The Marginalian (formerly Brain Pickings)

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Nature is always listening – the fascinating science of mushrooms, music, and how sound waves stimulate mycelial growth themarginalian.org/2022/11/13/mus…
“The definition of the soul is made of these places where you feel that the world came into being so that they could exist.” How to be a swimmer in the stream of time themarginalian.org/2022/11/06/ete…
The flower and the meaning of life, from Emily Dickinson to The Little Prince to Michael Pollan themarginalian.org/2022/02/20/mic…
Absolutely fascinating read on how color vision (which shapes how we see the world) evolved and how other animals see what we can't themarginalian.org/2022/08/10/ed-…
“Without music life would be a mistake.” Nietzsche (drama queen that he was) on the power of music themarginalian.org/2015/09/18/nie…
The Vampire Problem – a brilliant thought experiment illustrating the psychological paradox of our most transformative experiences themarginalian.org/2017/09/13/tra…
Seneca on overcoming fear and the surest strategy for protecting yourself from misfortune themarginalian.org/2016/02/15/sen…
“Everything impinges on everything else… Everything is potentially everywhere.” Steinbeck – writing two decades before he won the Nobel for his fiction, in a masterpiece between marine biology and philosophy – on how to think and the trap of teleology: themarginalian.org/2022/11/09/ste…
Erasmus Darwin (yes, Charles's grandfather and great influence) scandalized his corseted society with a long scientific poem about the sexual reproduction of plants, which inspired some of the most beautiful botanical illustration of all time themarginalian.org/2022/11/07/the…
Timeless advice on writing – the collected wisdom of some of humanity's greatest writers themarginalian.org/2013/05/03/adv…
When Einstein met Tagore – a remarkable meeting of minds at the edge of science and spirituality, at the nexus of East and West themarginalian.org/2012/04/27/whe…
“It’s part of the nature of man to start with romance and build to a reality.” On this in 1971, Ray Bradbury, Carl Sagan, and Arthur C. Clarke sat down for an extraordinary far-seeing conversation about our relationship to the cosmos themarginalian.org/2012/08/20/mar…
We don't choose whom we love, not really. Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska's poem "Love at First Sight," illustrated themarginalian.org/2022/11/10/lov…
“A poem … is when you are in love and have the sky in your mouth.” If you think and feel outside the common cultural box, this is for you: themarginalian.org/2017/03/24/thi…
“I love her happiness more than my own.” Dostoyevsky, born 201 years ago today, in love themarginalian.org/2022/10/22/dos…
“Everything impinges on everything else… Everything is potentially everywhere.” Two decades before he won the Nobel for his fiction, John Steinbeck composed a forgotten masterpiece at the boundary between science and philosophy, about how to think themarginalian.org/2022/11/09/ste…
“And it is so simple… You will instantly find how to live.” Dostoyevsky, born 201 years ago today, discovers the meaning of life in a dream themarginalian.org/2014/11/11/dos…
“Hate, in the long run, is about as nourishing as cyanide.” Wisdom on being human from Vonnegut, born 100 years ago today themarginalian.org/2014/05/12/kur…
"Music plays into the yearning many of us instinctively have — you know, the God-shaped hole. It is the art form that can most effectively fill that hole, because it makes us feel less alone, existentially." themarginalian.org/2022/11/10/nic…
Dostoyevsky, born 201 years ago today, on why there are no bad people – substantive read for any deep-thinking, deep-feeling person themarginalian.org/2014/12/02/dos…
On Vonnegut's centennial, his lost lecture on what it takes to be a writer, found and animated themarginalian.org/2015/11/11/kur…
What to do when your parents are dying – simple, profoundly redemptive life-advice from Mary Gaitskill, born on this day in 1954 themarginalian.org/2021/11/11/whe…
Duck, Death and the Tulip – an uncommonly tender illustrated meditation on the cycle of life themarginalian.org/2016/05/04/duc…
Vonnegut, born 100 years ago today, on the secret of happiness and the meaning of life in a short verse themarginalian.org/2014/01/16/kur…
On Dostoyevsky's birthday, his wife – a remarkable woman who pulled him out of debt and helped him become the writer he is – on the secret to a happy marriage themarginalian.org/2016/02/15/ann…
