Social media divides democracy 

Social media divides democracy by allowing people to filter their own world and ignore the stuff they don’t agree with. Disagreement is the pulse of an open society. The more ideas we throw out there and discuss, the more likely we are to land on the most advanced solution. Facebook killed openness and smothered curiosity […]

Alan Watts on the law of reversed effort

“When you try to stay on the surface of the water, you sink; but when you try to sink, you float’ and that ‘insecurity is the result of trying to be secure.” — Alan Watts on the ‘law of reversed effort’, also known as the ‘backwards law’ when doing what’s right make things wrong (as […]

Knowing it all exists

The internet reintroduces lost objects. Everything from rare reggae recordings to out of print books finds its way online to be consumed for the first time. Only physical objects like pieces of art retain their scarcity, and therefore their value. But digitization means one copy makes infinite shelf life. Sharing bytes of knowledge amplifies the value of […]

What is doublethink?

“The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to […]

One page at a time

Reading a book, preferably a physical one, is a good way to get your attention back. The problem in reading on smartphones is distractibility. You’re a notification away from checking Instagram, email, or a text. If you’re going to read on a digital device, make it a Kindle. Its lack of functionality — just try […]

Reading into book statistics 

Back in the 1830s, ten thousand people bought Harriet Martineau’s book Illustrations of Political Economy. It’s a remarkable statistic that one hundred and forty thousand read it. Each family owned a copy and passed it around. Each of those one hundred forty thousand readers in 1950 went on to own their own copy. Fast-forward to […]

A collection of chair designs by famous modern architects

“Almost everyone I spoke to says that a chair is a way of demonstrating an architect’s credentials as a designer to a wider audience.” — Agata Toromanoff, art historian The chair represents the essence of work. It is where we put our asses down to get stuff done. Perhaps that is why famous architects have each been […]

How libraries stay current in the digital age

I’m sure if you checked Foursquare’s geolocation data you’d see that libraries are more popular than ever. In the digital age, libraries are having a bit of a renaissance. Libraries, like bookstores and coffee shops, are spaces of focus. They fill a desire to be in public but study within a private area. Just as […]

Get Nostalgic: It’s National Coloring Book Day

A few days ago I tweeted “No more adult coloring books.” I did not mean to disparage the inner artist, just the fad that makes $12 million in sales a year. Why do people stop making art in the first place? “Children learn through play, but adults play through art.” – Brian Eno I found […]

Rediscovering Britain’s cols and passes 

Cols are thousand-year-old passageways built between valleys, off the beaten path of the main trails which shepherds, merchants, and armies once traversed the lands. Now these cols are a “rambler’s delight.” Graham Robb explores the wonderment of cols in his new book Cols and Passes of the British Isles. He discovers that there are in fact […]

Antifragile: A Definition

The antifragile loves randomness and uncertainty, which also means— crucially—a love of errors, a certain class of errors. Antifragility has a singular property of allowing us to deal with the unknown, to do things without understanding them— and do them well. Let me be more aggressive: we are largely better at doing than we are […]

The daily rituals of the world’s most creative people

“The busier people were less precious—you learn to fit [your creative work] in, and you don’t have these elaborate eccentric rituals if you have children or a day job. Someone like Joseph Heller wrote Catch 22 in the evenings after work. He’d write for two or three hours a night after his job as an advertising executive […]

Haruki Murakami: ‘I run in order to acquire a void’

“But really as I run, I don’t think much of anything worth mentioning. I just run. I run in a void. Or maybe I should put it the other way: I run in order to acquire a void… As I run I tell myself to think of a river. And clouds. But essentially I’m not […]

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