When hope gets in the way

Hope is usually seen as a positive agent of change that spares us from pain. But it can also undermine healing and growth by Santiago Delboy is a psychodynamic psychotherapist in private practice and adjunct clinical faculty at the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis. His writing has appeared in the journals Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Psychoanalytic Inquiry and Revista de la Sociedad Peruana de Psicoanálisis. He lives in Chicago. The word ‘hope’ seems to hold an unambiguous quality in our vocabulary, imbued with a kind of purity that makes it unquestionably good. From old sayings to modern slogans, we are encouraged to develop and sustain a sense of hope. … Continue reading When hope gets in the way

The Power of Laughing at Russia

‘If you are a good comedian in the U.S., you can have a late-night show. If you are a good comedian in Ukraine, you can destroy Russia.’ By Veronika Melkozerova, is a journalist based in Kyiv. She is the executive editor of the New Voice of Ukraine, an English-language news site. Late last month, a couple of days after Russian missiles hit Kyiv, killing a Ukrainian journalist; a few weeks after Russian forces laid siege to this city, my hometown; two months after Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded my homeland, I went down into a converted bomb shelter and laughed. A lot. And … Continue reading The Power of Laughing at Russia

The Science of Working Out the Body and the Soul: How the Art of Exercise Was Born, Lost, and Rediscovered

“A history of exercise is not really — or certainly not only — a history of the body. It is, equally, perhaps even primarily, a history of the mind.” BY MARIA POPOVA “And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?” wondered Whitman two years before he wrote a manual on “manly health and training” and two decades before he recovered from his paralytic stroke with a rigorous exercise regimen in the gymnasium of the wilderness. But this natural equivalence, as obvious as it was to Whitman and as evident as the neurophysiology of consciousness is making it in … Continue reading The Science of Working Out the Body and the Soul: How the Art of Exercise Was Born, Lost, and Rediscovered

Tainted love

Love is both a wonderful thing and a cunning evolutionary trick to control us. A dangerous cocktail in the wrong hands Anna Machin is an evolutionary anthropologist, writer and broadcaster whose work has appeared in the New Scientist and The Guardian, among others. She is the author of The Life of Dad: The Making of the Modern Father (2018) and Why We Love: The New Science Behind our Closest Relationships (2022). She lives in Oxford. We can all agree that, on balance, and taking everything into account, love is a wonderful thing. For many, it is the point of life. I have spent more than a decade … Continue reading Tainted love

Everything Everywhere All at Once and the Euphoria in Empathy

At the core of this mind-bending multiverse film starring Michelle Yeoh lies a story about true connection and being present in a world full of distractions.   By Noelle Webster Early on in Everything Everywhere All at Once, the new feature film from the filmmaking duo collectively known as Daniels, a Chinese-American woman named Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) sits at a cubicle across from a stickler IRS agent named Deirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis). Deirdre tells Evelyn, who is visibly distracted, “I cannot imagine a conversation more important than this one.” The conversation in question? Evelyn is being audited for incorrectly filing her taxes.  However, … Continue reading Everything Everywhere All at Once and the Euphoria in Empathy

Look on the dark side

We must keep the flame of pessimism burning: it is a virtue for our deeply troubled times, when crude optimism is a vice Mara van der Lugt is lecturer in philosophy at St Andrews University in Scotland. She is the author of Bayle, Jurieu, and the ‘Dictionnaire Historique et Critique’ (2016) and Dark Matters: Pessimism and the Problem of Suffering (2021). In the 17th and 18th centuries, a group of Western philosophers came to clashes, on the page at least, over the age-old problem of evil: the question of how a good God could allow the existence of evil and suffering in the world. … Continue reading Look on the dark side

Primitive communism

Marx’s idea that societies were naturally egalitarian and communal before farming is widely influential and quite wrong Manvir Singh is an anthropologist and postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse. He studies the origins of universal or near-universal cultural practices, including music, marriage, shamanism and witchcraft. Karl Marx died on 14 March 1883. At the funeral three days later, Friedrich Engels wasted little time on their 40-year friendship, focusing instead on Marx’s legacy. ‘Just as Darwin discovered the law of development of organic nature,’ Engels said, ‘so Marx discovered the law of development of human history.’ … Continue reading Primitive communism

You Are a Wonder, You Are a Nobody, You Are an Ever-Drifting Ship: Melville on the Mystery of What Makes Us Who We Are

“There is no steady unretracing progress in this life; we do not advance through fixed gradations, and at the last one pause… We trace the round again; and are… Ifs eternally.” BY MARIA POPOVA “The self is a style of being, continually expanding in a vital process of definition, affirmation, revision, and growth,” the poet Robert Penn Warren wrote in his impassioned and insightful challenge to the notion of “finding yourself” — something the Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert captured half a century later in his memorable quip about our blind spots of becoming: “Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re … Continue reading You Are a Wonder, You Are a Nobody, You Are an Ever-Drifting Ship: Melville on the Mystery of What Makes Us Who We Are

Why more young people are turning to nihilism

‘It’s incredibly freeing’ by Siân Bradley Amid rising inequality and the climate crisis, the view that life is meaningless is gaining traction. But can believing nothing matters also be a catalyst for positive action? About a year ago, while the UK was in lockdown, Luke* discovered nihilism through a philosophy channel on YouTube. He soon began to subscribe to the belief central to nihilism, which is that life is meaningless. “I think nihilism is necessary for a true life,” the 15-year-old student tells Huck. “We are thrust into this universe for no apparent reason.” Adopting nihilistic beliefs made Luke feel alienated and suicidal. “The … Continue reading Why more young people are turning to nihilism

Truth is real

For a century, the idea of truth has been deflated, becoming terrain from which philosophers fled. They must return – urgently by Crispin Sartwell is associate professor of philosophy at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. His books include Political Aesthetics (2010) and Entanglements: A System of Philosophy (2017). It is often said, rather casually, that truth is dissolving, that we live in the ‘post-truth era’. But truth is one of our central concepts – perhaps our most central concept – and I don’t think we can do without it. To believe that masks prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to take it to be true that they … Continue reading Truth is real