Brain Pickings

An Evolutionary Anatomy of Affect: Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio on How and Why We Feel What We Feel

An Evolutionary Anatomy of Affect: Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio on How and Why We Feel What We Feel

"How and what we create culturally and how we react to cultural phenomena depend on the tricks of our imperfect memories as manipulated by feelings."
The Continuous Thread of Revelation: Eudora Welty on Writing, Time, and Embracing the Nonlinearity of How We Become Who We Are

The Continuous Thread of Revelation: Eudora Welty on Writing, Time, and Embracing the Nonlinearity of How We Become Who We Are

"Greater than scene... is situation. Greater than situation is implication. Greater than all of these is a single, entire human being, who will never be confined in any frame."

The Temple of Knowledge: An Animated Celebration of How Libraries Change Lives

One man's love letter to finding higher horizons among the stacks.
A Placid Ecstasy: Walt Whitman’s Most Direct Reflection on Happiness

A Placid Ecstasy: Walt Whitman’s Most Direct Reflection on Happiness

"What is happiness, anyhow? ... so impalpable — a mere breath, an evanescent tinge..."
Nietzsche on Depression and the Rehabilitation of Hope

Nietzsche on Depression and the Rehabilitation of Hope

In praise of "the rejoicing of strength that is returning, of a reawakened faith in a tomorrow and the day after tomorrow,... of impending adventures, of seas that are open again."

The Art of Receptivity: Hilton Als on Love

"The thing seemingly freely given often isn’t. It is rare to receive the gift of love, for instance, from someone who doesn’t want to be celebrated for their generosity in having offered it."
Zadie Smith on Optimism and Despair

Zadie Smith on Optimism and Despair

"Progress is never permanent, will always be threatened, must be redoubled, restated and reimagined if it is to survive."
Literary Witches: An Illustrated Celebration of Trailblazing Women Writers Who Have Enchanted and Transformed the World

Literary Witches: An Illustrated Celebration of Trailblazing Women Writers Who Have Enchanted and Transformed the World

From Sappho to Toni Morrison, an homage to writers who have wielded the power of the mind in language with uncommon virtuosity.
Eleven Kinds of Blue: Werner’s Pioneering 19th-Century Nomenclature of the Colors, Beloved by Darwin

Eleven Kinds of Blue: Werner’s Pioneering 19th-Century Nomenclature of the Colors, Beloved by Darwin

"It is singular, that a thing so obviously useful, ... should have been so long overlooked."

Conversations with the Earth: Geologist Hans Cloos on the Complementarity of Art and Science in Illuminating the Splendor of Nature and Reality

"There is another, inner way... which binds the artist to the world. He who walks this trail sees the beauty of the earth, and hears its music."
Nobel-Winning Physicist Niels Bohr on Subjective vs. Objective Reality and the Uses of Religion in a Secular World

Nobel-Winning Physicist Niels Bohr on Subjective vs. Objective Reality and the Uses of Religion in a Secular World

"The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean

Ursula K. Le Guin on Art, Storytelling, and the Power of Language to Transform and Redeem

"One of the functions of art is to give people the words to know their own experience... Storytelling is a tool for knowing who we are and what we want."
Walt Whitman on the Splendor of Winter Beaches and How Art Imbues Life’s Bleakest Moments with Beauty

Walt Whitman on the Splendor of Winter Beaches and How Art Imbues Life’s Bleakest Moments with Beauty

"This winter day — grim, yet so delicate-looking, so spiritual — striking emotional, impalpable depths, subtler than all the poems, paintings, music..."

Writing and the Threshold Life: Jane Hirshfield on How the Liminal Liberates Us from the Prison of the Self

"The creative self [asks] the surrender of ordinary conceptions of identity and will for a broader kind of intimacy and allegiance."