The Problem of Shame

One of the great problems in the world is also one of the most invisible, because – by its nature – it asks to be hidden and saps our ability to…

On Feeling Ugly

We unexpectedly catch sight of ourselves in a mirror and, in an instant, are thrown into despair: the odd nose, the unsatisfactory hair, the sickening skin tone, but most of all,…

The Particular Beauty of Unhappy-Looking People

We are often taught that the best way to prove attractive is to smile. The idea feels logical and for the most part highly appropriate, but it shouldn’t blind us to…

How Not to Become a Conspiracy Theorist

We live in conspiratorial times. Deeply sinister motives appear to be at work everywhere beneath the surface. No one, however high their reputation, is entirely beyond suspicion. Every institution, even the most…

The Terror of a ‘No’

There are many things we want to ask of other people. We want to ask for a job, for money, a chance to collaborate, a kiss. But we often don’t ask…

On Being Hated

Learning that someone hates us deeply, even though we have done nothing ostensibly to provoke them, can be one of the most alarming situations we face. Because of technology, it is…