This lecture may be from 1991, but the topic is timeless, the discussion is lucid, and it's all delivered by Basil Fawlty himself. Here's 36 minutes of John Cleese discussing the psychology of being creative.
"Creativity is not a talent, it's a way of operating" (John Cleese)
A beautiful and inspiring talk for those in need of a soul-healing tourniquet :-)
Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on...
Collision and convergence in Truth and Beauty at the intersection of science and spirituality.
On July 14, 1930, Albert Einstein welcomed into his home on the outskirts of Berlin the Indian philosopher Rabindranath Tagore. The two proceeded to have one the most stimulating, intellectually riveting conversations in history, exploring the age-old friction between science and religion. Science and the Indian Tradition: When Einstein Met Tagore recounts the historic encounter, amidst a broader discussion of the intellectual renaissance that swept India in the early twentieth century, germinating a curious osmosis of Indian traditions and secular Western scientific doctrine...
Alain de Botton suggests how culture might still save our souls.
"Centuries ago, religions gave people advice on how to live with others, how to tolerate other people’s faults, how to assuage anger, endure pain and deal with the petty corruptions of a commercial world. These days, [de Botton] argues, teachers, artists and philosophers no longer even try to offer such practical wisdom. “We are fatefully in love with ambiguity, uncritical of the Modernist doctrine that great art should have no moral content or desire to change its audience,”..."
Paddy Ashdown claims that we are living in a moment in history where power is changing in ways it never has before. In a spellbinding talk at TEDxBrussels he outlines the three major global shifts that he sees coming.
‘Hallucinations’ by Oliver Sacks. 320 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $27.
The neurologist peels back the poetry and terror of hallucinations.
‘Hallucinations’ by Oliver Sacks. 320 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $27.
“Bliss can coincide with terror,” Oliver Sacks observes in one of his patient’s sleep-paralysis induced hallucinations. It’s an observation that seems to apply broadly to hallucinatory experience, which Sacks calls an essential part of the human condition. From the baroque visions of patients with Charles Bonnet Syndrome (they see handsome gentlemen, overly ornate floating rows of sheet music, battlements and bridges, or fanciful strangers in “Eastern dress”) to the kaleidoscopic patterns that visit migraine sufferers, no style or manner of hallucination is too fanciful or obscure for Sacks’ attention. Whether describing unwelcomed hallucinations (the “prisoners cinema” of sensory deprivation and the hallucinations of the bereaved) or deliberately-sought drug-induced altered states, Sacks writes, as usual, with a sharp mix of clinical precision, curiosity and compassion. His real talent lies in combining literary and historical medical accounts with his own experiences as a doctor and, at times, as a patient. There’s no better example of this than Sacks’s account of the amphetamine-fueled weekend he spent as a young man reading the 1873 volume On Megrim, Sick-Headache, and Some Allied Disorders: A Contribution to the Pathology of Nerve Storms in a state of “catatonic concentration” in a New York medical library. “At the height of this ecstasy, I saw migraine shining like an archipelago of stars in the neurological heavens,” Sacks writes. The experience convinced him to write his own book—and to never take amphetamines again. It’s an understated lesson in the powers of hallucinations: to illuminate the mysterious circuitry of the human mind, one must be willing to get lost inside it first.
Jasper Visser: "To address the most important issue first: there is no such thing as digital storytelling. There’s only storytelling in the digital age, and frankly speaking this isn’t much different from storytelling in the age of hunters, gatherers, dinosaurs and ICQ" ...
A sweeping cultural history of the ideal of sincerity.
Of the anthropology of truth, lies and everything in between.
"Irony is the hardest addiction of all.... Forget heroin. Just try giving up irony, that deep-down need to mean two things at once, to be in two places at once, not to be there for the catastrophe of a fixed meaning.”
A fantastic and inspiring interview with Ray Bradbury, author of Farenheit 451, who died last week after 70 years of truly visionary science fiction writing.
Here's a bit of the interview.
Why do you write science fiction?
Science fiction is the fiction of ideas. Ideas excite me, and as soon as I get excited, the adrenaline gets going and the next thing I know I’m borrowing energy from the ideas themselves. Science fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn’t exist yet, but soon will, and will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again. As soon as you have an idea that changes some small part of the world you are writing science fiction. It is always the art of the possible, never the impossible.
Imagine if sixty years ago, at the start of my writing career, I had thought to write a story about a woman who swallowed a pill and destroyed the Catholic Church, causing the advent of women’s liberation. That story probably would have been laughed at, but it was within the realm of the possible and would have made great science fiction.
If I’d lived in the late eighteen hundreds I might have written a story predicting that strange vehicles would soon move across the landscape of the United States and would kill two million people in a period of seventy years. Science fiction is not just the art of the possible, but of the obvious. Once the automobile appeared you could have predicted that it would destroy as many people as it did.
Three days after Seau, a former NFL star, took his own life at his California home, Detroit News sportswriter Chris McCosky opens up on his lifelong battle with depression. His message: It's not something you can just get over.
New ways of relating religion and science emerge. By Rosemary Joyce, Ph.D....
"... The anthropological study of religion is as old as the field, and has been a rich source of insight into how human life has been organized. Indeed, some anthropologists would argue that religiosity is a core part of what makes us human.S... But there is definitely something new about how anthropologists are approaching this sensitive topic.
Take Stanford University anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann as one example. In her recently released book, When God Talks Back, Luhrmann explores how prayer allows believers in an American evangelical church to hear the voice of god. While she disclaims a position on whether or not God exists, Luhrmann is clear that
"people did hear what they described as God's voice, and they sometimes heard that voice audibly."
Luhrmann, in ethnographic work, explored how believers cultivated the capacity to hear what others could not. Her work combined traditional ethnography with experiments that demonstrate real distinctions between those who used prayer to cultivate inner awareness, and others who did not:"I found that the prayer practice did sharpen people's mental imagery.... It also increased the chance they would report an unusual sensory experience....Some of them reported feeling God touch their shoulder or speak with them or interact with them in a way they actually experienced with their senses..."
How can personal projects feed our professional development? Ji Lee changed his career trajectory with 30,000 stickers and a guerrilla art approach.
Bored with his ad agency gig and the uninspiring work he was producing, Ji Lee – now Creative Director of Google Creative Lab – decided to take matters into his own hands in 2002. The result was the ad-spoofing Bubble Project, in which Lee placed blank speech bubbles on ads around New York City. The masses responded and the project went viral, gaining Lee recognition and ultimately forwarding his professional career. Here, Lee talks about how he created, financed, and marketed the project single-handedly...