This is a film about how the world became modern – and in particular what is exciting and beautiful about this development, and at the same time, what is hugely depressing and possibly madness-inducing about it. “Since the middle of the eighteenth century, beginning in Northern Europe and then spreading to every corner of theContinue reading “HISTORY OF IDEAS: Modernity – School of Life”
Soren Kierkegaard is useful to us because of the intensity of his despair at the compromises and cruelties of daily life. He is a companion for our darkest moments.
There is no more important book to understand our times than Albert Camus’s The Plague, a novel about a virus that spreads uncontrollably from animals to humans and ends up destroying half the population of a representative modern town. Camus speaks to us now not because he was a magical seer, but because he correctlyContinue reading “School of Life: Albert Camus – The Plague”
“Very many of us suffer from a peculiar-sounding problem: an inability to properly inhabit the stretch of time we call ‘the present’. Maybe we’re on a beautiful beach on a sunny day, the sky is azure and the palm trees slender and implausibly delicate, but most of ‘us’ isn’t actually here at all, it’s somewhereContinue reading “Why It Is So Hard to Live in the Present – School of Life”
How the Stoics can help us tackle anxiety, fury and loss of perspective – and realise that very little is needed to make a happy life.
Many of us have a tendency to be very unkind towards ourselves; made all the more pernicious by the fact that we are not even aware of doing so. To practice greater self-compassion, we need to recognise the forms our self-hatred takes – and where their roots might lie.
The philosopher and theologian Augustine had fascinating things to say about success and failure.
In her novels and essays, Virginia Woolf captured the intimate moments of the 20th century like no one else. She opens our eyes to the neglected value of daily experiences.
Immanuel Kant was acutely aware of living in an age when philosophy would need to supplant the role once played by religion.
Voltaire’s phrase – you must cultivate your own garden – is one of the most famous statements in the world. But what did Voltaire mean by this – and what can we learn from it to help us live our lives today? Here is a recipe for how to survive our troubled times.