Writing lessons we can learn from Vincent Van Gogh

Photo by Ståle Grut from Unsplash

Writing, for some, for those who do a lot of it, may seem like a mechanical process. A formulaic procedure, a technical exercise. But for those who do it not as a profession, but a pleasurable pursuit, writing takes time, inspiration, and great thought. Writing, for those who truly love it, is a humanist endeavour: a way of making sense of the world in which they live. In this way it is art, and should be treated and understood as such.

Vincent van Gogh was an artist, but was also a writer. His heartfelt letters to his brother have been…


It is within human nature to look to things greater than ourselves for answers. Some turn to religion, some turn to mathematics and/or philosophy. Some worship God(s) and pray they will provide us with guidance. Religion is unknowing, but it is a way of knowing in a world in which we know nothing. Having faith in mathematics is similar to having faith in religion: it is to believe in something intangible which yet is tangible in the minds of believers.

Photo: Alex Block from Unsplash

Math and religion are the same in that they both aspire to a sort of grace. They are conscious endeavours…


The psychology of the cult experience and why members come and go

Lana Del Rey and Father John Misty in Del Rey’s music video “Freak.” Image from Harpers Bazaar

In her music video “Freak,” Lana Del Rey sways with Father John Misty, a narcotic haze clouding the scene like smoke. She sits on the dusty ground in contemplation, listening to the twang of his guitar. She crawls over to him and smiles, pressing a patch of acid on his tongue.

The song, with its sultry strings and sexiness, is quintessentially Lana. After years of nurturing an aesthetic of dark sensuality, it's hard to describe her music as anything but. “Freak” allows us to descend with her, further into her world of 1960s nostalgia, all focused through the lens of…


Using Emma Cline’s “The Girls” to explore the dangers of girlhood vulnerability

The Manson Family girls from left: Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten, on their way to court for their involvement in the murders. Image from CNN

The story begins in the sultry summer of 1969; blonde hills, dusty air, ragtag girls. Evie Boyd sits on a bench in a Northern California park, eating a hamburger alone.

I looked up because of the laughter, and kept looking because of the girls,” she tells us. Their laughter echoing across the fields, the hems of their dresses fraying, dirty, dissolving into a halo of light. Garish girls, careless girls, overt girls, “like sharks breaching the water.” As the book ping-pongs between her adolescence and adulthood, Evie’s gaze doesn’t falter for a second.

Emma Cline’s The Girls is described as…


Writing Tips

Lessons from Zadie Smith on authenticity, betrayal, and failure in writing

Image by Thought Catalog from Unsplash

In her essay “Fail Better”, Zadie Smith gives us “The tale of Clive”. Clive aspires to write the perfect novel, and seems to have all the skills to do it:

“He’s intelligent and well read; he’s made a study of contemporary fiction and can see clearly where his peers have gone wrong; he has read a good deal of rigorous literary theory — those elegant blueprints for novels not yet built — and is now ready to build his own unparalleled house of words”

So he begins. He writes. And three years later, Clive has finished his novel. …


The Apeiron Blog Newsletter

Philosophy in the news and our picks of the week.

Photo by Ashim D’Silva from Unsplash

Hey Fellow Philosophers!

Here are the philosophy resources our team has selected for this week. I hope they provoke deep thought!

Philosophy in the News: Philosophy and Nature

This week I wanted to focus on the link between philosophy and nature. The field places great emphasis on connecting with the natural world to both better ourselves and the planet. As climate change continues to progress, the importance of honing our relationship with nature cannot go ignored.

The first article of this week from The New York Times looks at what we talk about when we talk about sustainability. Interestingly, author Jeremy Butman weaves philosophical principles to help…


The Apeiron Blog Newsletter

Philosophy in the news and our picks of the week.

Photo by Carlos Ibáñez on Unsplash

Hi Fellow Philosophers!

Here are our team’s selected philosophy resources this week. I hope they provoke deep thought!

Philosophy in the News: Philosophy and Art

This week I wanted to focus on the link between philosophy and art. I’ve always appreciated the visual arts and their capacity to prompt us to contemplate. Like our English teachers always told us to read between the lines, we can also find meaning between the brush strokes, behind the pencil markings.

Art is a representation of our world: both collective and individual. It manifests the shared experiences of humankind, but also, the unique experience of the artist. This editorial by Rick…


The Apeiron Blog Newsletter

Philosophy in the news and our picks of the week.

Image by Magnus Engø from Unsplash

Hey Fellow Philosophers!

Here are our team’s curated philosophy resources of the week. I hope they get you thinking!

Philosophy in the News: Philosophy and Education

This week I wanted to focus on philosophy in education: its value and need. When I was little my mom enrolled me in piano lessons, and always talked about how knowledge in music enhances knowledge in math and subsequent fields.

I’ve always found it intriguing how an understanding of one subject can complement another.

Because of this, I thought it would be interesting to explore how philosophy can do the same. Similar to the way music introduces students to “time signatures…


Science and Technology

What you should know about gene-editing, its uses, and its future.

Image from Equal Justice Project

This may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but scientists are working on bringing back animals who have gone extinct.

They also plan on making milk, eggs, and peanuts safe to eat for those allergic, and curing inherited diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis and Sickle Cell Anemia.

But how is this possible?

The answer is gene-editing: specifically a technology called CRISPR-Cas9.

CRISPR-Cas9 stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9, so you can see we use the acronym. …


Books that have helped me get comfortable with the genre

Image by Charl Folscher from Unsplash

Before I began my studies in literature and culture, classic literature was always formidable to me. I was scared that I would read the books it had to offer wrong, or somehow fail to understand their full humanity.

Unlike the other high-schools in my city that decided to include classic literature in their curriculum, mine decided against it. They wanted to take a more modern approach to English, and in the time I was in high-school, that meant books like The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor & Park.

Not that there’s anything wrong with modern literature. It has a…

Mallika Vasak

Lover of classic lit, drinker of red wine, believer in magic • mallivasak@gmail.com

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