20-Year-Old Hunter S. Thompson’s Superb Advice on How to Find Your Purpose and Live a Meaningful Life. As a hopeless lover of both letters and famous advice, I was delighted to discover a letter 20-year-old Hunter S. Thompson — gonzo journalism godfather, pundit of media politics, dark philosopher — penned to his friend Hume Logan in 1958.
Found in Letters of Note: Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience (public library | IndieBound) — the aptly titled, superb collection based on Shaun Usher’s indispensable website of the same name — the letter is an exquisite addition to luminaries’ reflections on the meaning of life, speaking to what it really means to find your purpose. Cautious that “all advice can only be a product of the man who gives it” — a caveat other literary legends have stressed with varying degrees of irreverence — Thompson begins with a necessary disclaimer about the very notion of advice-giving: To give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania.
Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. Ray Bradbury on Writing, Emotion vs. Intelligence, and the Core of Creativity. By Maria Popova “You can only go with loves in this life.” Between 1973 and 1974, journalist James Day hosted the short-lived but wonderful public television interview series Day at Night. Among his guests was the inimitable Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920–June 5, 2012) — beloved writer, man of routine, tireless champion of space exploration, patron saint of public libraries, passionate proponent of doing what you love and writing with joy. Highlights from the interview, which has been kindly digitized by CUNY TV, are transcribed below.
On the misunderstood, and often dismissed, value of the fantasy genre: The ability to fantasize is the ability to survive, and the ability to fantasize is the ability to grow. On the scope-expanding quality of science fiction, something Isaac Asimov has attested to as well: The great thing about growing up with science fiction is that you have an interest in everything. On the formative influence of fairy tales and Greek myths A resounding secular “Amen!” The Evolutionary Mystery of Left-Handedness and What It Reveals About How the Brain Works. By Maria Popova From Medieval sword-fighters to Broca’s brains, or why the hand may hold the key to the link between creativity and mental illness.
“Sahara is too little price / to pay for thy Right hand,” Emily Dickinson wrote in a poem. “The right hand = the hand that is aggressive, the hand that masturbates,” Susan Sontag pondered in her diary in 1964. “Therefore, to prefer the left hand! … To romanticize it, to sentimentalize it!” The human hand has long carried cultural baggage, and yet we still struggle to unclutch from it the myths and reveal the realities. The question of why some humans are left-handed — including such notable specimens as Plato, Charles Darwin, Carl Sagan, Debbie Millman, Stephen Jay Gould, Noam Chomsky, and Albert Einstein* — has perplexed scientists for centuries.
In the Western world, left-handedness has long been associated with the worst of the worst: sin, devil worship, Satan himself, and just an all-around bad position with God. Carl Sagan, a lefty. How to Be Alone: An Antidote to One of the Central Anxieties and Greatest Paradoxes of Our Time. By Maria Popova “We live in a society which sees high self-esteem as a proof of well-being, but we do not want to be intimate with this admirable and desirable person.”
If the odds of finding one’s soul mate are so dreadfully dismal and the secret of lasting love is largely a matter of concession, is it any wonder that a growing number of people choose to go solo? The choice of solitude, of active aloneness, has relevance not only to romance but to all human bonds — even Emerson, perhaps the most eloquent champion of friendship in the English language, lived a significant portion of his life in active solitude, the very state that enabled him to produce his enduring essays and journals. And yet that choice is one our culture treats with equal parts apprehension and contempt, particularly in our age of fetishistic connectivity.
Solitude, the kind we elect ourselves, is met with judgement and enslaved by stigma. Illustration by Alessandro Sanna from 'The River.' Donating = Loving. The best relationship advice you'll ever get, what cognitive science reveals about the perfect daily routine and the psychology of writing, and more. Hey Maria! If you missed last week's edition – Werner Herzog on creativity and making a living of doing what you love, Tolstoy's letters to Gandhi on why we hurt each other, Maya Angelou on courage and facing evil, and more – you can catch up right here.
And if you're enjoying this, please consider supporting with a modest donation – every little bit helps, and comes enormously appreciated. The Psychology of Writing and the Cognitive Science of the Perfect Daily Routine Reflecting on the ritualization of creativity, Bukowski famously scoffed that "air and light and time and space have nothing to do with.
" Samuel Johnson similarly contended that "a man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it. " And yet some of history's most successful and prolific writers were women and men of religious daily routines and odd creative rituals. (Even Buk himself ended up sticking to a peculiar daily routine.) Wendy MacNaughton for Brain Pickings Darwin's Battle with Anxiety. Ancient Cherokee Indian Tale of the Origin of Illness. Long ago the humans and the animals got along fine. All the peoples, human and animal, could communicate with each other and were at peace. The animals of that long-ago time were much larger than the animals of today. Indeed, the animals of today are but shadows of those who once were. There came a time when we humans forgot our place and broke the harmony. The animals decided something had to be done about this human problem.
