Please don’t misunderstand. Gratitude, and the cultivation of gratitude, are wonderful. What I am asking is whether there are ways in which gratitude, or messaging about gratitude, or the cultivation of gratitude, can go wrong? How can gratitude go wrong? Have you ever experienced or seen this? (This image thanks to Pexels) Continue reading Question of the Day: How can gratitude sometimes go wrong?
There was an interesting article about nasal congestion published not long ago. It’s by Sarah Zhang, called “Everything I Thought I Knew About Nasal Congestion Is Wrong,” and published in The Atlantic. Zhang explains some things I wasn’t fully aware of, and which seemed useful as well as kind of interesting. In this post I’ll share some of the major points. The bit of knowledge … Continue reading Interesting Things I Didn’t Know About Nasal Congestion Either
Today I’m going to depart from my usual topics in order to talk about and show you some photographic artwork I’ve been working on. I’m including a digital image, plus the same print under two different lighting conditions. The photograph, or artwork, that I’m showing you in this post belongs to a specific project I began about a year and a half ago. The piece … Continue reading Autumn Sky Artwork- First Release of a New Photographic Project
It’s northern hemisphere autumn, or at least it’s about to be. True, we’ve passed the fall equinox, which is why I say it’s autumn. Yet at the time I’m writing this (the first week of October), it hardly looks or feels like autumn. The color show, I think, is perhaps starting late this year, at least where I live. Mostly the foliage remains a normal, … Continue reading Early October Musings- Vital Sleep, Not Death; And The Marvel of Gray and Green
That we come to know of this ancient idea of the philosopher and philosophy is not trivial. I say “come to know” because it isn’t simply that we don’t pay enough attention to it. The idea seems somehow to be hidden and fairly unknown, even though it ought to be evident and well-known. This is all the more curious because… Continue reading Recovering the Original Meaning of Philosophy
I think the claim that Marcus Aurelius would not have thought himself a philosopher is incorrect. At the same time, the way it is incorrect is very interesting. Exploring this will show us some important things about what philosophy and philosophers were in the ancient world, what they are perceived to be now, and how we might choose to regard and engage in philosophy going forward. Continue reading Marcus Aurelius: What Is a Philosopher?
Not that long ago, I found myself stopped at a traffic light, across from a rather pricey development combining shopping and dining. Next to the road was a large sign, advertising for the entire place. What caught my eye was the slogan for this place: “Feed Your Appetite.” I was partly amazed, partly amused, and partly disturbed. Of course, if what “feed your appetite” meant … Continue reading Feed Your Appetite: An Unintentionally Honest Slogan?
You might be under the impression that there’s some tension, or even conflict and contradiction, between compassion and personal boundaries. Although surely this is a widely shared, culturally pervasive impression, it could hardly be further from the truth. In this post I’ll elaborate on how and why true compassion and appropriate personal boundaries are intrinsically linked, drawing heavily on the words of two teachers and … Continue reading Compassion and Personal Boundaries: No Conflict At All
This post (or page), which will continue to be updated, organizes links to my series of posts relating to depression’s causes, possible solutions, and Johann Hari’s “Lost Connections” Continue reading This Series of Posts Concerning Depression’s Social-Environmental Causes, Solutions, and Johann Hari’s “Lost Connections”
One cause of depression turns out to be spending one’s time in work that isn’t meaningful. But what does “not meaningful” mean, and how and why does it contribute to depression? As I’ve written about previously, there are at least six types of social-environmental causes of depression, helpfully cataloged and discussed by Johann Hari in Lost Connections (read my post about the book here). One … Continue reading Depression and Disconnection from Meaningful Work
I often like to use the word ‘philosophy’ in a somewhat unusual way. What I mean is philosophy understood as a craft, skill, or art of living. This is, actually, how philosophy was originally understood and practiced, in the ancient Greek and Roman periods of what we now call Western philosophy. That understanding, and even that practice, has never completely gone away. It has, however, … Continue reading Philosophy as an Art of Living
Have you encountered these difficulties in attempting to live Stoically? (Living philosophically?) After a conversation I had, some time ago, about living as a Stoic philosopher, I found myself wondering what pitfalls and stumbling blocks a person is likely to encounter when they try seriously to integrate Stoic teachings and practice into their life. Four things came to mind almost at once. I’m going to … Continue reading Four ways we may stumble in attempting to live Stoically
One most often sees Right Livelihood, the fifth path factor of the Noble Eightfold Path, defined negatively, in terms of not causing harm. … This naturally may raise the question: Ought right livelihood to do significantly more than simply not harming and not impeding spiritual growth? Ought it not to go farther, and do something positively beneficial as well? Continue reading Right Livelihood: Is It More Than Not Harming?
In a recent post, I mentioned one specific non-pharmaceutical, anti-depressant strategy: This is, when you sense depression and anxiety beginning to grow, rather than attempting to cheer yourself up by doing something alone and directly for yourself, instead try to do something for someone else. … Today I’d like to reflect on that strategy. Let me start with some cautions, then move toward how get this strategy right, which has a lot to do with understanding it properly. Continue reading The Do-Something-for-Someone-Else Strategy: A Specific Anti-Depressant Re-Connection
Two years ago, I published two short posts about the difference intrinsic or true self-esteem and merely contingent self-esteem; the importance of intrinsic self-esteem; and the problem with only having contingent self-esteem. I think it’s time to revisit this topic. Having reviewed the old posts, they seem good to me. However, some of the comments suggest that this is a matter which is difficult to … Continue reading Intrinsic Self-Esteem: What It Is and Why We Need It
When people in the United States intentionally sought to become happier, they tended to fail. … When people in East Asia intentionally sought to become happier, they tended to succeed. … What people actually do when they seek happiness, in the U.S. and in East Asia, differs sharply in one key way. Continue reading Effective and Ineffective Pursuits of Happiness: Investing in Relationships with Others Is an Anti-Depressant
Today I want to talk about one major cause of depression and the prospect of counteracting or removing that cause. This cause is disconnection from others, or loneliness (more on that shortly). I’m basing this largely on Johann Hari’s investigation and discussion of these matters in his amazing book Lost Connections, which I wrote about in a previous post, explaining what the book is about … Continue reading Disconnection from Others and Loneliness: One Social-Environmental Cause of Depression
The idea of a non-pharmaceutical anti-depressant might be the single most important thing in Johann Hari’s amazing and fairly recent book: Lost Connections. It radically reframes the entire dominant way of thinking about the treatment and prevention of depression, and does this by radically expanding, in a hopeful, realistic, and evidence-based manner, the way we’ve come to assume depression will be treated. Continue reading The Idea of a Non-Pharmaceutical Anti-Depressant
Actually, the book is a great guide to real happiness if you fall into any of the following categories: Continue reading A Guide to Happiness for Anyone: Jennifer Taitz’s “How to Be Single and Happy” Isn’t Only for Single People
A new goal of mine is to leave earlier than on-time. It’s about doing just a little less, in order to have a lot less distress, and it’s the result of a quite specific quality-of-life insight. If you’re like me, you’re often a bit of a scrambler… Continue reading Leaving Earlier: Why It’s Better Than On Time