Karen Armstrong is one of the world's leading commentators on religious affairs. She spent seven years as a Roman Catholic nun, but left her teaching order in 1969 to read English at St Anne's College, Oxford. In 1982, she became a full time writer and broadcaster. She is a best-selling author of over 16 books. An accomplished writer and passionate campaigner for religious liberty, Armstrong has addressed members of the United States Congress and the Senate and has participated in the World Economic Forum.
A collection of essays by fourteen philosophers presenting a thoughtful, introductory guide to choosing a philosophy for living an examined and meaningful life. A VINTAGE ORIGINAL Socrates famously said "the unexamined life is not worth living," but what does it mean to truly live philosophically? This thought-provoking, wide-ranging collection brings together essays by fifteen leading philosophers reflecting on what it means to live according to a philosophy of life. From Eastern philosophies (Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism), to classical Western philosophies (such as Aristotelianism and Stoicism), to the four major religions, as well as contemporary philosophies (such as existentialism and effective altruism), each contributor offers a lively, personal account of how they find meaning in the practice of their chosen philosophical traditions. Together, the pieces in How to Live a Good Life provide not only a beginner's guide to choosing a life philosophy but also a timely portrait of what it means to live an examined life in the twenty-first century.
Of all species that have ever existed on earth, only one has reached human levels of intelligence and social organisation: us. Why? In Genesis , celebrated biologist Edward O. Wilson traces the great transitions of evolution, from the origin of life to the invention of sexual reproduction to the development of language itself. The only way for us to fully understand human behaviour, Wilson argues, is to study the evolutionary histories of nonhuman species. Of these, he demonstrates that at least seventeen - from the African naked mole rat and the sponge-dwelling shrimp to one of the oldest species on earth, the termite - have been found to have advanced societies based on altruism, cooperation and the division of labour. These rare eusocial species form the prehistory to our human social patterns, even, according to Wilson, suggesting the possible biological benefits of homosexuality and elderly grandmothers. Whether writing about midges who dance about like acrobats, schools of anchovies who protectively huddle to appear like a gigantic fish or well-organised flocks becoming potentially immortal, Genesis is a pathbreaking work of evolutionary theory filled with lyrical observations. It will make us rethink how we became who we are.
Zen master, peace activist and author Thich Nhat Hanh shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us. He offers commentaries and meditations, personal anecdotes and stories to show how deep meditative presence is available.
Drawing on his professional experience, the author, a practising psychiatrist, suggests ways in which facing our difficulties - and suffering through the changes - can enable us to reach a higher level of self-understanding. He discusses how to recognize compatibility, how to distinguish dependency from love, and how to become one's own person.
When it comes to death, is there ever a best case scenario? In this disarmingly witty book, Julian Barnes confronts our unending obsession with the end. He reflects on what it means to miss God, whether death can be good for our careers and why we eventually turn into our parents. Barnes is the perfect guide to the weirdness of the only thing that binds us all.
Selected from the book Nothing to be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes VINTAGE MINIS: GREAT MINDS. BIG IDEAS. LITTLE BOOKS.
A series of short books by the world's greatest writers on the experiences that make us human Also in the Vintage Minis series:
Calm by Tim Parks Drinking by John Cheever Babies by Anne Enright Psychedelics by Aldous Huxley
Neal Donald Walsch was experiencing a low period in his life when he decided to write a letter to God, venting his frustrations. As he finished his letter, he was moved to continue writing - and out came extraordinary answers to his questions. This is his story.
IN AN APPEAL TO THE WORLD, HIS HOLINESS THE 14TH DALAI LAMA OF TIBET ILLUMINATES THE WAY TO PEACE IN OUR TIME, ARGUING FOR A FORM OF UNIVERSAL ETHICS THAT GOES BEYOND RELIGION VALUES WE ALL SHARE AS HUMANS THAT CAN HELP US CREATE UNITY AND PEACE TO HEAL OUR WORLD.
Working with tursted collaborator Franz Alt, the Dalai Lama cals on the better angels of our nature to tackle a wide range of contemporary issues, from war, violence and intolerance to climate change, global hunger and materialism. Applying the techniques and teachings of Tibetan Buddhism --
If we want a science of consciousness, we will have to rethink what 'science' is.
