Gossiping Is Good

CHRISTOPHER DELORENZO The surprising virtues of talking behind people’s backs by BEN HEALY Word on the street is that gossip is the worst. An Ann Landers advice column once characterized it as “the faceless demon that breaks hearts and ruins careers.” The Talmud describes it as a “three-pronged tongue” that kills three people: the teller, the listener, and the person being gossiped about. And Blaise Pascal observed, not unreasonably, that “if people really knew what others said about them, there would not be four friends left in the world.” Convincing as these indictments seem, however, a significant body of research suggests … Continue reading Gossiping Is Good

On coincidence

Illustration by Clayton Junior Lightning can strike twice and people do call just when you’re thinking of them – but are such coincidences meaningful? Cody Delistraty is a writer and historian based in New York and Paris. He writes on literature, psychology and interesting humans. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Atlantic, among others. Edited by Marina Benjamin In the 1920s, one of Carl Jung’s female patients proved particularly frustrating to him – notwithstanding her ‘excellent education’ and ‘highly polished Cartesian rationalism’. She was ‘psychologically inaccessible’, the Swiss psychiatrist later wrote in his Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle (1960), by which he meant … Continue reading On coincidence

When Someone We Love Has Died

Someone we loved so much has died. It can be hard to know where to turn. For religions, dying was regarded as an essential, immensely important, part of existence; it was supposed to happen at a time appointed by God or by fate. It was not an embarrassing or despair-inducing end point, it was a transformation: the soul would continue its life in another form or in another place. Those who died had only ‘departed’ and lived on elsewhere. Perhaps after our own death, our souls would be reunited with theirs. By contrast, in modernity, death cannot help but come … Continue reading When Someone We Love Has Died