Lao Tzu – a Film

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It’s difficult to know much for certain about the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. Even his name can be a little confusing: it’s also sometimes translated as Laozi or Lao Tze.

Clouds, Trees, Streams – a Film

The Philosophy of Heidegger – a Film

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We are preoccupied with ourselves in unhelpful ways. The clouds, however, know nothing of us. They float by, utterly unaware of our concerns. These vast, quiet things are always to hand.

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Martin Heidegger is, without doubt, the most incomprehensible German philosopher that ever lived. Nothing quite rivals the prose in his masterpiece, Being and Time.

The Philosophy of Sartre – a Film

Calm: On the Road – a Film

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Jean-Paul Sartre made philosophy and thinking glamorous. He was born in Paris in 1905. His father, a navy captain, died when he was a baby and he grew up extremely close to his mother until she remarried.

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Neglected parts of one's inner life emerge on the road: ideas, associations, feelings. Driving is an unexpected tool for thinking. Out here, it becomes less frightening to look inside us.

The Psychology of Colour 

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Alongside the notes of the musical keyboard and the letters of the alphabet, colours provide the building blocks of our emotions. It is not for nothing that we say we are ‘feeling blue’ or ‘seeing red’.

The Great Eastern Philosophers: The Buddha

The Great Philosophers: Thomas Aquinas

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The story of the Buddha’s life, like all of Buddhism, is a story about confronting suffering. He was born between the sixth and fourth century BC, the son of a wealthy king in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal.

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It seems, at first, weird that we might learn from him. Thomas Aquinas was a medieval saint, said in moments of high excitement to levitate and have visions of the Virgin Mary.

The Great Eastern Philosophers: Lao Tzu

Meditation at the Shore – a Film

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Little is truly known about the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (sometimes also known as Laozi or Lao Tze), who is a guiding figure in Daoism (also translated as Taoism), a still popular spiritual practice.

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The sea has been pounding the rocks mercilessly since dawn. How much lies beneath that deceptively simple word: the sea? In truth, a continuous, roiling, evolving drama of a billion waves.

The Great Architects: Louis Kahn

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Modern architecture produces truly innovative work: glittering, staggeringly tall buildings, opera houses that look like folded origami, even museums that look like spaceships.

The Great Artists: Christo and Jeanne-Claude 

On Not Liking the Way One Looks

Christo Gains Approval To Drape Cloths Throughout Central Park's Promenades

We tend to get nervous around the idea of political art. Some terrible things have been done in its name: it’s encouraged fanaticism, demonised vulnerable groups and pumped out delusional propaganda.

Tyrone Power

Frustration with one’s appearance is an embarrassing - but in truth highly serious and valid - pain. Mature, reasonable people are not supposed to go around regretting their nose or hair.

Philosophy in the Kitchen

The Great Anthropologists: Margaret Mead

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Few philosophers have achieved fame as cooks. However, many of their theories can be perfectly explained through the medium of food. Here we inaugurate a new series, Philosophy in the Kitchen.

Samoan Girls

When we use ‘modern’ to describe something, it’s usually a positive. We are very appreciative and even a little smug about the miracles of modern science and the superiority of modern viewpoints.

Very Old Tree Lives Another Day

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Today, as on many days, on the slopes of the White Mountains in eastern California, the sun beat down on the parched, almost lifeless ground from a cloudless, cold sky.

The Philosophy of Calm

The Great Artists: Cy Twombly 

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There are so many reasons to be frantic. And yet - as we know in our hearts - it is even more of a priority to keep an occasional appointment with a deeper, quieter part of ourselves.

Roman Classic Surprise: Cy Twombly

Abstract art continues to provoke annoyance and confusion in equal measure. You know the kind of thing: a large empty white canvas, with a solitary deep black line down the middle.

The Great Philosophers: Niccolò Machiavelli

The Great Artists: Henri Matisse 

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Our assessment of politicians is torn between hope and disappointment. On the one hand, we have an idealistic idea that a politician should be an upright hero.

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The cultural elite gets nervous about cheerful or sweet art. They worry that pretty, happy works of art are in denial about how bad the state of the world is and how much suffering there is in almost every life.

A Short Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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All subjects have their specialised vocabularies; a set of words that initially sound unusual, even a touch frightening, but that can also prove oddly beautiful and beguiling.

The Great Artists: Johannes Vermeer 

The Great Artists: Caspar David Friedrich

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We live in a world saturated with false glamour. In truth, the problem does not lie with glamour itself, but with the things we have collectively agreed to regard as glamorous.

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One of the unexpectedly important things that art can do for us is teach us how to suffer. It can do so by evoking scenes that are dark or melancholy, and and lend dignity to the suffering we may be experiencing.

The Great Environmentalists: Rachel Carson

The Great Philosophers: John Rawls 

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There’s nothing very natural about caring for nature. The first impulse of humans has almost always been to burn the trees, exhaust the fish stocks, pollute the ground-springs and darken the skies.

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Many of us feel that our societies are a little – or even plain totally – ‘unfair’. But we have a hard time explaining our sense of injustice to the powers that be in a way that sounds rational.

Travel as Therapy: Glenpark Road, Birmingham – for Boredom

Government Pledges Increase In NHS Funding

Abroad is, as we know, the exciting bit. You’ve been so far recently. You were in Abuja only on Tuesday. Yesterday lunchtime, you were having fried plantain in the Wuse district with Promise and Chinwe.

Travel as Therapy: Comuna 13, San Javier, Medellín, Colombia – for Dissatisfaction

Travel as Therapy: Pumping Station, Isla Mayor, Seville – for Snobbery 

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Groups of young men armed with planks of wood roam the alleyways extorting money. Houses are made of bits of tin, old doors, the occasional lump of concrete, oil drums and tarpaulin sheets.

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There are many guide books suggesting what you might do when you get to Seville. But they all agree, pretty much, that you must go both to the Plaza de España and then to the Alcázar.

Latest News from the Ecuadorian Mangrove Forest

Travel as Therapy: Eastown Theatre, Detroit – for Perspective 

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Today, dawn broke as usual over the mangrove swamps of Ecuador's largest tropical forest, the Manglares Churute Reserve.

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It would be unusual today to find a travel agent recommending a sojourn in Detroit as the ideal vacation. The city is, after all, in decline.

Travel as Therapy: Pefkos Beach, Rhodes – for Anxiety 

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You haven’t come to Rhodes to explore the medieval old town or the ancient temple of Apollo. You’ve not been drawn by a longing to try the local delicacy of chickpea fritters and ewe’s milk cheese.

Travel as Therapy: Capri Hotel, Changi Airport, Singapore – for Thinking

Travel as Therapy: Café de Zaak, Utrecht – for Sex Education

Images Of Fraser & Neave Properties and Beverage Products as Company Plans to Spin Off Property Operations

You've been in the air for 12 hours. Now this anonymous box. It was your company's idea. You'd have a chance to sleep a little, then catch the next 11 hour flight, before heading straight into the conference.

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August is perfect for sitting outside at the Café de Zaak in the Korte Minrebroederstraat. The decent beers on tap, plus a generous bring-your-own-meal policy make this one of the nicest cafes in town.

The School of Life

Ten Virtues For The Modern Age