“It’s these humans; they kill us indiscriminately.” “How do they kill us?” “With bows and arrows.” “Of what are their bows made?” “The bow of locust wood and the bowstring of our guts.” The bears decided they would make bows of their own with which to kill the humans. After the bear’s claws were cut, he could shoot a bow as well as any man. “Wait!” “By climbing trees to get honey and by ripping open rotten logs to find insects and by digging in the earth for rodents and by catching fish.” “How do we do all these things?” “With our long claws.” A Short Guide to a Happy Life: Anna Quindlen on Work, Joy, and How to Live Rather Than Exist. By Maria Popova “You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are.” The commencement address is a special kind of modern communication art, and its greatest masterpieces tend to either become a book — take, for instance, David Foster Wallace on the meaning of life, Neil Gaiman on the resilience of the creative spirit, Ann Patchett on storytelling and belonging, and Joseph Brodsky on winning the game of life — or have originated from a book, such as Debbie Millman on courage and the creative life.
One of the greatest commencement speeches of all time, however, has an unusual story that flies in the face of both traditional trajectories. In 2000, Villanova University invited Pulitzer-Prize-winning author, journalist, and New York Times op-ed columnist Anna Quindlen to deliver the annual commencement address. But once the announcement was made, a group of conservative students staged a protest against Quindlen’s strong liberal views. Quindlen begins: She continues: How Our Minds Mislead Us: The Marvels and Flaws of Our Intuition. By Maria Popova “The confidence people have in their beliefs is not a measure of the quality of evidence but of the coherence of the story that the mind has managed to construct.”
Every year, intellectual impresario and Edge editor John Brockman summons some of our era’s greatest thinkers and unleashes them on one provocative question, whether it’s the single most elegant theory of how the world works or the best way to enhance our cognitive toolkit. This year, he sets out on the most ambitious quest yet, a meta-exploration of thought itself: Thinking: The New Science of Decision-Making, Problem-Solving, and Prediction (public library) collects short essays and lecture adaptations from such celebrated and wide-ranging (though not in gender) minds as Daniel Dennett, Jonathan Haidt, Dan Gilbert, and Timothy Wilson, covering subjects as diverse as morality, essentialism, and the adolescent brain. There is no sharp line between intuition and perception. … Perception is predictive. . . . Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity. By Maria Popova Why creativity is like LEGO, or what Richard Dawkins has to do with Susan Sontag and Gandhi.
In May, I had the pleasure of speaking at the wonderful Creative Mornings free lecture series masterminded by my studiomate Tina of Swiss Miss fame. I spoke about Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity, something at the heart of Brain Pickings and of increasing importance as we face our present information reality. The talk is now available online — full (approximate) transcript below, enhanced with images and links to all materials referenced in the talk. These are pages from the most famous florilegium, completed by Thomas of Ireland in the 14th century.
Florilegia were compilations of excerpts from other writings, essentially mashing up selected passages and connecting dots from existing texts to illuminate a specific topic or doctrine or idea. In talking about these medieval manuscripts, Adam Gopnik writes in The New Yorker: You may have heard this anecdote. Do stuff. Dan Ariely on the Truth About Dishonesty, Animated.
You Are Not So Smart: A Field Guide to the Brain’s Guile. By Maria Popova The science of why 600 Facebook “friends” are an illusion, or why brand loyalty is a product of the ego. We spend most of our lives going around believing we are rational, logical beings who make carefully weighted decisions based on objective facts in stable circumstances. Of course, as both a growing body of research and our own retrospective experience demonstrate, this couldn’t be further from the truth. For the past three years, David McRaney’s cheekily titled yet infinitely intelligent You Are Not So Smart has been one of my favorite smart blogs, tirelessly debunking the many ways in which our minds play tricks on us and the false interpretations we have of those trickeries. The original trailer for the book deals with something the psychology of which we’ve previously explored — procrastination: And this excellent alternative trailer is a straight shot to our favorite brilliant book trailers: Donating = Loving Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter.
How to Master on the Art of Getting Noticed: Austin Kleon’s Advice to Aspiring Artists. By Maria Popova How to balance the contagiousness of raw enthusiasm with the humility of knowing we’re all in this together. In 2012, artist Austin Kleon gave us Steal Like an Artist, a modern manifesto for combinatorial creativity that went on to become one of the best art books that year. He now returns with Show Your Work! (public library) — “a book for people who hate the very idea of self-promotion,” in which Kleon addresses with equal parts humility, honesty, and humor one of the quintessential questions of the creative life: How do you get “discovered”?
