Leonid Pasternak, 1928, Portrait of Rilke
Exploring Philosophy, Meaning

Rainer Maria Rilke on Letting in Sadness

In late 1902, a young officer cadet began corresponding with poet Rainer Maria Rilke. ‘Letters to a Young Poet’ is a collection of Rilke’s letters to the young aspiring writer. In Letter No. 8, Rilke addresses the transformative nature of sadness.

Osmar Schindler, 1888, "David und Goliath". Colour lithograph
Meaning, Virtue

The Function of Fear

Fear offers us a very plain choice; be courageous or be a coward. A hero or a reprobate. With quotes from Michel de Montaigne, Seneca, George R.R. Martin & William Shakespeare.

'A tree with a path and a bay' 1976, by M.A.C.T.. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY
Exploring Philosophy, Meaning, Virtue

C. S. Lewis and the Law of Nature

In his book ‘Mere Christianity’, C.S Lewis speaks about the ‘Law of Right and Wrong’ or the ‘Law of Nature’. “…human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it.”

Pablo Picasso, 1904, The Frugal Repast. The Met. © 2018 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Circumstance, Meaning, Virtue

A Policy of Appeasement

“Blessed is he, who has learned to bear what he cannot change, and to give up with dignity, what he cannot save.” We take on the responsibility of appeasing someone’s feelings, foolishly attempting to control something we can’t. Quotes from Schiller & Huxley.

William Merritt Chase, c.1887, Young Woman Before a Mirror
Circumstance, Meaning, Virtue

Listening to Low Self-Esteem

Jane Austen in 1814 said; “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be”. Instead of believing that feelings of low self-esteem must be cast away immediately, first hear what they have to say.

Léon Spilliaert, 1907, Silhouet van de schilder
Circumstance, Meaning, Virtue

Willing to Understand

Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) is quoted as saying “A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don’t know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox’s or bear’s, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there.”

Coloured lithograph, 1870, after J. Bakewell, 1771.
Circumstance, Meaning, Virtue

Turning Against the Ideal

We look up at the ideal we fall so short of, embittered. If only that target wasn’t so high, or better again, if it didn’t exist at all, we wouldn’t appear so dreadful! In doing so, we bring the heavens crashing down to join us in the slums. Now we are level.