• All posts,  Well-being

    Finding meaning in life

    What do humans need to be happy in life? The argument has sparked numerous debates for centuries. Some have argued that we can be happy so long as our basic needs for food and shelter and social connection are taken care of. Others have argued that we can be happy even in the face of indescribable suffering so long as we know how to control and guide our own minds. Over the last 70 years, more and more psychotherapists have come to the conclusion that human beings cannot be happy without a sense of meaning in life. I think this goes too far. Meaning is only one of the paths to happiness.…

  • All posts,  Well-being

    Using social media to live a better life

    We live in the age of the selfie, of Facebook, of Instagram, of self-generated content. This isn’t unprecedented narcisism, as some would have us believe. It’s the modern equivalent of boring your friends with four packets of photographs from you recent trip. In many ways, the modern approach is better. Tweaking an Instagram filter is fun. Re-taking a selfie until you get one without bags under your eyes might be desirable. Taking things further, learning about composition and the technology behind digital cameras, can be worthwhile. But if we’re not careful, we can end up as a sort of fifth-rate journalist. We can spend more time crafting the adjectives than…

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    Caring too much about what other people think

    In the dying years of the twentieth century, and the first few decades of the twenty-first, a remarkable shift occured in the American psyche. This has been described by numerous scholars as the transition from a general concern with character, to a preoccupation with personality°. The somewhat simplified story goes like this: People used to be concerned about what kind of person they really were, deep down. Some scholars claim this was to do with a worry over how god would judge them, others refute that. Either way, what mattered was inside, what kind of person one knew oneself to be. As one century gave way to another, your (great)…