“The most appalling quality of water is its strength. I love its flash and gleam, its music, its pliancy and grace, its slap against my body; but I fear its strength.” BY MARIA POPOVA Rivers, like trees, are irrepressibly themselves and, in being so, more than themselves — sources and symbols of life, impartial witnesses imbued not merely with the elemental but with the existential. “There is a mystery about rivers that draws us to them, for they rise from hidden places and travel by routes that are not always tomorrow where they might be today,” Olivia Laing wrote in her stunning meditation … Continue reading The Mystery and Might of Water
A clay impression of a cylinder seal from Nippur, Iraq. Akkadian civilisation, 2330-2150 BCE. Photo By DEA/De Agostini/Getty Was writing invented for accounting and administration or did it evolve from religious movements, sorcery and dreams? by Michael Erardis writer in residence at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Edited by Pam Weintraub Recent scholars of the history of writing describe what was first and foremost an administrative tool. According to their ‘administrative hypothesis’, writing was invented so that early states could track people, land and economic production, and elites could sustain their power. Along the way (their … Continue reading The deep roots of writing
The biggest hypocrites are the ones who spend the most time calling out hypocrisy in others by Andrew Fiouzi For politicians, hypocrisy is like peeing in the pool: Universally practiced and only a big deal if you get caught. Case in point: In a statement two weeks ago, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer charged the Republicans — and in particular, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — with practicing the “absolute height of hypocrisy” for wanting to push through a replacement for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy before the midterm elections. “Our Republican colleagues in the Senate should follow the rule they set in 2016: not to … Continue reading If We’re Pretty Much All Hypocrites, Why Do We Hate Hypocrites So Much?