Insomnia – a Film

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It’s far into the night, but sleep won’t come. Not sleeping feels like a disaster, but in smaller doses, insomnia does not need a cure. It’s there for a reason.

The Buddha – a Film

The Great Writers: Virginia Woolf

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The story of the Buddha's life, like all of Buddhism, is the story about confronting suffering. He was born some time between the 6th and 4th century BC, the son of a wealthy king in the Himalayas.

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Virginia Woolf is an icon with a shaky reputation. She is known as depressed—a novelist who, at age 59, drowned herself in the River Ouse outside her weekend home.

The Philosophy of Aristotle – a Film

The Philosophy of Plato – a Film

A Great Teacher

Aristotle was born around 384 BC in the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia, where his father was the royal doctor. He grew up to be arguably the most influential philosopher ever.

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Athens, 2,400 years ago: it's a compact place, only about a quarter of a million people live here. There are fine baths, theatres, temples, shopping arcades and gymnasiums. It's warm for more than half the year.

On Irritability

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Irritability is the tendency to get upset for reasons that seem – to other people – to be pretty minor. Your partner asks you how work went and the way they ask makes you feel intensely agitated.

On Self-pity

The Philosophy of Nietzsche – a Film

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It was a sunny Sunday afternoon; you were nine years old. Your parents wouldn’t let you have any ice cream if you didn’t do your maths homework. It was achingly unfair.

Erland Josephson in Beyond Good and Evil

The challenge begins with how to pronounce his name: the first bit should sound like 'knee', the second like 'cha': 'kneecha'. Then we need to get past some of his extraordinarily provocative statements.

The Great Novelists: Jane Austen

The Great Novelists: Leo Tolstoy

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Jane Austen is loved mainly as a charming guide to fashionable life in the Regency period. She is admired for portraying a world of elegant houses, dances, servants and fashionable young men.

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Imagining the inner lives of other people is a core human capacity. But we don’t automatically or naturally do this very well. We are prey to a range of cognitive biases.

The Great Philosophers: Michel de Montaigne

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We generally think that philosophers should be proud of their big brains, and be fans of thinking, self-reflection and rational analysis. But there’s one philosopher with a refreshingly different take.

The Great Philosophers: Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The Great Eastern Philosophers: Confucius

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Modern life is in many ways founded around the idea of progress: the notion that as we know more, and as economies grow larger, we’re bound to end up happier.

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We know very little for certain about the life of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (a westernised version of his name, which means 'Master Kong'). He is said to have been born in 551 B.C. in China.

The Great Psychoanalysts: John Bowlby 

On Forgiveness – a Film

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Among our deepest and seemingly most natural aspirations is the longing to form stable, satisfying relationships: to thrive in partnerships that are good for both people. It doesn’t seem much to ask.

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Almost every week, someone lets us down. They overlook a commitment, they betray hope, they deceive trust. And on the world stage, similarly dark dynamics play themselves out.

The Stoics – a Film

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Stoicism was a philosophy that flourished for 480 years in Ancient Greece and Rome and was popular with everyone from slaves to the aristocracy because, unlike so much philosophy, it was helpful.

Epicurus and Happiness – a Film

The Great Eastern Philosophers: Matsuo Bashō

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The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, who was born in 341 BC, spent all his life trying to work out the largest question there is: what makes people happy?

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In the West, we have a vague sense that poetry is good for our ‘souls’. Yet we don’t always know how this should work. Poetry has a hard time finding its way into our lives in any practical sense.

The Great Eastern Philosophers: Sen no Rikyū

In Praise of Melancholy

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In the West, philosophers write long non-fiction books, often using incomprehensible words and limit their involvement with the world to lectures and committee meetings.

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Melancholy is not exactly a word on everybody’s lips. People don’t go around gossiping about how melancholic the new regional IT director is.

The Philosopher’s Guide to Gratitude

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The idea of pausing to take stock of what has gone well, to be content with things as they are, is in conflict with our times and their emphasis on constant ambition and striving.

Why you should never admit to reading self-help books

Practising at being good

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There is no more ridiculed genre than the self-help book. Admit that you regularly turn to such titles to help you cope with existence and you are liable to attract scorn and suspicion.

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Why does being ‘a good person’ have such a bad name? In the modern world, the idea of trying to be good or kind conjures up all sorts of negative associations.

Why you need to go and see a therapist

Wisdom – a short guide

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In almost all countries and communities around the world, there is one central (usually unvoiced) suspicion that arises whenever someone lets slip that they are ‘having therapy’: they are crazy.

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It’s one of the grandest and oddest words out there, so lofty, it doesn’t sound like something one could ever consciously strive to be - unlike say, being cultured, or kind.

Why you are anxious all the time

Travel Destination: Maldive Islands

Today, like most days, you are anxious. It is there in the background, always present, sometimes more to the fore, sometimes less so, but never truly banished – at least not for longer than an evening.

Are you Romantic or Classical?

Interview with the Soul of Angela Merkel

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We are - each one of us - probably more one than the other. The categories explain a lot about us; how we approach nature, what makes us laugh, our attitudes to love, what our politics are…

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Angela Merkel has just embarked on a third term as Chancellor of Germany - the most robust economy in the developed world and the country with the most traumatic political history on the planet.

Why conversations are often so boring

Why you get so angry – even though you are nice

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Having a decent conversation is something most of us imagine we can do without problem - and certainly without much thought. These things just happen naturally. Don't they?

Protestors Rally In Support Of Katrina Evacuees At White House

It is, of course, a form of madness. You pick up the largest jam jar and fling it to the floor. You go up to the attendant at the counter and deliver a stream of obscenities.

Exclusive Interview with the soul of David Beckham

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One of the endearing and helpful things about David Beckham is his modesty. Modesty gets interesting when someone has things to boast about but doesn’t.

On forgiveness

The philosophers’ guide to gratitude

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Most weeks, someone mistreats us in a greater or lesser way: they overlook a commitment they’ve made, they let us down logistically, they betray our hopes or deceive our trust.

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Feeling grateful about the good aspects of our lives is something we all know we should do a bit more often. And yet there’s often something uncomfortable about being reminded to do so.

The School of Life

Ten Virtues For The Modern Age
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