Relationships

What Relationships Should Really Be About

Many people, after they’ve been in a couple for some time, will privately admit that they are – in many ways – frustrated and disappointed by the person they’ve chosen to…

Relationships

Being Honest on a date

A powerful instinct when we meet someone we’re attracted to is to try to please them – and we naturally assume that the best way we might do this is to…

Relationships

Coping with One's parents

A few lucky ones among us get on easily with their parents, but for most of us, mothers and fathers are the source of continually complicated and emotionally-draining trials. One strategy…

Self-Knowledge

Taming a Pitiless Inner Critic

One of the tedious aspects of having problems with our minds is that we need to take more of an interest in how they work than untroubled people do: we have…

Self-Knowledge

Straightforward vs. Complicated People

A basic distinction in humans is between those who are simple and straightforward to deal with – and those who are – as we tend to be reminded when we interact…

Calm

Signs You Might Be Suffering from Complex PTSD

The purpose of language is to help us to get a better grip on reality; the more words there are in our vocabulary, the higher the chance we have of being…

Leisure

The Downfall of Oscar Wilde

On Valentine’s Day in 1895, the most famous playwright in the English speaking world, Oscar Wilde, presented his new play, The Importance of Being Earnest, in London at St. James Theatre.…

Calm

On Skin Picking

If we were to need any further evidence of the difficulties of being human, we need only study the poignant phenomenon that psychologists call dermatillomania – more commonly known as skin…

Leisure

What Voltaire Meant by 'One Must Cultivate One's Own Garden'

It is crucial to note the subtitle of 18th century Europe’s most famous novel, written in three inspired days in 1759: ‘Candide – or Optimism’. If there was one central target…

Leisure

Buildings That Give Hope - and Buildings That Condemn Us

A strange and rarely remarked upon feature of buildings is that they talk. They don’t necessarily speak very loudly, it can sometimes just be a whisper, but if you go up…

Self-Knowledge

How to Fight off Your Inner Critic

We almost all have a character inside our minds whom we might call the inner critic. It tends to pay its visits late at night, it waits until we’re very tired…

Work

On Eating a Friend

There are in aggregate far more of them than there are of us. We’re a mere 7.5 billion – while there are 19 billion chickens, 1 billion sheep, 1 billion pigs…

Work

The United States and Happiness

Most countries know deep in their bones that life is – for the most part – a painful and unsatisfactory business: misery is the norm, one is born to suffer, the…

Leisure

James Baldwin

James Baldwin was a novelist, essayist and activist whose writings on racism and the idea of self-acceptance in 20th century America challenged readers to investigate their innermost thoughts and beliefs.

Self-Knowledge

Reasons to Give Up on Human Beings

It’s peculiar to think that there might be a word like ‘misanthropy’ in our language: ‘a dislike of humankind.’ For a phenomenon to become a word, it needs a sufficient number…

Self-Knowledge

The Melancholy Charm of Lonely Travelling Places

Nothing quite provokes the peculiar mixture of discomfort and pleasure that characterises the melancholy mood as powerfully as does solitary travel. On our own somewhere on the road, we may feel…

Leisure

Katsushika Hokusai

There are two ways of looking at Mount Fuji. As a geological phenomenon, it is classified as an active basalt composite stratovolcano, 3,700 metres high, 10,000 years old in its most…

Leisure

On Luxury and Sadness

There is an age, and a frame of mind, when we are strong enough to treat luxury with every bit of the disdain it deserves, when we know how to pour…