Chapter 3.

Self-Knowledge

Mood

Our Right to be Miserable

The official religion of modernity is happiness. It sounds pleasant but being asked to smile is an extremely coercive requirement. There is a freedom that our age seems subtly yet horribly…

Behaviours

Reasons to give up on Perfection

Part of our problem as a species is that we’re troublingly good at making things perfect. We can set our minds on an extraordinary goal and – with heroic sacrifice, thousands…

Behaviours

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…

Fear & Insecurity

The Fear of Death

One of the most useful things about our minds is that they can in some moods allow us to step outside of ourselves – and consider our death from a wholly…

Fear & Insecurity

I Am Not My Body

A characteristic emotion on seeing a favourite novel turned into a film is puzzlement. We may not hate the actor playing a particular role, we might even find them rather beautiful,…

Fear & Insecurity

The Problems of Being Very Beautiful

Some of the pain of feeling unattractive stems from the stories we tell ourselves about those we deem beautiful. They, the blessed ones, surely do not suffer. They, the gods and…