How a journey through hardship can inspire your life

The key is not to run away from life but to embrace every challenge, to find its meaning and the lesson it offers

How a journey through hardship can inspire your lifeThere’s a medieval legend about an alchemist who discovers how to turn common materials into gold. Of course, we know that adding a piece of the philosopher’s stone to molten lead will not turn it into gold, yet the story provides a beautiful metaphor for life. If we look at the life of any great…

Have babies, because people are not just economic units

Children bind, deepen a commitment and give purpose. Love is the point, the key ingredient

Have babies, because people are not just economic unitsThe title ‘philosopher,’ like ‘poet,’ carries prestige that’s usually unearned. I say unearned because many poets, who are supposed to understand beauty, write beauty-free verse, and plenty of philosophers, who are supposed to be wise, counsel unethical foolishness to the world. This sad fact – that so much contemporary philosophy is not merely unwise but…

How to let go of disappointment and avoid conflict

If we want to move past unrealized expectations in our lives, we have to forget the old script and craft a new one

How to let go of disappointment and avoid conflictThe conflicts that rear up in our lives most often stem from unrealized expectations. Each of us has a script we follow, an expectation of how things are supposed to go. When our expectations aren’t met, we can be delighted by the change, significantly disappointed or even angered. When we head to a nice restaurant,…

Teaching is a constant uphill climb

The best teachers know what they want students to become. They form students into free people

Teaching is a constant uphill climbTwice in the last couple of months, I had occasion to tell an old joke about teaching. The first time came at a teachers’ book club. The second when a man saw me reading school assignments on the train and struck up a conversation about teaching. The joke goes like this: the first time you…

The same truths are part of every religious and philosophical tradition

Each of us needs to be true to our mission if we’re to be effective agents of universal change

The same truths are part of every religious and philosophical traditionReligion can provide guiding principles for a meaningful life, yet few concepts have been more divisive in human history. Seeing the tensions of the first half of the 20th century, Mohandas K. Gandhi, a deeply spiritual man, came to the following conclusion: “One should accept the faith into which one was born, but seek always…

Humans are not designed to stagnate

Standing still only causes us to move backward

Humans are not designed to stagnate“Do not be afraid of improving slowly. Be afraid of standing still,” popular Zen master Leo Babauta tells us. Many in our society believe that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and once we reach it, life becomes easy. Others believe that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” We’re…

How to address social inequality without an inheritance tax

Ideas about taxing, restricting or abolishing your inheritance have been floated by western social thinkers for centuries

How to address social inequality without an inheritance taxShould Canadians be taxed on inheritance? The question is increasingly being asked, but the answer is not straight-forward. This discussion is inherently linked to maintaining inequality from one generation to another – and basically to a skewing of the playing field of life from the start. Such debates aren’t new. In fact, they centre on…

Don’t blame academic malaise on the male ‘genius’ cult

Those teaching the humanities have abandoned attempts at outlining the grand narratives, the threads that link important events and people in art and history

Don’t blame academic malaise on the male ‘genius’ cultNobody does unintentional humour quite like an academic. Nobody can produce accidental laughter like a tenured professor explaining her deep thoughts to the masses. We have an excellent example of this sort of comedic gem in a recent article entitled “Jordan Peterson and the debilitating cult of genius” by Jennifer Garrison of St Mary’s University…

Follow the leader: the keys to a legendary coach’s success

Communication, trust, care, collective responsibility and pride are the cornerstones of success in sports – and in life

Follow the leader: the keys to a legendary coach’s successMike Krzyzewski said, “When a leader takes responsibility for his own actions and mistakes, he not only sets a good example, he shows a healthy respect for people on his team.” Krzyzewski, better known as Coach K, has been the men’s head basketball coach at Duke University in North Carolina since 1980. He has more…

How the philosophy of personalism brings us together

Personalism embraces the goodness in every one of us. It encourages us to become our best selves, and it requires love and respect for everyone

How the philosophy of personalism brings us togetherIt’s fascinating how certain ideas can unite all people, yet we can be so unaware of their presence. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Personalism posits ultimate reality and value in personhood – human as well as (at least for most personalists) divine. It emphasizes the significance, uniqueness and inviolability of the person, as…
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