Blog

What’s Wrong with “True Enough”?

Long before alt-right was born, studies had already shown truth isn’t so important to most people. Psychologists since Freud have argued humans construct views of themselves and of the world and they experience potentially crippling anxiety when these constructions are threatened. As such, “rationality” is frequently hijacked by adefense motivation: the “desire to hold attitudes and beliefs congruent with existing self-definitional attitudes and […]

5 Lessons from Year 26

Today is my 26th birthday. Ever since I was small I imagined grown-up me as a wise university professor with a grey beard. I will remember this year as the year I decided to stop pursuing an academic career. I love being a (non-academic) writer a lot more. I’ve also changed my mind about more important things. For […]

The Empowerment Paradox: Why Mastery Won’t Set Us Free

If I increase my ability to reach my goals, that’s a good thing, right? Not always. There’s a surprising way in which empowerment can come full circle and become powerlessness. How to achieve a goal Let’s see getting what you want as a two-step process: Discover what the cause-effect relationships that govern reality are Figure out how to set theright cause-effect […]

How Wrong Ideas about Knowledge Can Ruin Decisions

Let’s do a quiz! What do these things have in common? My happiness level; The job performance of a knowledge worker; The societal engagement of young people; How democratic a country is. Well? ‘Things’ like happiness, job performance, democracy, and societal engagement don’t exist in a concrete sense. You can’t see or touch a happiness-particle or a democracy-atom. The things […]

Life’s Most Uncomfortable Question and Two Ways to Answer it

I thought it was a gift from heaven. About two years ago, some uni was crazy enough to offer me a position as PhD-candidate in philosophy. Ever since I was small I imagined grown-up me as a wise university professor with a grey beard. And landing a spot at a top-50 uni is hard. I was […]

The Best Way to Spend Bad Days

“It’s all so pointless,” the voice was telling me over and over. Depression has a life of its own. It was making its bad-day morning routes, delivering its message to every cell in my brain. Soon I would feel it everywhere. Lying in my bed, on my back, I realized: today was a shitty day. I briskly turned on my right side. It was a desperate attempt to go […]

Sleepwalking Through Life

People say we live in bubbles and echo-chambers and wait I thought echoes were about babies. I don’t think that’s true (I’m not sure about the babies part). There’s more confrontation with those characters who have other opinions than ever. If you don’t buy it, just ask your grandmother how many non-Christians, or non-Muslims, or […]

Human Nature Is Created, Not Discovered

Barry Schwartz is one of the most interesting thinkers of our time. He is most famous for his work on The Paradox of Choice.Where conventional wisdom tells us that more possibilities is better, Schwartz makes a compelling case that the abundance of choice in today’s western world is actually making us worse off. Infinite choice is paralyzing, Schwartz argues, and exhausting to […]

Self-Improvement Doesn’t Have An End, It Is The End

I like Mark Manson. Apart from Wait But Why, at which Tim Urban never posts anything anymore anyway, he’s the only blogger whose new articles I check out immediately. And his paperback Models — which sounds like a dating manual but is so much more than that — is probably the best self-help book I’ve read. I used to agree with him that self-improvement is […]

Schools Don’t Support Personal Development, They Distort It

After they get their first job, many people go, “Finally, I can stop reading. I can stop learning.” In our society, it’s a truism everyone first needs years of schooling before they can start contributing to society. When we’ve reached this performance-phase, we quit learning. Your diploma was an entry ticket to the real world. It signals that you’re […]