Four Ways to Lose Yourself: August’s Most Popular SelectionsAugust 29, 2022
This month’s most popular selections are all about losing yourself — or trying to — in unexpected ways.
Author Steve Edwards shares his morning ritual of making coffee for his wife, a meditative practice that starts in half slumber and sometimes reaches a startling wakefulness.
Philosopher and religious studies scholar Edward Slingerland considers the connection between intoxication and the paradoxical Chinese concept of wu wei, or “effortless action.”
Sparrow advises us on preparations for societal collapse.
Meanwhile, the sisters in John Jodzio’s “The Narrows” exploit the romantic opportunities on the other side of near-death experiences.
It’s a privilege to bring something warm and slightly sweet first thing in the morning to someone you love. Whatever else happens in the day, it will have started with a kindness. Not a special kindness; an ordinary one. The coffee arrives like dawn, as a matter of course. I say a thousand cups, but I’m not counting.September 2021
Edward Slingerland on the Hidden Truths about Our Relationship with Alcohol
Though some academics, particularly those in the medical establishment, have come to see humanity’s taste for alcohol as an evolutionary mistake, philosopher and religious-studies scholar Edward Slingerland sees how drinking played an important role in humanity’s development. It helped an aggressive, untrusting primate to build mainly cooperative, and undeniably successful, large-scale societies. . . . Although the behavior is not uniquely human — species as varied as bats, fruit flies, dolphins, and reindeer all use substances to alter their minds — we are far and away the most adept at it.July 2022
Here is the stupidest thing I ever said: I was talking to my mother-in-law about a relative who was aging and unmarried. “It’s easy to get married,” I blithely opined. “You just have to lower your standards.”
Then I remembered I had married her daughter.
Nonetheless, my advice is correct. Lower your standards. Once civilization is undone, this will be essential.December 2012
In the beginning Leona thought the river was a horrible way to meet men. She thought Nell and I should meet them through normal channels, at church or a coffee shop, and not immediately after they’d tried to end their lives. Over the years, though, she’d accepted that my sister and I weren’t attracted to churchgoing, coffee-shop sorts, that we liked men who’d reached the ends of their ropes, guys who’d been gut-punched by life enough times to know they would be gut-punched several more.July 2018