How Can Stories Be So Powerful?

A lot has been said recently about narratives. If you are at all interested in how humans understand reality, the term seems to show up everywhere Their omnipresence is well-deserved. Stories are unique devices for making sense of the world. It’s how our brains work. As cognitive scientist Mark Tuner has said: “Narrative imagining — story — is the fundamental instrument of thought. Rational capacities depend upon it. It is our chief […]

Christmas Essay: Why Objectivity Is Still A Thing

‘Maarten, what do you want to do for Christmas?’, I asked myself a while ago. My answer: I would like to try write an essay about something that has been bothering me for a long time now. (Yeah, I know I’m weird.) I promise it will change the way you look at our society. It […]

How (Not) To Be An Atheist

It took Friedrich Nietzsche almost 40 years to lose his faith in God. In 1844, he was born into a long line of Lutheran clergymen on both sides of his family. His father was a local pastor known for his religious strictness. He hardly sold any books and lived in poverty. His brilliance was recognizedposthumously and he […]

The Startling Truth About “What We Deserve”

Jobs are like clothes. More precisely: pay is like fashion. The reasons that jeans are fashionable or that certain jobs are well-paid are, in both cases, quite random. Yes, I’ll explain. Arbitrary outcomes Fashionability is completely relative, and we know it is. There are no ‘facts’ about whether something is or is not fashionable. When […]