Dostoyevsky, born 201 years ago today, on why there are no bad people – substantive read for any deep-thinking, deep-feeling person themarginalian.org/2014/12/02/dos…
Nick Cave on music, mystery, and the relationship between vulnerability and freedom themarginalian.org/2022/11/10/nic…
“If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.” On this day in 1958, Steinbeck gave his teenage son some timeless advice on love themarginalian.org/2012/01/12/joh…
“The perilous time for the most highly gifted is not youth… The perilous season is middle age, when a false wisdom tempts them to doubt the divine origin of the dreams of their youth…” Middle age and the art of self-renewal themarginalian.org/2019/07/05/eli…
“There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love.” Fuel against failure: mailchi.mp/themarginalian…
Born on this day in 1914 and once celebrated as the most beautiful woman in the world, Hedy Lamarr invented a system for remote-controlling torpedos that laid the foundation for bluetooth and wifi technology themarginalian.org/2011/12/08/hed…
On Carl Sagan's birthday, the poetic science of comets, with stunning medieval illustrations themarginalian.org/2017/01/11/kom…
"Pleasure and pain, wonder, love, adoration, hatred and terror: how do these thing grow From a chemical reaction?" This is superb themarginalian.org/2022/06/14/the…
The Book of Questions – Pablo Neruda's poetic reckoning with the magic and mystery of life, illustrated themarginalian.org/2022/08/26/boo…
The Thing Itself – C.S. Lewis on what we long for in our existential longing themarginalian.org/2022/09/03/c-s…
“Science is a way to call the bluff of those who only pretend to knowledge… It can tell us when we’re being lied to. It provides a mid-course correction to our mistakes.” Where is Carl Sagan when we most need him. He would have been 88 today themarginalian.org/2015/11/09/car…
The great humanistic philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm on surmounting the biggest obstacle to love themarginalian.org/2015/10/29/the…
“Books are key to understanding the world and participating in a democratic society.” Carl Sagan, who would have been 88 today, on reading and democracy themarginalian.org/2017/11/08/car…
“Science is a way to call the bluff of those who only pretend to knowledge… It can tell us when we’re being lied to. It provides a mid-course correction to our mistakes.” Where is Carl Sagan when we need him most. He would have been 88 today. themarginalian.org/2015/11/09/car…
"Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view." On Carl Sagan's birthday, his timeless Baloney Detection Kit for critical thinking themarginalian.org/2014/01/03/bal…
Born on this day in 1914 and once celebrated as the most beautiful woman in the world, Hedy Lamarr invented a system for remote-controlling torpedos that laid the foundation for bluetooth and wifi technology themarginalian.org/2011/12/08/hed…
On Carl Sagan's birthday, his poetic explanation of how stars are born, live, die, and give us life themarginalian.org/2014/12/17/car…
“We are bathing in mystery and confusion… That will always be our destiny. The universe will always be much richer than our ability to understand it.” Carl Sagan would have been 88 today themarginalian.org/2018/04/05/car…
In the autumn of 1883, a paper in the nation's capital reported that "an Iowa woman has spent 7 years embroidering the solar system on a quilt." Ellen Harding Baker used her stunning quilt to teach astronomy in an era when women could not attend college: themarginalian.org/2018/12/06/ell…
“Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous ‘I don’t know.’” themarginalian.org/2017/03/27/wis…
How to be a swimmer in the stream of time – poet, painter, and philosopher Etel Adnan on the antidote to isolation and disorientation themarginalian.org/2022/11/06/ete…
On Marie Curie's birthday, the wonderful letter of solidarity Einstein wrote to her when she (yes, even she) was besieged by haters themarginalian.org/2016/04/19/ein…
Camus, born on this day in 1913, on the 3 antidotes to the absurdity of life themarginalian.org/2017/07/24/alb…
“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Camus, born on this day in 1913, on our deepest wellspring of strength in times of trouble themarginalian.org/2015/12/28/alb…
The great Japanese artist Hasui Kawase died 65 years ago today, leaving us his stunning vintage woodblocks of trees, tenderness, and the moon themarginalian.org/2021/03/22/has…
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