Calm

You Still Have Time

There remain few expressions better able to capture the futility of a task than one which compares our efforts to ‘rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.’ The hull has been breached,…

Calm

I Will Survive!

In October 1976, one of the greatest pop songs of the 20th century was heard for the first time: Gloria Gaynor’s eternal assertion of defiance I Will Survive. It was initially released…

Self-Knowledge

Why We Enjoy the Suffering of Others

The French Revolution lasted ten years — from the 5th of May 1789 to the 9th of November 1799. In this period of chaos and savagery, one year stands out as…

Work

The Problem with Individualism

The world became modern when people who met for the first time shifted from asking each other (as they had always done) where they came from — to asking each other…

Leisure

Freud's Porcupine

We know so well what love should be like; we imagine our desired partners long before we meet them in real life. They will be kind, beautiful, gentle, thoughtful, inspiring and…

Self-Knowledge

What Brain Scans Reveal About Our Minds

Two photographs deserve to be counted as among the most significant of the twentieth century. The first was taken on December 24th, 1968, by the astronaut William Anders as the Apollo…

Leisure

What Rothko's Art Teaches Us About Suffering

The most unexpectedly uplifting and consoling artist of the 20th century was the abstract painter Mark Rothko, the high priest of grief and loss who spent the latter part of his…

Work

On Gossip

From an early age, kindly people are liable to leave us in no doubt that gossiping about the private lives of well-known or prestigious people is despicable. At the same time,…

Work

How the Media Damages Our Faith in Humanity

For most of history, however disappointed you might have been with people close to home, with your own hurtful family or maddening colleagues, you were at least able to hold on…

Work

Why We Secretly Love Bad News

There is a complicated truth behind our nastiest impulses: we are nasty chiefly because we are unhappy. The paradox is that if only we could understand this about ourselves, and forgive…

Relationships

On the Curiosity of Children

One of the things it’s easiest to forget about children is that they are aliens recently descended from another planet. In the way they look at everything around them, in the…

Relationships

How to Lend a Child Confidence

A near-universal goal of parents is to try to imbue their children with confidence; to try to lend them the energy, self-belief and courage to eventually be able to act decisively…

Relationships

The Importance of Play

The useful thing about children is that they don’t let their imaginations get hampered by the more irritating or incidental aspects of reality. They will take one look at a sofa…

Relationships

Why Children Need an Emotional Education

The most basic and never-to-be-forgotten fact about any infant is that it is born into a state of radical immaturity. It cannot understand its condition; it doesn’t know how to communicate;…

Self-Knowledge

How to Love Difficult People

Perhaps the finest way to develop a loving attitude towards other people is to recall, in the face of their difficulty, that we are, in the end, all children. The claim…

Work

Celebrity Crushes

Of course, we’re supposed to shrug it off. We’re supposed to have a quick look at a gallery of images – the kiss in the ocean, the breakfast on the veranda,…

Self-Knowledge

A More Self-Accepting Life

One of the ways in which we can accelerate, and keep faith with, change is to look forward to a time when it has occurred and anticipate what it might be…

Self-Knowledge

How Perfectionism Makes Us Ill

There is a kind of person who seems at first glance to have an admirable degree of self-motivation, thoroughness and drive. They are up at dawn, they rarely take holidays, they…