Some Reflections on Human Life: “Nothing Short of a Miracle”

Though our lifetimes are fleeting on a cosmic scale, we experience them as long and adventurous. Focus on this and you will be naturally motivated to make the most of life. By Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa KarmapaMAY 16, 2022 These leisures and endowments, which are so difficult to obtain, have been acquired, and they bring about the welfare of all. If one fails to take this favorable opportunity into consideration, how could this occasion occur again? Just as lightning illuminates the darkness of a cloudy night for an instant, in the same way, by the power of the … Continue reading Some Reflections on Human Life: “Nothing Short of a Miracle”

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

Zen Is Not a Democracy

Brad Warner discusses ethics, Zen, and his new book The Other Side of Nothing Interview with  Brad Warner by Tricycle Brad Warner has been a notable figure in Zen in the West since the publication of his first book, Hardcore Zen, in 2003. His blog of the same title was a prominent landmark in online Buddhist discourse as Buddhist communities ventured online two decades ago. Warner is a bass guitarist in a punk band, and his teaching style often has an irreverent exterior.  On the cover of his new book, The Other Side of Nothing (New World Library, May 2022) the Buddha sports a spiky blue … Continue reading Zen Is Not a Democracy

Against human exceptionalism

In a tight spot, you’d probably intuit that a human life outweighs an animal’s. There are good arguments why that’s wrong Jeff Sebo is clinical associate professor of environmental studies, affiliated professor of bioethics, medical ethics, philosophy and law, and director of the animal studies MA programme at New York University. He is also on the executive committee at the NYU Center for Environmental and Animal Protection and the advisory board for the Animals in Context series at NYU Press. He is co-author of Chimpanzee Rights (2018) and Food, Animals, and the Environment (2018), and the author of Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves (2022). This January, a … Continue reading Against human exceptionalism

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

Biking Through Time: Brooklyn Youth Chorus Sings Composer Paola Prestini’s Anthem for Women’s Freedom of Body and Mind

A two-wheel romp through the topography of progress from Victorian times to rural Spain to twentieth-century America. BY MARIA POPOVA “You are at all times independent. This absolute freedom of the cyclist can be known only to the initiated,” Maria Ward wrote in her blazing 1896 manifesto Bicycling for Ladies, celebrating the bicycle as an instrument of emancipation, self-reliance, and unselfconscious joy a year after the New York World published its tragicomical list of don’ts for women on two wheels. These might seem like amusing specimens from the fossil record of culture, but they encode the broader and darker history of regulating women’s sovereignty … Continue reading Biking Through Time: Brooklyn Youth Chorus Sings Composer Paola Prestini’s Anthem for Women’s Freedom of Body and Mind

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

Making Our Own Jewels

A writer and practitioner reflects on her terminal illness. By Teri Dillion Out of nowhere and interrupting an otherwise beautiful May morning, I just so happened to hit the jackpot of drama, the grand slam of misfortune, a condition I’d soon learn is sometimes spoken of in medical circles as “the worst possible thing.” I was slapped with three uppercase initials—ALS—that signified I was now victim to a rare, quickly debilitating neurological disease. It was the kind of disease which results in total paralysis—including the loss of one’s voice and an assured countdown to respiratory failure—within a few years for nearly … Continue reading Making Our Own Jewels

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