In some ways, the book is the mirror-image of Kleon’s debut — rather than encouraging you to “steal” from others, meaning be influenced by them, it offers a blueprint to making your work influential enough to be theft-worthy. Complementing the advice is Kleon’s own artwork — his signature “newspaper blackout” poems — as a sort of meta-case for sharing as a modern art that requires courage, commitment, and creative integrity.
10 Books for the Creative Soul | Glantz Design. Sometimes all you need to get your creative juices flowing is a good read. The quest to find an entertaining, reliable, and genuinely interesting book can be hard, but being the good friends that we are, we did the searching for you. We have compiled a list of some of the most helpful, funny, and creative books out there, ranging from educational content—to doodles that are just fun to look at. Get inspired and take a look at these literary gems. 1. Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills This book offers a healthy amount of exercises to get your gears turning Purchase it here. 2.
Purchase it here. 3. Purchase it here. 4. Purchase it here. 5. Purchase it here. 6. 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design Purchase it here. 7. Purchase it here. 8. Purchase it here. 9. Purchase it here. 10. Purchase it here. Also, as an added note we are only sharing these because we like them for a variety of different reasons. Amazing Food Science Discovery: Edible Plants ‘Talk’ To Animal Cells, Promote Healing.
A groundbreaking new study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research titled, “Interspecies communication between plant and mouse gut host cells through edible plant derived exosome-like nanoparticles,” reveals a new way that food components ‘talk’ to animal cells by regulating gene expression and conferring significant therapeutic effects. With the recent discovery that non-coding microRNA’s in food are capable of directly altering gene expression within human physiology, this new study further concretizes the notion that the age old aphorism ‘you are what you eat’ is now consistent with cutting edge molecular biology. Exosomes: The ‘Missing Link’ In How Plants and Animal Cells Communicate and Collaborate This is the first study of its kind to look at the role of exosomes, small vesicles secreted by plant and animal cells that participate in intercellular communication, in interspecies (plant-animal) communication.
The New Study Plant Exosomes Affect Mammalian Cells Intimately. I am, because of you: Further reading on Ubuntu. Ubuntu (philosophy) Ubuntu (/uːˈbʊntuː/ oo-BUUN-too; Zulu/Xhosa pronunciation: [ùɓúntʼú]) is a Nguni Bantu term (literally, "human-ness") roughly translating to "human roughness.
" It is an idea from the Southern African region which means literally "human-ness," and is often translated as "humanity towards others," but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity". In Southern Africa, it has come to be used as a term for a kind of humanist philosophy, ethic or ideology, also known as Ubuntuism or Hunhuism (the latter after the corresponding Shona term) propagated in the Africanization (transition to majority rule) process of these countries during the 1980s and 1990s.
Since the transition to democracy in South Africa with the Nelson Mandela presidency in 1994, the term has become more widely known outside of Southern Africa, notably popularized to English language readers by Desmond Tutu (1999). Stanlake J. W. T. Baruch Spinoza. How Fasting Fights Cancer. Welcome! If you want to lose weight, gain muscle, increase energy levels or just generally look and feel healthier you've come to the right place. Here's where to start: Visit the Start Here and Primal Blueprint 101 pages to learn more about the Primal Lifestyle. Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter to receive 10 eBooks, a 7-Day Course of Primal Fundamentals, and more - all for free.
Cut to the chase by visiting PrimalBlueprint.com. There you'll find books, support options, and the best supplements on the planet to help you take control of your health for life. Thanks for visiting! “Everyone has a physician inside him or her; we just have to help it in its work. And: “Instead of using medicine, rather fast a day.” – Plutarch or even: “No kibble today, thanks. For thousands upon thousands of years (during most of which overweight, let alone obese, people were fairly rare), therapeutic fasting was a common protocol for the healing of many a malady.
Now, “natural” is not always good. 1. 2. 2. How values work | Handbook. How Fasting Fights Cancer. Debunking the Myth of the 10,000-Hours Rule: What It Actually Takes to Reach Genius-Level Excellence. Fail Safe: Debbie Millman’s Advice on Courage and the Creative Life. The Architecture of Happiness: Alain De Botton: 9780375424434: Amazon.com. Art as Therapy: Alain de Botton, John Armstrong: 9780714865911: Amazon.com. 100 Ideas That Changed Art. How We Spend Our Days Is How We Spend Our Lives: Annie Dillard on Presence Over Productivity.
The Art of Looking: What 11 Experts Teach Us about Seeing Our Familiar City Block with New Eyes. Salvador Dalí’s Rare, Erotic Vintage Cookbook.