How to Help Those We Love

The impulse to help floats logically free of any actual ability to do so. Two people can long to be supportive and generous to one another and yet lack all the skills to deliver on their good intentions.

We cause ourselves trouble because we are too slow to recognize an odd, largely unmentioned phenomenon: how varied and particular our notions of help can be.

We take our own preferred style of being soothed as the natural starting point for how to soothe others – but when we are wrong, and our partner’s original distress is compounded by their sense of having been ignored or insulted, we take them to be ungrateful and cruel and vow never to attempt to be kind again.

Read More

Why It Is So Hard to Live in the Present

posted in: Previous Topics, Self | 0

What is it that makes the present, especially the nicer moments of the present, so difficult to experience properly? And why, conversely, can so many events feel easier to enjoy, appreciate and perceive, when they are firmly over?

One benefit of the past is that it is a dramatically foreshortened edited version of the present.

Even the best days of our lives contain a range of dull and uncomfortable moments. But in memory, we lock on to the most consequential moments; and therefore construct sequences that feel a great deal more meaningful and interesting than the settings that generated them.

Read More

The Sanity of ‘Madness’

posted in: Previous Topics, Self | 0

Life requires us to be pretty sane pretty much all the time. We have to be responsible, polite, productive, thoughtful, patient, logical, reliable and successful.

These obligations crept up on us as we were growing up – now our constant reality

No one can keep going like this over a whole lifetime

Because of this we may be drinking too much, waking up in the middle of the night, addicted to the internet, calming ourselves with sedatives, developing twitches and ailments.

Read More

What is Literature for?

Why should we spend our time reading novels or poems when out there big things are going on?

Some of the ways literature benefits us:

1. It saves us time – because it gives us access to a range of emotions and events that would take years, decades, millennia, to try to explore directly.

It is the greatest reality simulator – a machine that puts you through infinitely more situations then you could ever directly witness

Lets you see what its like to get divorces, kill someone, quit your job or make a mistake while leading your country

It lets you access your life in relation to others

Read More

The Uses of Envy

posted in: Previous Topics, Self | 0

When we feel envy, we are inclined not to exam it – instead we feel ashamed and guilty.

Envy, like fear, is an important emotion that exists for some good reasons – its there to help us know what we want.

Its a call to action about what we should be doing with the rest of our lives.

Read More

1 2 3 4 5 6 9