Again and again, we are led to ask the same big question: “what is stopping us from ending our life?”

Francisco de Goya, The Giant, 1808–1812

To be or not to be that is the question — William Shakespeare

The 1998 short story, The Depressed Person, by David Foster Wallace is the single most accurate and bone-chilling account of the life of a clinically depressed person.

David wrote the story as if he knew every murky detail of walking down a path with no hope of ever finding light at the end of the tunnel.

His words would yield even more power when you realize that…

A 14th-century North-African scholar of Islam explained ways of seeing the past and learning from it…

Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” 1937

What is history? A screenshot of events in time? Not so fast.

In A Brief History of History, Colin Wells lays out how we have come to know and study history.

History is not simply a playback of all the stuff that happened in the past. We come to know and not know about the past through those that remember, record, analyze, write and store events. …

“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” ― Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living

Everyone has their favorite thing. Mine is a cup of tea.

Wabi Sabi Teapot: Picture from Pinterest

Sometimes, everyday ordinary things can teach us more about life than a pile of wisdom books.

The Chinese word, chayi, meaning “the art of drinking tea” or simply ch’a meaning “tea” encapsulates a history of deep personal and political implications — beauty, aesthetic, Zen ethics, ritual, and community.

The legend has it that some 1500 years ago, Bodhidharma, the Zen Buddhist priest, who…

Have you ever made a paper boat? Where you fold a standard size paper, and draw out the edges to assemble a boat without touching any scissor or glue or tape.

I used to make that boat as a kid. And sail it around in the monsoon after which I used to feel like an origami master. But a simple paper boat is just a drop in the vast and amazing world of origami art. Origami, in Japanese, simply means the art of folding paper. In 1680 the poet, Ihara Saikaku wrote a short verse on origami butterflies. Even though…

In February 2013, the Islamist militants in Syria destroyed the statue of the eleventh-century classic Arabic poet Abu Ala Al Ma’arri. The bronze statue that stood in the heart of Al Maarri’s birthplace town Maarat-ul-Numan was not just a statue, it was the last standing symbol of freethought and philosophical inquisition of Muslim heritage.

Al Ma’arri simply known as the ‘blind poet’ was a controversial rationalist who believed that reason was the chief source of truth and divinity. He was one of the three main heretics of Islam along with Ibn Al-Rawandi and al-Tawhīdī who lived during his time. …

These old folk short stories are simply braingasmic…

“No matter how smart you are, you’re smarter if you take the easy ways when they are available.”
Daniel C. Dennett, Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking

A random artsy photo from The Economist

I am going to present a cliche.

Thinking. is. hard.

That’s weird, right? Because thinking seems so natural just like breathing or swallowing or blinking…

But to be honest, thinking is nothing like that. In fact, it’s more like learning to play the piano or developing the habit of waking up early.

That is why it’s so important to constantly work out and…

The 20th century acclaimed author of absurd stories hid many discomforting truths about the human condition…

“A fine wound is all I brought into the world” — From A Country’s Doctor

Franz Kafka is called many things.

The Atlantic described him as ‘cripplingly indecisive, terrified by life, obsessed with death.’

Elsewhere, he is referred to as ‘a deeply tormented soul, a lover of torture, a sadomasochist, devilishly disoriented, nightmarishly bleak, excruciatingly hopeless, pathetically dark…

While he might be all of those things, he was also this one thing. And that is a brilliant writer who understood the complexities of the human psyche.

In his literary works which comprised of three unfinished novels which he never intended…

You might be reading books wrong…

Photo: Getty Images

Reading fast has become the new flex. Take it from the self-help guru Tai Lopez whose TEDx Talk, Why I Read A Book A Day (And Why You Should Too) has gained over 11 million views on YouTube. If that’s not enough, then click on Jay Shetty, the monk turned entrepreneur, whose video How I Read A Book A Day promises to change your life.

The basic idea behind such propositions is that: the more books you read, the better your life will be.

This is not a surprise because a lot of people hold this view. The view that…

The difficult art of living coherently in an age full of contradictions…

It is your job to comport yourself humbly and to consistently hew to your moral ideals. Cling to what you know in your heart is best — Epictetus

In the classic masterpiece, War and Peace, the protagonist Pierre Bezukhov goes through a tough life.

No, he is not poor. No, he is not lonely. And no, he has never been near war.

But still, he has a tough life. How can that be?

In the opening scene of the novel, Pierre announces in a party (a lavish party) full of Russian aristocrats that he supports the French Revolution meaning that…

Umberto Eco’s essay, On Beauty, is an absolutely stunning guide to Western Art

You got to believe me. I am one of those people who say that ‘they know absolutely nothing about art.’

Not only that but I am also certainly one of those people who say ‘that they know absolutely nothing about Western art in particular.’

Growing up in a conservative Muslim household, I never had much exposure to art, apart from calligraphy, an art form that is obsessed with the written word. However, when it came to visual art, for instance, I was as clueless as a pirate wearing two eye patches. Really. …

Rushie J.

Science | Sex | Spirituality. Trying to make sense of a senseless world

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