The myths that hint at past disaster

10th May 2021Myths and fables passed down over thousands of years are full of fantastic creatures and warring gods. But they also might contain evidence of environmental disasters of the past. By Mark Piesing For those affected, it could seem like the end of the world. Residents of Stinson Beach, a popular tourist destination near San Francisco, are coming to terms with studies that show large parts of their neighbourhood will be under a foot of water in less than 20 years. The affluent are able to build homes on raised foundations and afford expensive sea defences that will hold the … Continue reading The myths that hint at past disaster

The birth of childhood: A brief history of the European child

Did the 20th century bring a breakthrough in how children are treated? by Andrzej Krajewski  It took several thousand years for our culture to realize that a child is not an object. Learning how to treat children as humans continues to this day.”Nature wants children to be children before they are men,” wrote Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the book Emile, or On Education (1762). While Rousseau did not see children as humans, he appealed to parents to look after their offspring. “If we consider childhood itself, is there anything so weak and wretched as a child, anything so utterly at the mercy of … Continue reading The birth of childhood: A brief history of the European child

The Woman Who Saved the Hawks: Redeeming an Overlooked Pioneer of Conservation

The story of the countercultural courage and persistence that shaped the modern ecological conscience. BY MARIA POPOVA It is 1928 and you are walking in Central Park, saxophone and wren song in the April air, when you spot her beneath the colossal leafing elm with her binoculars. You mistake her for another pearled Upper East Side lady who has taken to birding in the privileged boredom of her middle age. And who could blame you? In some obvious ways — polished and traveled, born into a wealthy New York family to a British father whose first cousin was Charles Dickens … Continue reading The Woman Who Saved the Hawks: Redeeming an Overlooked Pioneer of Conservation

The 5 Biggest Mistakes That Make You Unlikeable, According to Ben Franklin

These mistakes would have made people dislike you in 1730, and they’ll make people dislike you today. BY JESSICA STILLMA There are many types of knowledge you need to stay on top of to be successful in business and life, from tech innovations to trends in your industry. But there are also some truths that you can take to the bank. These bits of wisdom were as likely to make you successful 300 hundred years ago as they are today.  Learning them is great because you only need to do it once. Plus, they’re usually so fundamental they apply across a range of … Continue reading The 5 Biggest Mistakes That Make You Unlikeable, According to Ben Franklin

The road from Rome

The fall of the Roman Empire wasn’t a tragedy for civilisation. It was a lucky break for humanity as a whole Walter Scheidel is Dickason Professor in the Humanities, professor of Classics and history, and a Catherine R Kennedy and Daniel L Grossman fellow in human biology, all at Stanford University in California… Edited by Sam Dresser For an empire that collapsed more than 1,500 years ago, ancient Rome maintains a powerful presence. About 1 billion people speak languages derived from Latin; Roman law shapes modern norms; and Roman architecture has been widely imitated. Christianity, which the empire embraced in its sunset years, remains the … Continue reading The road from Rome

The Mother of All Accidents

Odds are, if an asteroid hadn’t crashed into Earth, we wouldn’t be here. BY SEAN B. CARROLL In 2001, Seth MacFarlane was the 27-year-old executive producer and creator of the not-yet-hit animated show Family Guy. Having broken into the entertainment big leagues at such a young age, MacFarlane was invited back in September to address his alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design. After giving a talk, he went out for what turned out to be a late night of drinking with some professors.  The next morning, September 11, MacFarlane raced to catch an 8:15 a.m. flight out of Boston … Continue reading The Mother of All Accidents

ARE YOU ADDICTED TO YOUR STORY?

by Zahrah Sita, Guest Waking Times The stories that we attach to and define ourselves with, can be detrimental to our well-being and success.  Many people have gotten caught in a loop of drama, chaos, and suffering because they keep attaching to and retelling their story. If the story defines them as a victim, a failure, or a misfortunate person, then they will keep finding themselves in situations that affirms the identity the person keeps feeding life to with their story – their perceptions and beliefs about themselves. WHAT STORY ARE YOU TELLING? I asked in the title if you are … Continue reading ARE YOU ADDICTED TO YOUR STORY?

The case of Norman Douglas

He was a literary lion and an infamous pederast: what might we learn from his life about monstrosity and humanity? Rachel Hope Cleves is a historian and professor at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. She is the author of The Reign of Terror in America: Visions of Violence from Anti-Jacobinism to Antislavery (2009), Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America (2014) and Unspeakable: A Life Beyond Sexual Morality (2020). Her current project is titled ‘A Historian’s Guide to Food and Sex’.  Edited by Sam Haselby The British writer Norman Douglas was so famous during his lifetime (1868-1952) that he frequently turned up as a … Continue reading The case of Norman Douglas

The Stoic Antidote to Frustration: Marcus Aurelius on How to Keep Your Mental Composure and Emotional Equanimity When People Let You Down

The art of tempering your fury with an infuriating existential truth. BY MARIA POPOVA The vast majority of our mental, emotional, and spiritual suffering comes from the violent collision between our expectations and reality. As we dust ourselves off amid the rubble, bruised and indignant, we further pain ourselves with the exertion of staggering emotional energy on outrage at how reality dared defy what we demanded of it. The remedy, of course, is not to bend the reality of an impartial universe to our will. The remedy is to calibrate our expectations — a remedy that might feel far too … Continue reading The Stoic Antidote to Frustration: Marcus Aurelius on How to Keep Your Mental Composure and Emotional Equanimity When People Let You Down

Lessons from the Roman Empire about the danger of luxury

Are we enslaved by the finer things in life? by Jonny Thomson  The Roman writer, Tacitus, argued that the Roman Empire was built by enslaving conquered people who became accustomed to fine living and luxury. Technology today has become so essential to our daily lives that it seems impossible to break free of it. It’s as much a cage as a luxury. Being dependent on a thing gives it power over you. To need something or someone is, for better or worse, to limit yourself. Philippa has decided she wants to quit social media. She’s worried about how addictive it … Continue reading Lessons from the Roman Empire about the danger of luxury