Being an Integrity

Yesterday while reading an old book on East Asian folk crafts (The Unknown Crafstman by Sōetsu Yanagi, p. 153), I came across the following passage: When I am asked for a Buddhist explanation of the perception of beauty, my answer is a simple one: “One must discard one’s self”. But of course the process is notContinue reading “Being an Integrity”

Isms and Wisdom

Which came first, the ism or the wisdom? The answer is clear: there were wise people for at least tens of thousands of years before philosophical isms were invented around the sixth century BCE by the likes of Thales, Confucius, and Siddhartha Gautama. As Pierre Hadot rediscovered through his historical research into philosophy as aContinue reading “Isms and Wisdom”

Big Idea People

When we think of philosophy, we tend to think of theoretical philosophy: cloistered academics, armchair thinkers, and dreamy contemplatives arguing over the fine points of abstruse topics that have little if any practical import. This reputation is, unfortunately, well-deserved, especially in recent times. Yet if we accept the validity of philosophy as a way ofContinue reading “Big Idea People”

Live Long and Prosper

Recently I came across a study entitled “Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging” (Levy et al. 2002 – apparently Becca Levy has a new book out entitled Breaking the Age Code, which I have not read yet). The abstract states: “This research found that older individuals with more positive self-perceptions of aging, measured up toContinue reading “Live Long and Prosper”

Philosophical Forms and Functions

Following up on my post a few months ago about philosophical professionalism, I’ve been thinking about the many forms of philosophical writing and their functions in our intellectual and practical life. Throughout history, philosophical questions and answers have been presented in so many written forms: aphorisms, dialogues, essays, letters, allegories, parables, stories, novels, plays, poems,Continue reading “Philosophical Forms and Functions”

Wisdom and Freedom

Why do we continue to find such value in the life wisdom of ancient philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Siddhartha Gautama, Epicurus, and Epictetus? It’s not as if we’re still reading Ptolemy on astronomy or even Euclid on geometry, so why have these philosophical insights endured? In the first chapter of his book TheContinue reading “Wisdom and Freedom”

Exploring Social Space

One of the insights I find so intriguing from ecological psychology as developed by James and Eleanor Gibson is the concept of exploring visual space. Animals (including we humans) aren’t simplistic sensory processing machines that are fixed to a point in space; instead, we are free to move around in order to see things fromContinue reading “Exploring Social Space”


I seem to be getting into a rhythm of posting new thoughts on Thursdays – given my usual subject matter, we could think of this as “Thriving Thursday”… Anyway, because human beings are social animals, a particularly meaningful interpersonal affordance for us is likeability. Few people are such curmudgeons that they actively want to beContinue reading “Likeability”


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