culture

Your Brain on Grief, Your Heart on Healing

“Grief is a heart-wrenchingly painful problem for the brain to solve, and grieving necessitates learning to live in the world with the absence of someone you love deeply, who is ingrained in your understanding of the world… For the brain, your loved one is simultaneously gone and also everlasting, and you are walking through two worlds at the same time.” …

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The Healing Power of Flowers, Light, and Variety: Florence Nightingale’s Remedy for Physical Breakdown and Psychological Burnout

“People say the effect is only on the mind. It is no such thing. The effect is on the body, too.” …

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Trees at Night: Rebecca Solnit Reads and Reflects on a Stunning Century-Old Poem by the Young Harlem Renaissance Poet Helene Johnson

An eighteen-year-old prodigy’s song of praise for the eternal consolation of trees. …

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Torment and Triumph: The Remarkable Story Behind Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”

A hymn of rage, a hymn of redemption, and a timeless love letter to the possible. …

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The Faith of the Naturist: John Burroughs’s Superb Century-Old Manifesto for Spirituality in the Age of Science

“Communing with God is communing with our own hearts, our own best selves, not with something foreign and accidental. Saints and devotees have gone into the wilderness to find God; of course they took God with them.” …

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Things to Look Forward to: An Illustrated Celebration of Living with Presence in Uncertain Times, Disguised as a Love Letter to the Future

Love, laundry, and the miraculous in the mundane. …

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The Science of Working Out the Body and the Soul: How the Art of Exercise Was Born, Lost, and Rediscovered

“A history of exercise is not really — or certainly not only — a history of the body. It is, equally, perhaps even primarily, a history of the mind.” …

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200 Years of Great Writers and Artists on the Creative and Spiritual Rewards of Gardening

Emily Dickinson, Virginia Woolf, Oliver Sacks, Rebecca Solnit, Bronson Alcott, Michael Pollan, Jamaica Kincaid, and more. …

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Biking Through Time: Brooklyn Youth Chorus Sings Composer Paola Prestini’s Anthem for Women’s Freedom of Body and Mind

A two-wheel romp through the topography of progress from Victorian times to rural Spain to twentieth-century America. …

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Finn’s Feather: A Tender Illustrated Meditation on Rediscovering the Joy of Aliveness on the Other Side of Loss

Because grief, too, is a thing with feathers. …

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The Ever-Present Origin: Swiss Poet, Philosopher, and Linguist Jean Gebser’s Prescient 1949 Vision for the Evolution of Consciousness

“Origin is ever-present. It is not a beginning, since all beginning is linked with time… not just the ‘now’… or a unit of time. It is ever-originating, an achievement of full integration and continuous renewal.” …

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Kosmos: Artist Dustin Yellin Reads Walt Whitman’s Timeless Hymn to Human Nature as a Miniature of the Universe

A song of praise for that place in us housing “the past, the future, dwelling there, like space, inseparable together.” …

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You Are a Wonder, You Are a Nobody, You Are an Ever-Drifting Ship: Melville on the Mystery of What Makes Us Who We Are

“There is no steady unretracing progress in this life; we do not advance through fixed gradations, and at the last one pause… We trace the round again; and are… Ifs eternally.” …

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Emily Dickinson’s Botanical Inspiration: Stunning 19th-Century Flower Paintings by the Forgotten Artist and Poet Clarissa Munger Badger

A vibrant celebration of flowers as “brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,” as “stars… wherein we read our history.” …

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Atoms with Consciousness: Yo-Yo Ma Performs Richard Feynman’s Ode to the Wonder of Life, Animated

“Out of the cradle onto the dry land… here it is standing… atoms with consciousness… matter with curiosity… I… a universe of atoms… an atom in the universe.” …

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The Art of Putting Your Talent in the Service of the World: The Russian Prince Turned Anarchist and Pioneering Scientist Peter Kropotkin’s Advice to the Young

“Courage, devotion, the spirit of sacrifice, are as contagious as cowardice, submission, and panic.” …

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Octopus Empire: An Animated Poem

A playful and poignant what-if for the planet. …

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We Are Made of Music, We Are Made of Time: Violinist Natalie Hodges on the Poetic Science of Sound and Feeling

“Time renders most individual moments meaningless… but it is only through the passage of time that life acquires its meaning. And that meaning itself is constantly in flux.” …

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The More Loving One: The Science of Entropy and the Art of Alternative Endings

“If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me.” …

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How to Face the Centuries with Confidence: The Mystery of the World’s Most Majestic Tree

“The calm deposition of the rings… has gone on millimeter by millimeter for millennium after millennium — advancing ripples in the tide of time.” …

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Hope, Love, and the Remedy for Despair, from Gabriel Marcel to Nick Cave

“To love anybody is to expect something from him, something which can neither be defined nor foreseen; it is at the same time in someway to make it possible for him to fulfill this expectation.” …

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The Art of Choosing Love Over Not-Love: Rumi’s Antidote to Our Human Tragedy

“You’ll long for me when I’m gone… You’ll kiss the headstone of my grave… Kiss my face instead!” …

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Against the Gods: Iris Murdoch on Truth, the Meaning of Goodness, and How Attention Unmasks the Universe

“When we really know something we feel we’ve always known it. Yet also it’s terribly distant, farther than any star… beyond the world, not in the clouds or in heaven, but a light that shows the world, this world, as it really is.” …

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Margaret Wise Brown and the Puzzle of What Makes a Thing Itself (or You Yourself)

Aristotle, Alice, and a back flap. …

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Dirge Without Music: Emmy Noether, Symmetry, and the Conservation of Energy (Amanda Palmer Reads Edna St. Vincent Millay, Animated by Sophie Blackall)

“Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you. Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.” …

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Snacks Have Lost Their Damn Minds

It was the spring, of 2021 and Avi Bonnerjee, a 35-year-old Brooklyn resident, was shopping for groceries. While perusing the pasta shelves, something caught his eye: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac ’N Cheese. “The package had a very cool cheetah on it, which seemed like a weird way to sell macaroni and cheese, or any food. And it was bright red, with Guy Fieri–style imagery of flames,” he recalls. “I felt compelled to buy it.” Read More >> …

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