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What’s the Story?
A discovery engine for meaningful knowledge, fueled by cross-disciplinary curiosity.
A Brain Pickings project edited by Maria Popova in partnership with Noodle.
Twitter: @explorer
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7 illustrated life-learnings from 7 years of reading, writing, and living
A glorious read: Jeanette Winterson on reading, writing, and the role of art in our everyday lives
For Aldous Huxley’s 120th birthday, gorgeous vintage and modern illustrations for his only children’s book

Wonderful cinematic profile of Old Town Music Hall, an original silent film theater in El Segundo, California, from This Must Be The Place, who also gave us the spectacular This Is My Home

Long-term, if you’re really trying to get the most out of people, you got to build people up not tear them down. And I think that’s something that I learned about not just myself but other people. That you’re really trying to get inside someone’s heart and soul and bind them to what it is you together are trying to accomplish.
On NPR’s TED Radio Hour, four-star general Stanley McChrystal considers the intricacies and essential humanity of great leadership. David Foster Wallace captured this best when he wrote“A leader’s real ‘authority’ is a power you voluntarily give him, and you grant him this authority not with resentment or resignation but happily.”
For Carl Jung's birthday, the iconic psychiatrist on human nature and the meaning existence in a rare BBC interview

For Carl Jung's birthday, the iconic psychiatrist on human nature and the meaning existence in a rare BBC interview

Aldous Huxley, born 120 years ago today, on drugs, democracy, and religion.

Aldous Huxley, born 120 years ago today, on drugs, democracy, and religion.

YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT GOD SAID TO THIS MAN…
From Upworthy to Godworthy – McSweeney’s buzzfeedifies the 10 commandments. Somewhere, Tolstoy is smirking

It seems to me quite reasonable to think that the death of the fly is entirely insignificant and that it is at the same time a kind of catastrophe. To entertain such contradictions is always uncomfortable, but in this case the dissonance echoes far and wide, bouncing off countless other decisions about what to buy, what to eat – what to kill; highlighting the inconsistencies in our philosophies, our attempts to make sense of our place in the world and our relations to our co‑inhabitants on Earth. The reality is that we do not know what to think about death: not that of a fly, or of a dog or a pig, or of ourselves.

[…]

That tadpoles are fodder for pond-life is as natural as the leaves falling on the water in autumn; that flies get squidged is as ordinary as apples rotting in the orchard. One’s own death, on the other hand, seems most unnatural. It seems rather an error and an outrage; a cosmic crime; a reason to raise one’s fist and rebel against the regime that ordered this slaughter of innocents… But here we are – guests at the party of life and death. We know we must exit along with the flies and the tadpoles. But we would rather not think about it.

[…]

We cannot do away with death without doing away with life.

Philosopher Stephen Cave, author of Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization, echoes Alan Watts in a beautiful essay on death in Aeon Magazine.

Or, as C.S. Lewis put it“Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.”

Stanley Kubrick, born on this day in 1928, on the meaning of life in a rare Playboy interview he gave when he was 30.

Stanley Kubrick, born on this day in 1928, on the meaning of life in a rare Playboy interview he gave when he was 30.

George Bernard Shaw, born on this day in 1856, on marriage, the oppression of women, and the hypocrisy of monogamy 

George Bernard Shaw, born on this day in 1856, on marriage, the oppression of women, and the hypocrisy of monogamy 

Do you know what people want more than anything? They want to be missed. They want to be missed the day they don’t show up. They want to be missed when they’re gone.

In another excellent episode of NPR’s TED Radio Hour, Seth Godin dispenses some of his signature wisdom in discussing what makes a great leader. (David Foster Wallace had similar ideas.)

Pair with Godin on vulnerability, creative courage, and how to dance with the fear.

A visual compendium of bioluminescent creatures by Seattle-based artist Eleanor Lutz, reminiscent of Ernest Haeckel’s pioneering drawings from the early 1900s. Also available as a poster.
Pair with the first poem published in a scientific journal, an ode to bioluminescence. 
(via Visually)

A visual compendium of bioluminescent creatures by Seattle-based artist Eleanor Lutz, reminiscent of Ernest Haeckel’s pioneering drawings from the early 1900s. Also available as a poster.

Pair with the first poem published in a scientific journal, an ode to bioluminescence

(via Visually)

If you read one thing today, make it C.S. Lewis on suffering and the question of free will.

If you read one thing today, make it C.S. Lewis on suffering and the question of free will.

Fantastic New Yorker profile of Brian Eno. Also see his Oblique Strategies, Eno’s creativity prompts from the 1970s, mentioned in the first paragraph of the piece. 
It’s interesting to consider the parallels with science, where not-knowing is also the building block of “composition,” or progress. 

Fantastic New Yorker profile of Brian Eno. Also see his Oblique Strategies, Eno’s creativity prompts from the 1970s, mentioned in the first paragraph of the piece. 

It’s interesting to consider the parallels with science, where not-knowing is also the building block of “composition,” or progress.