Against Seriousness: On Avoiding Closed-Mindedness

One of Harvard’s most famous professors to ever live was William James. Having studied medicine and biology, he was first appointed as an instructor in physiology. From there, he went on to teach anatomy, before…

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Everything You Do Can Be Explained by Two Things

In 600 BC, King Ayattes of the ancient Kingdom of Lydia — or what we today know as modern-day Turkey — minted the first official currency. This coin, an imperfectly molded circle, featured a roaring lion. Before that, it…

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The Danger and the Delusion of Empathy

The word empathy comes from the Greek word empatheia. In ancient Greek, the core connotation associated with the word was passion, not unlike the English definition. In modern Greek, however, the translation is closer to…

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Is Technology Harming Us or Liberating Us?

One of the possible definitions for the word Prometheus is forethought — to look ahead, to imagine. And if we are liberal with this definition, then, perhaps, it’s also about taking what’s in that imagination and bringing…

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Beyond Insecurity: The Right Kind of Ambition

Humans are driven to act by two primary sources of motivation: fear and desire. We avoid what is harmful, what is painful, what has the capacity to damage us. We strive for what is beneficial,…

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The Purpose of Life From a First Principle View

One of Albert Einstein’s great legacies is his Gedanken experiments (or thought experiments). He was a competent mathematician, of course, but more than that, his strength was in his ability to ask interesting and novel…

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The Element That Gives Life Meaning

“Put the world’s greatest philosopher on a plank that is wider than need be,” the late polymath Blaise Pascal wrote in his now-famous notebook Pensees, “if there is a precipice below, although his reason may…

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Meditation as Training

Nature has many secrets, but she also hides plenty in plain sight. Looked at a certain way, the wind is one. What it is, you may ask? A mass movement of air, mostly a combination…

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Target the Negative, Ignore the Positive

The great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy begins his masterpiece Anna Karenina with a simple observation he then illuminates throughout the novel: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”…

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Being Rich Without Making Money Your Life

“Consumers buy products whose advertising promises them value for money, beauty, nutrition, relief from suffering, social status and so on.” The idea is simple, the underlying message profound, and David Ogilvy built a marketing legacy…

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