Anna Deavere Smith on the Importance of Bringing Light to History’s Shadows and Resisting the Destructive Patterns Handed Down to Us by Our Invisible Pasts

Anna Deavere Smith (Photograph: Mary Ellen Mark) “A beating — even a public beating — could happen without anyone so much as striking a blow.” BY MARIA POPOVA “Society has discovered discrimination as the great social weapon by which one may kill men without any bloodshed,”Hannah Arendt wrote in reflecting on Jewishness, the immigrant plight for identity, and the meaning of “refugee.” A refusal to perpetrate such social murder is what led Leonard Cohen to leave out the verse about the relationship between Blacks and Jews from his now-iconic song “Democracy.” When asked about the decision, he offered: “I wanted a revelation in the heart … Continue reading Anna Deavere Smith on the Importance of Bringing Light to History’s Shadows and Resisting the Destructive Patterns Handed Down to Us by Our Invisible Pasts

Human nature matters

A family gathering near Tehran in 2017. Photo by Thomas Dworzak/Magnum Photos The only way to construct a robust philosophy for life is to have a clear and realistic picture of what makes humans tick by Skye C Cleary is the author of Existentialism and Romantic Love (2015) and the associate director of the Center for New Narratives in Philosophy at Columbia University.  She also is the managing editor of the Blog of the American Philosophical Association and teaches at Columbia, Barnard College, and the City College of New York. Massimo Pigliucci is professor of philosophy at City College and at the Graduate Center of the City … Continue reading Human nature matters

When It’s Better to Say No to Sex With Your Partner

And why it strengthens your relationship in the long-term by Tracy Moore What’s worse: never having any sex at all OR begrudgingly having sex when you don’t want to just to avoid conflict? It’s a trick question — they both send your relationship into a demoralizing doom spiral from which you may never recover. But new research brings good news! There is a lesser of these two evils, and it’s a third option altogether: Turning down a partner’s sexual advances may not be a big deal if — and this is a big if — you do it right. What’s more, it may be better in the long term … Continue reading When It’s Better to Say No to Sex With Your Partner

Finding Meaning and Happiness in Old Age

CreditPaul Rogers By JANE E. BRODY  What’s the best way to develop a healthy perspective on old age? Spend more time with elderly people and discover what brings meaning and pleasure to their twilight years despite the losses, both physical and social, they may have suffered.That’s what two authors of inspired and inspiring books about aging discovered and, happily, have taken the trouble to share with those of us likely to join the ranks of the “oldest old” in the not-too-distant future. Actually, the wisdom therein might be equally valuable for young and middle-aged adults who may dread getting old. To … Continue reading Finding Meaning and Happiness in Old Age