The Black Swan Model: the domesticated chicken and what it never expected

The Black Swan Model: the domesticated chicken and what it never expected

Writer Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls the phenomenon of people being unable to predict the future based on the past the Black Swan principle. This name is inspired by the the 17th Century early explorers. People in Europe had always assumed that all swans were white. Imagine their surprise when they found that black swans that…

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Book Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Book Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

This is the first fantasy novel of acclaimed Japanese writer Kazuo Ishiguro. Previously, I have read The Remains of the Day, an incredible book that was turned into a successful film of the same name. Although creating a fantasy novel is a huge departure from his usual setting. In many ways, this book contains the…

Adventures on the Forth and Clyde Canal

The Empty Boat by Chuang Tzu

He who rules men lives in confusion;He who is ruled by men lives in sorrow.Yao therefore desiredNeither to influence othersNor to be influenced by them.The way to get clear of confusionAnd free of sorrowIs to live with TaoIn the land of the great Void. Chuang Tzu (300 B.C.) Water of Leith at dusk, Edinburgh. Copyright…

Inspirational People: Tenzin Gyatso

Inspirational People: Tenzin Gyatso

"If we look at human history, we will find that a good heart has been the key in achieving what the world regards as great accomplishments in the fields of civil rights, social work, political liberation and religion for example. Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, after a school talk in Tibet. "A sincere outlook…

Day in the life: Facebook is destroying our understanding of normal life

On silence and idleness

"Happiness is in the quiet, ordinary things. A table, a chair, a book with a paper-knife stuck between the pages. And the petal falling from the rose, and the light flickering as we sit silent." Virginia Woolf, The Waves Time Moves Slow by Bad Bad Good https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgPQ2J_uM3A “Nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates happiness…

Book Review: A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

Book Review: A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

A Field Guide to Getting Lost is a collection of loosely related essays that expand upon the idea of wandering, being lost and our human sense of the unknown. The essays are insightful, vivid and at times slow-moving. This is a mosaic of cultural history, autobiography, nature writing and artistic criticism that roves far and…

Fisherman at dusk, Auckland © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com

The challenge of a life’s time and a lifetime

It may be when we no longer know what to do, We have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, We have begun our real journey. Wendell Berry (b. 1934) is a poet, farmer, writer and activist. Frozen Lake Menteith in Scotland during mid-winter. Copyright Content…

Book Review: Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism by Camille Paglia

Book Review: Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism by Camille Paglia

Contrarian feminist Camille Paglia’s ideas infuriate most feminists. Her ideas are not for the faint-hearted or lilly-livered - she is a sex-positive, pro-abortion transgender woman with a no bullshit, straight-talking style that she combines with playful erudition and poetic pyrotechnics in this book. The New York Times review of her book basically called her a…

Book Review: The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson

Book Review: The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson

The Book of Barely Imagined Beings takes its cue from medieval bestiaries. Author and playful intellectual Caspar Henderson sets out to write a modern compendium of beasts, and show, in the process, that truth is a lot weirder than fiction. Forget about dragons, cyclops and faeries, the world of extant species such as the thorny devil, nautilus and puffer fish are enough to inspire wonder.

Reflexion by Odilon Redon

This being human is a guest house

This being human is a guest house.Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness,some momentary awareness comesas an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all!Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,who violently sweep your houseempty of its furniture,still, treat each guest honorably.He may be clearing you outfor some new delight. The dark…

Book Review: The Future by Nick Montfort

Book Review: The Future by Nick Montfort

As long as people have been on this planet they have been formulating, imagining and planning for the future. And their individual and collective visions of this – their future-making and how they frame the future says a lot about the present. The Future by Nick Montfort is a fascinating look at futurism. From the…

Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death and Happiness by Mark Rowlands

Book Review: The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death and Happiness by Mark Rowlands

Every person who loves animals will enjoy this book. Humans are drawn to the silence of animals, the way they physically express their personality through movement and body language, rather than words. The way that they intuit us so deeply and feel what we feel so keenly. The mystical and invisible velvet rope that connects us to animals is sacred to many people.

Book Review: The Art of Gratitude by Jeremy David Engels

Book Review: The Art of Gratitude by Jeremy David Engels

This book totally blew my mind and exploded everything I thought I knew about the nebulous concept of gratitude! The Art of Gratitude is intellectually rigorous, challenging and fascinating. Instead of a new agey spiritual and vague approach to ‘being grateful’, this book traces the history and origins of gratitude in all of its shady forms.

Strange Victorian Journeys Into the Fourth Dimension

Strange Victorian Journeys Into the Fourth Dimension

The last gasp of Victorian spirituality infused cutting-edge science with old-school mysticism. Theosophy was all the rage; Many weird and and wonderful ideas being developed at the turn of the century around death, ghosts, the fourth dimension filled the Victorians with a palpable sense of possibility.

A frog in a well never knows the vast ocean

A frog in a well never knows the vast ocean

A frog in a well never knows the vast ocean There is an ancient Taoist expression that 'A frog in a well never knows the vast ocean'. This is a reminder to be humble and to accept the world as being vast, with our own knowledge of it limited. We must never assume to have…

Hidden shinto shrine in Kyoto Copyright © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com

The Enlightenment of Everyday Objects

In ancient Japanese tradition, when a treasured household item reaches the end of usefulness, it is given the proper funerary send off that it deserves. This unusual ritual harks back to two ancient philosophies. The Shinto Animist philosophy that all things alive or otherwise have a soul. And the Nichiren Buddhist philosophy that when a…

The Enlightenment of Everyday Objects

Japan’s 72 gossamer-light and poetic microseasons

The traditional seasons in Japan are marked out by impercetibly small changes in nature across 72 miniature seasons in a year, each lasting 5 days and reflecting the fleeting, impermanent and diaphanous beauty of nature and all of its wonders. There are 24 divisions or sekki in the calendar that are split into 72 kō…

Book Review: The Mind is Flat by Nick Chater

Book Review: The Mind is Flat by Nick Chater

Forget all about the Freudian id, superego and ego vying for your present attention. And forget about Jungian archetypes and stuff randomly bubbling up to the surface of your consciousness. According to Behavioural Psychologist Nick Chater – this doesn’t exist. Instead, what we all have is a flat mind. Or a mind that’s incredibly adept…