maturity. This comprises both a physical and an emotional dimension, physically involving such feats…

chapter 3. Self-Knowledge

The Need for a Cry

One of the wisest things about young children is that they have no shame or compunction whatsoever about bursting into tears, perhaps because they have a more accurate and less pride-filled…

chapter 2. Work

On Switching Off the News

We need to be informed, of course. But, in order to stay sane, we may also need – at points – to forget or at least not to remember with such…

chapter 2. Work

We've Been Here Before

Far less than we are inclined to think, we are no strangers to suffering. As a species, we know well how to be agonised – but, as media organisations deftly like…

chapter 4. Sociability

Virtual Dinners: Conversation Menus

We typically spend a lot of time getting the table and food right when we invite others over for a meal; but now that no direct hosting will be possible for…

chapter 6. Leisure

Camus and The Plague

Camus was drawn to his theme because, in his philosophy, we are all - unbeknownst to us - already living through a plague: that is a widespread, silent, invisible disease that…

chapter 5. Calm

After the Storm

Extraordinarily, it will pass. It always does. One day, the crisis roiling our minds and our societies will be history. But it will not be forgotten lightly. There will be a…

chapter 5. Calm

Thoughts for the Storm

– ACCEPT: We are a miraculous, unlikely fragile species in a mysteriously oxygenated corner of the universe. We have never been and never will be complete masters of our circumstances, we…

chapter 5. Calm

Emotional Maturity in a Crisis

Some of us belong to a social group politely known as ‘worriers.’ That is, we are close to panic on a range of issues pretty much all the time. We worry…

chapter 5. Calm

On Trying to Control the Future

The temptation, when we are worried, is to direct our determined intelligence to trying fully to anticipate whatever may be coming for us down the line. We try to strip the…

chapter 5. Calm

A Few Things Still to Be Grateful For

We are geniuses at focusing on what is missing from our lives. Our dissatisfaction generally serves us well; it keeps us from complacency and boredom. But we are also dragged down…

chapter 5. Calm

Preparing for Disaster

We may not think of it in quite such naive terms, but we are liable to start out – somewhere in the semi-conscious mind – with a script of how our…