Alan Watts quotes that will change your perspective on life

Unwind the mind with these thought-provoking Alan Watts quotes. by MIKE COLAGROSSI Quotes on the immediacy of experience and life. Learn a Zen Koan or two and scramble rationalist thought. Ponder on the meaning of life with Alan Watts. To this day, Alan Watts’s impactful and wise words circulate through the culture. We find them in the many books he left behind, countless lectures and pop-culture references galore. Renowned scholar and teacher, Joseph Campbell once said of him: “The pomposities of prodigious learning could be undone by him with a turn of phrase. One stood before him, disarmed — and laughed at … Continue reading Alan Watts quotes that will change your perspective on life

And Then Job Said Unto the Lord: You Can’t Be Serious

OLIVER MUNDAY; MUSEO NACIONAL DE ARTE In a new translation of the Book of Job, the famously repentant hero gives God a piece of his mind. by JAMES PARKER Job: A New Translation BY EDWARD L. GREENSTEIN YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS So god says to Satan, “You there, what have you been up to?” And Satan says, “Oh, you know, just hanging around, minding my own business.” And God says, “Well, take a look at my man Job over there. He worships me. He does exactly what I tell him. He thinks I’m the greatest.” “Job?” says Satan. “The rich, happy, healthy guy? The … Continue reading And Then Job Said Unto the Lord: You Can’t Be Serious

The Antidote to Prejudice: Walter Lippmann on Overriding the Mind’s Propensity for Preconceptions

‘Fool’s Cap Map of the World’ (1580–1590), from Cosmigraphics by Michael Benson “There is a taint on any contact between two people which does not affirm as an axiom the personal inviolability of both.” BY MARIA POPOVA “We hear and apprehend only what we already half know,”Thoreau wrote as he contemplated with uncommon lucidity what it takes to apprehend reality unblinded by our preconceptions. Every once in a rare and rapturous while, the curtain of our preconceptions lifts and we are able to see, as Virginia Woolf did, “behind the cotton wool of daily life” and experience “a revelation of some order” as we apprehend … Continue reading The Antidote to Prejudice: Walter Lippmann on Overriding the Mind’s Propensity for Preconceptions

Meditations on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp: Polish Painter Józef Czapski on Literature, Survival, and the Human Soul

Józef Czapski, Self-Portrait with Books, 1973 (Józef Czapski estate) “The slow and painful transformation of a passionate and narrowly egotistical being into a man who gives himself over wholly to some great work or other that devours him, destroys him, lives in his blood, is a trial every creative being must endure.” BY MARIA POPOVA “The end of a book’s wisdom appears to us as merely the start of our own,” Marcel Proust wrote as he considered why we read. “There is some Proust in me, and through Proust, bit by bit, I become aware of my own possibilities,” the great Polish … Continue reading Meditations on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp: Polish Painter Józef Czapski on Literature, Survival, and the Human Soul

A New Vocabulary of Attention: Iris Murdoch on Reimagining Freedom, Moral Progress, Aloneness, and Our Inner Lives

Art by the Brothers Hilts from A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader. “The connection between art and the moral life has languished because we are losing our sense of form and structure in the moral world itself… We need a new vocabulary of attention.” BY MARIA POPOVA “Man cannot stand a meaningless life,” Carl Jung observed as he contemplated human personality in a BBC interview at the end of his life. But how do we wrest meaning from existence, or rather make meaning through the force of our personhood? That is what another titanic mind of the twentieth century — … Continue reading A New Vocabulary of Attention: Iris Murdoch on Reimagining Freedom, Moral Progress, Aloneness, and Our Inner Lives

The Unbearable Smugness of Walking

OLIVER MUNDAY Glorified for its creative benefits, the pastime has become yet another goal-driven pursuit. by MICHAEL LAPOINTE Beneath My Feet: Writers On Walking BY DUNCAN MINSHULL, EDITOR NOTTING HILL EDITIONS Walking: One Step at a Time BY ERLING KAGGE PANTHEON Lifespan, a maker of fitness equipment, claims that a treadmill desk will boost my creativity. The company’s website, where I can purchase its basic model for $1,099, features an inspirational quote from Nietzsche: “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” Researchers agree on the connection between an acute mind and legs in motion. Studies have shown that we do better on tests of memory and attention … Continue reading The Unbearable Smugness of Walking

Thomas Bernhard on Walking, Thinking, and the Paradox of Self-Reflection

Art by Shaun Tan for a special edition of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. “There is nothing more revealing than to see a thinking person walking, just as there is nothing more revealing than to see a walking person thinking… Walking and thinking are in a perpetual relationship that is based on trust.” BY MARIA POPOVA “I: how firm a letter; how reassuring the three strokes: one vertical, proud and assertive, and then the two short horizontal lines in quick, smug succession,” the adolescent Sylvia Plath wrote in her diary as she contemplated free will and what makes us who we are. … Continue reading Thomas Bernhard on Walking, Thinking, and the Paradox of Self-Reflection