Understanding how brains produce consciousness is one of the great scientific challenges of our age. Some philosophers argue that the mystery is so deep it will never be solved. Others believe our standard scientific methods for investigating the brain will eventually produce an answer.
In Galileo's Error, Professor Philip Goff proposes a third way, arguing both approaches are wrongheaded: we struggle to explain consciousness because physical science, as we currently conceive it, is not designed to deal with the issue.
Explaining how Galileo's flawed philosophy of nature created the 'problem' of consciousness in the first place, Goff shows convincingly what we need to do to solve it.
Controversial, stimulating and ahead of its time, Galileo's Error is an important step towards a complete vision of reality.
Empathizes with those who are suffering, and demonstrates the tangible benefits of practising forgiveness and compassion. The author reveals many lessons he has learned, including how his collaborations with leading neuroscientists, psychologists, teachers and students from around the world have taught him how to educate the heart.
Is justice an ideal, forever beyond our grasp, or something that may actually guide our practical decisions and enhance our lives? This work presents an alternative approach to mainstream theories of justice which, despite their many specific achievements have taken us, he argues, in the wrong direction in general.
From the author of The Architecture of Happiness, a deeply moving meditation on how we can still benefit, without believing, from the wisdom, the beauty, and the consolatory power that religion has to offer.
Alain de Botton was brought up in a committedly atheistic household, and though he was powerfully swayed by his parents' views, he underwent, in his midtwenties, a crisis of faithlessness. His feelings of doubt about atheism had their origins in listening to Bach's cantatas, were further developed in the presence of certain Bellini Madonnas, and became overwhelming with an introduction to Zen architecture. However, it was not until his father's death buried under a Hebrew headstone in a Jewish cemetery because he had intriguingly omitted to make more secular arrangements that Alain began to face the full degree of his ambivalence regarding the views of religion that he had dutifully accepted. Why are we presented with the curious choice between either committing to peculiar concepts about immaterial deities or letting go entirely of a host of consoling, subtle and effective rituals and practices for which there is no equivalent in secular society? Why do we bristle at the mention of the word "morality"? Flee from the idea that art should be uplifting, or have an ethical purpose? Why don't we build temples? What mechanisms do we have for expressing gratitude? The challenge that de Botton addresses in his book: how to separate ideas and prctices from the religious institutions that have laid claim to them. In Religion for Atheists is an argument to free our soulrelated needs from the particular influence of religions, even if it is, paradoxically, the study of religion that will allow us to rediscover and rearticulate those needs.
From the Hardcover edition.
This text seeks to show the links between emotional and spiritual stresses and specific illnesses in the context of the anatomy of the human energy system, linking the emotional, psychological and physical factors that lie at the root of illness.
Fundamentalism is seen as the major threat to world peace, a conclusion impossible to ignore since the events in New York on September 11 2001. This book investigates fundamentalism's historical, social, religious, political, and ideological roots, and tackles the polemic and stereotypes surrounding this complex phenomenon.
The idea of a single divine being - God, Yahweh, Allah- has existed for over 4000 years. In this account of the evolution of belief Armstrong examines Western society's unerring fidelity to this idea of one God and the many conflicting convictions it engenders. Originally published in 1993 by William Heinemann.
The Dalai Lama's guide to dealing with everyday human problems and achieving happiness. It addresses such issues as: the sources of happiness; desire and greed; marriage and romance; resolving conflict; facing our suffering; overcoming anxiety; anger and hatred; and finding balance.
This original and lucid account of the complexities of love and its essential role in human well-being draws on the latest scientific research. Three eminent psychiatrists tackle the difficult task of reconciling what artists and thinkers have known for thousands of years about the human heart with what has only recently been learned about the primitive functions of the human brain. A General Theory of Love demonstrates that our nervous systems are not self-contained: from earliest childhood, our brains actually link with those of the people close to us, in a silent rhythm that alters the very structure of our brains, establishes life-long emotional patterns, and makes us, in large part, who we are. Explaining how relationships function, how parents shape their childs developing self, how psychotherapy really works, and how our society dangerously flouts essential emotional laws, this is a work of rare passion and eloquence that will forever change the way you think about human intimacy.