Archives for category: Wellbeing + Happiness

The diverse answers come from a number of Brain Pickings favorites. Neuroscientist David Eagleman, author of the excellent Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, explores the concept of “the umwelt” coined by biologist Jakob von Uexküll in 1909 — the idea that different animals in the same ecosystem pick up on different elements of their environment and thus live in different micro-realities based on the subset of the world they’re able to detect. Eagleman stresses the importance of recognizing our own umwelt — our unawareness of the limits of our awareness:

I think it would be useful if the concept of the umwelt were embedded in the public lexicon. It neatly captures the idea of limited knowledge, of unobtainable information, and of unimagined possibilities. Consider the criticisms of policy, the assertions of dogma, the declarations of fact that you hear every day — and just imagine if all of these could be infused with the proper intellectual humility that comes from appreciating the amount unseen.”

This Will Make You Smarter: 151 Big Thinkers Each Pick a Concept to Enhance Your Cognitive Toolkit | Brain Pickings.


Talk to Me: Design and the Communication Between People and Objects | Brain Pickings.

The Gallery of Wonder

Art /science/ gallery/ museum.

The Gallery of Wonder is curated by Irene Brown and is a conference point and exhibition facility for research into the evocation of wonder. Fundamentally understood as a contemporary gallery it invites exploration into the potential of visual display to provoke enquiry and stimulate innovativ associations.

Its aim is to encourage the questioning of the conventional relationships between art and science, gallery and museum. The Gallery of Wonder extends an open invitation to artists, scientists, writers and researchers to engage with and contribute to this research.

Gallery of Wonder.

The biological, psychological and social facets of our human condition is at the heart of my fine art practice and creative engagement. How we come to know, see and experience ourselves in the world – our internal minds, external bodies and existential existence – inspires visual artwork centring the human anatomy, birth and maturation, disease and illness, and death.

The intimate juxtaposition of familiar objects commonplace in the domestic, clinical and mortuary settings, are meticulously and painstakingly rendered in miniature scale. Created from ordinary materials derived from the everyday, they exude a humble appearance whilst imparting potent morals about our irreversible, inevitable journey from ‘the cradle to the grave’. Sentimental in relation to childbirth and juvenile times, or with reference to debilitating age, illness, disease and death, they provide a platform for the projection of ones own authentic experience of life. The objects nourish lived experience and are inseparable from the thoughts, feelings and associations anchored by them. 

via dead weight: LIFE SIZE objects.

52 Resident Thinkers

From the moment the expedition team set sail to the Arctic in September 2011 until the final weekend of the Cultural Olympiad in September 2012, Nowhereisland will have a different Resident Thinker each week. Our 52 Resident Thinkers will be drawn from environmentalism to peace activism, broadcasting to stand-up comedy, sustainable farming to human rights. Each week’s letter will be the focus of live public discussion here online and you can follow previous conversations in response to previous thinkers here.

Nowhereisland Resident Thinkers have used the opportunity to test out new ideas about how we might shape our society. These propositions are independent views, imagining Nowhereisland as a place where we might begin again.

The Resident Thinkers programme is published by Situations at the University of the West of England, Bristol, 2012. The views expressed in the Resident Thinkers programme are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Publisher. May Contain Strong Language.


7 Must-Read Books on the Art & Science of Happiness


From Plato to Buddha, or what imperfection has to do with the neuroscience of the good life.

If you, like us, are fascinated by the human quest to understand the underpinnings of happiness but break out in hives at the mere mention of self-help books, you’re in luck: We’ve sifted through our personal library, a decade’s worth of obsessive reading, to bring you seven essential books on the art and science of happiness, rooted in solid science, contemporary philosophy and cross-disciplinary insight. From psychology and neuroscience to sociology and cultural anthropology to behavioral economics, these must-reads illuminate the most fundamental aspiration of all human existence: How to avoid suffering and foster lasting well-being.

7 Must-Read Books on the Art & Science of Happiness | Brain Pickings.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got, and you’ll always feel what you always felt

via 5 things to do today.