Brain Pickings

Reads by Maria Popova

Place, Personhood, and the Hippocampus: The Fascinating Science of Magnetism, Autonoeic Consciousness, and What Makes Us Who We Are
Place, Personhood, and the Hippocampus: The Fascinating Science of Magnetism, Autonoeic Consciousness, and What Makes Us Who We Are

“Often the places we grow up in… influence how we perceive and conceptualize the world, give us metaphors to live by, and shape the purpose that drives us.”

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The Good Luck of Your Bad Luck: Marcus Aurelius on the Stoic Strategy for Weathering Life’s Waves and Turning Suffering into Strength
The Good Luck of Your Bad Luck: Marcus Aurelius on the Stoic Strategy for Weathering Life’s Waves and Turning Suffering into Strength

“What happened could have happened to anyone, but not everyone could have carried on.”

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Blue Floats Away: A Tender Illustrated Fable About Our Capacity for Change, Told Through the Story of Water
Blue Floats Away: A Tender Illustrated Fable About Our Capacity for Change, Told Through the Story of Water

In praise of our unfathomed capacity to experience beautiful new things beyond our habitual ideas of the possible.

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Bridging the Island Universes of Our Experience: Aldous Huxley on Making Sense of Ourselves and Each Other
Bridging the Island Universes of Our Experience: Aldous Huxley on Making Sense of Ourselves and Each Other

“To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves.”

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The Music of Trees: Improvisation, Iteration, and the Science of Immortality
The Music of Trees: Improvisation, Iteration, and the Science of Immortality

“Potentially, every tree is immortal.”

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Between Restlessness and Rapture: Autumn and the Sensual Urgency of Aliveness
Between Restlessness and Rapture: Autumn and the Sensual Urgency of Aliveness

A wildlife ecologist’s serenade to the season that makes you “want to linger long enough to hear every sound and look far enough to see into forever.”

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The Gifted Listener: Composer Aaron Copland on Honing Your Talent for Listening to Music
The Gifted Listener: Composer Aaron Copland on Honing Your Talent for Listening to Music

“There are few pleasures in art greater than the secure sense that one can recognize beauty when one comes upon it… Recognizing the beautiful in an abstract art like music partakes somewhat of a minor miracle.”

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The Unfinished Story of the World: Richard Powers’s Advice on Life and the Antidote to Cynicism
The Unfinished Story of the World: Richard Powers’s Advice on Life and the Antidote to Cynicism

“This fluke, single, huge, cross-indexed, thermodynamic experiment of a story that the world has been inventing to tell itself at bedtime is still in embryo. It’s not even the outline of a synopsis of notes toward a rough draft yet.”

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The Blue Horses of Our Destiny: Artist Franz Marc, the Wisdom of Animals, and the Fight of Beauty Against Brutality
The Blue Horses of Our Destiny: Artist Franz Marc, the Wisdom of Animals, and the Fight of Beauty Against Brutality

Tragedy and transcendence in the search for the spiritual in nature.

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How to Feel More Alive Each Day and Night: A Cosmic Nightwalk with Derek Jarman
How to Feel More Alive Each Day and Night: A Cosmic Nightwalk with Derek Jarman

“Here man has invented the heavens but the moon, not to be usurped, shines sickle bright, gathering our souls.”

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