Worshipping at the martyr’s cross: The temptation and trap of chronic masochism

The Buddha taught that all living beings ultimately want to be happy and to avoid suffering. He took this to be a fundamental truth, and had the psychological savvy to notice that many of us choose a road to happiness that wends through a perversely seductive landscape of suffering and victimization. For quite a few […]

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Skanky perfumes in the Age of Febreze

To those who are disgusted by so-called “dirty,” “skanky,” or “animalic” perfumes — and many mainstream folks may never actually have smelled one — it can be utterly baffling that anyone would find them appealing. And this may be more than a trivial difference about individuals’ attraction to particular notes, of the “I like lavender […]

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The know-nothing animal: Our costly addiction to willful ignorance

As philosophers have long noted, human beings are remarkable, in part, for being the sort of beings for whom the very fact of being matters. It’s an existentialist observation that sounds very lofty and celebratory until you consider that we are, simultaneously, driven to cover up and deny knowledge about existence, including suffering, destruction, and […]

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