Beautiful Brain: The...

By Maria Popova “A graphic representation of the object observed guarantees the exactness of the observation itself.” Oliver Sacks insisted that “ideas emerge, are shaped, in the act of writing,” which he considered “a special, indispensable form” of talking to himself. Unusual creature...

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How the French Mathe...

By Maria Popova “The taste for the abstract sciences in general and, above all, for the mysteries of numbers, is very rare… since the charms of this sublime science in all their beauty reveal themselves only to those who have the courage to fathom them.” A century after the trailblazing...

In My Own Process: B...

By Maria Popova “Where some people have a self, most people have a void, because they are too busy in wasting their vital creative energy to project themselves as this or that, dedicating their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be like rather than actualizing their...

When a Friendship Is...

By Maria Popova “I would gladly write to you only by means of music, but I have things to say to you to-day which music could not express.” Half the beauty of life lies in its complexity — in those experiences whose depth and dimension cannot be sliced, flattened, and contained into neat...

Nina Simone on Time...

By Maria Popova A meditation on the one dimension of human existence that “goes past all racial conflict and all kinds of conflicts.” “If our heart were large enough to love life in all its detail, we would see that every instant is at once a giver and a plunderer,” wrote the French...

How to Know Everythi...

By Maria Popova “People who for some reason find it impossible to think about themselves, and so really be themselves, try to make up for not thinking with doing.” In 1926, having just divorced her first husband at the age of twenty-five, the American poet, critic, essayist, and short story...

The Binary Code of B...

By Maria Popova “The body provides something for the spirit to look after and use.” “The void horrifies: so we are all immortal,” Simone de Beauvoir scoffed at the religious escapism of immortality in explaining why she is an atheist, adding: “Faith allows an evasion of those difficulties...