Milk, pity and power

Cimon and Pero, also known as Roman Charity (c1625) by Peter Paul Rubens. Courtesy the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Since antiquity, artists have depicted a perverse scene of a daughter breastfeeding her aged father. What does it mean? By Margie Orford, is a writer and journalist. She is the author of the literary crime fiction series the Clare Hart novels, which explore violence and its effects in South Africa, and have been translated into more than 10 languages. She is also an award-winning journalist who writes for newspapers in the United Kingdom and South Africa. She is an honorary fellow of St Hugh’s College, Oxford … Continue reading Milk, pity and power

Meditation in an Age of Cataclysms

When despairing thoughts about climate collapse become overwhelming, try turning towards feeling.  By David Edwards  If consciousness is an ocean, thoughts are waves that can be churned into vast storms. Have you ever awakened in the wee small hours, adrift on your tiny raft of awareness, to find yourself confronted by such a storm? Perhaps an icy wind is whipping up the memory of something you read about COVID and slapping you in the face with it: So now I have to tell the daughter that both her parents are dead in a matter of three days. Her dad’s not even buried yet. … Continue reading Meditation in an Age of Cataclysms

In the West, yoga is exercise. In the East, it is something much bigger

Yoga is more than just standing on your head. It’s about uniting with the divine. KEY TAKEAWAYS By Alexandra Keeler While yoga has become a trendy lifestyle and wellness practice in North America, its roots are ancient, spiritual, and profound. Originally developed in Hinduism, yoga provides a path to achieve a higher state of consciousness and to unite with the divine. The Sanskrit word yoga literally translates to “to yoke,” derived from the root word yiuj which means “to join,” “to integrate,” or “to harness.” The word yoga was first mentioned in one of the oldest texts known to humanity, the Rig Veda. The Rig Veda is … Continue reading In the West, yoga is exercise. In the East, it is something much bigger

How to Make a Decision When There Are No Good Choices

Acceptance and commitment therapy, which integrates psychological science with Buddhist ideas, offers a helpful framework for seemingly impossible situations. By Yael Schonbrun  On an April morning in 2019, my sister rested in a California hospital bed and gazed with wonder at her beautiful new infant. A thirty-minute drive away, my father also rested in a hospital bed, fighting his years-long battle with stage IV melanoma. Across the country, I sat perched on the edge of a plastic blue chair in the airport waiting to board a plane from Boston. Knowing my dad was very ill and that my sister would want … Continue reading How to Make a Decision When There Are No Good Choices

How to Bear Your Loneliness: Grounding Wisdom from the Great Buddhist Teacher Pema Chödrön

Sunlit Solitude by Maria Popova. (Available as a print.) “We are cheating ourselves when we run away from the ambiguity of loneliness.” BY MARIA POPOVA “You are born alone. You die alone. The value of the space in between is trust and love,” the artist Louise Bourgeois wrote in her diary. How much trust and love we wrest from life and lavish upon life is largely a matter of how well we have befriended our existential loneliness — a fundamental fact of every human existence that coexists with our delicate interconnectedness, each a parallel dimension of our lived reality, each pulsating beneath our … Continue reading How to Bear Your Loneliness: Grounding Wisdom from the Great Buddhist Teacher Pema Chödrön

Lessons from the foragers

Hadza hunters in the Gideru mountains, Tanzania. Photo by Matthieu Paley/Paleyphoto Hunter-gatherers don’t live in an economic idyll but their deep appreciation of rest puts industrialised work to shame By Vivek V Venkataraman, is assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Calgary, Canada. He is also assistant director of the Guassa Gelada Research Project in Ethiopia, and the co-founder and co-principal investigator of the Orang Asli Health and Lifeways Project in Peninsular Malaysia. In the seminar I teach about hunter-gatherers, I often ask my students whether they think life was better in the past or … Continue reading Lessons from the foragers

How Our Reality May Be a Sum of All Possible Realities

Richard Feynman’s path integral is both a powerful prediction machine and a philosophy about how the world is. But physicists are still struggling to figure out how to use it, and what it means. BY CHARLIE WOOD The most powerful formula in physics starts with a slender S, the symbol for a sort of sum known as an integral. Further along comes a second S, representing a quantity known as action. Together, these twin S’s form the essence of an equation that is arguably the most effective diviner of the future yet devised. The oracular formula is known as the … Continue reading How Our Reality May Be a Sum of All Possible Realities

Restoring Dignity to Our Animal Kin

Anthropologist Amanda Stronza reflects on death, grief, and the profound interconnections between animals and humans. By Lauren Krauze  Is there a disconnect between what we love and how we live? For the last thirty years, anthropologist Amanda Stronza has been investigating this question through her studies of the relationships between humans and animals. Her research and work in applied conservation have taken her around the world, from Botswana to the Amazon, where she has investigated what influences humans to care about and interact with certain species the way we do.  In recent years, Stronza has become known for her practice of rescuing … Continue reading Restoring Dignity to Our Animal Kin

Einstein on Free Will and the Power of the Imagination

Albert Einstein by Lotte Jacobi. (University of New Hampshire Museum of Art.) “Human being, vegetables or cosmic dust, we all dance to an invisible tune, intoned in the distance by a mysterious player.” BY MARIA POPOVA We are accidents of biochemistry and chance, moving through the world waging wars and writing poems, spellbound by the seductive illusion of the self, every single one of our atoms traceable to some dead star. In the interlude between the two World Wars, days after the stock market crash that sparked the Great Depression, the German-American poet and future Nazi sympathizer George Sylvester Viereck sat … Continue reading Einstein on Free Will and the Power of the Imagination

The ethics of human extinction

Photo by Jackie Dives Why would it be so bad if our species came to an end? It is a question that reveals our latent values and hidden fears Émile P Torres is a PhD candidate in philosophy at Leibniz Universität Hannover in Germany. Their writing has appeared in Philosophy Now, Nautilus, Motherboard and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, among others. They are the author of The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us About the Apocalypse (2016), Morality, Foresight, and Human Flourishing: An Introduction to Existential Risks (2017) and Human Extinction: A History of the Science and Ethics of Annihilation (forthcoming from Routledge). It’s an ominous sign … Continue reading The ethics of human extinction