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 Apeiron Blog Newsletter

Philosophy in the news and our picks of the week.

Hi Fellow Philosophers!

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

Philosophy in the News

This week I wanted to focus on the big questions. As Chris Daly notes in his article “Philosophy’s lack of progress,” “despite [a] wealth of questions and the centuries spent tackling them, philosophers haven’t successfully provided any answers.” For these centuries, philosophers have thought long and hard, coming up with attempted answers and then puncturing them as quickly as they were sparked. A “question” in philosophy seems to be synonymous with a problem, and this is what Daly explores in his article.


The Apeiron Blog Newsletter

Philosophy in the news and our picks of the week.

Image by S Migaj from Unsplash

Hey Fellow Philosophers!

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

Philosophy in the News

This week I wanted to focus on fate and free will: the philosophical debate that calls into question how much control we have over our lives. Some believe both play a role, while others are polarized on the matter, believing the course of our lives is dictated by some greater force or left entirely up to our jurisdiction.

In Oliver Burkeman’s article “The clockwork universe: is free will an illusion?” Oliver looks simply looks at whether we have free will through a…


The Apeiron Blog Newsletter

Philosophy in the news and our picks of the week.

Image by Tingey Injury Law Firm from Unsplash

Hey Fellow Philosophers!

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

Philosophy in the News: Moral Philosophy

As I’m currently taking a course on Jane Austen and her canon, I’ve been looking a lot at her character’s morality. Anyone who has read Austen knows that, despite some characters being genuine, there are many who are not. Mansfield Park is the book I’m currently studying, and its characters with the exception of its heroine are all self-governed by questionable morals.

So I wanted to focus on moral philosophy this week, and Olivia Goldhill’s article for The New York Times attached…


What makes us, us, and what makes our lives our own

“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett. Image from The Attic on Eighth

“You don’t have to explain yourself,” is what Stella Vignes imagines Loretta Walker would say. She imagines marching across the street, gaining confidence with each step. Standing in Loretta’s living room, stage lights shining on her face. As if ready to receive applause for how convincingly she played her role.

What Stella is imagining is revealing who she really is. Opening the formidable stage curtains to a platform unknown. Stella knows that, despite her prejudice against Loretta’s Black family moving into her white neighbourhood, there isn’t much difference between them and herself. That if Loretta were to peel back her…


The Industrial Revolution(s) and their romantic resistance.

A Japanese Stroll Garden that dates back to the 1670s. Image from Architectural Digest

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods,” Lord Byron writes in his poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.” “There is a rapture on the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.”

In the 17th century, industrialization began its rapid sweep, a transition that gave the industry a new governing rule. Abandoning the traditional hand production ways of manufacturing for machines, the Industrial Revolution was a period defined by booming populations, economic prosperity, and smoke. Steel-making processes, assembly lines, and mass-production dominated the manufacturing…


The Apeiron Blog Newsletter

Philosophy in the news and our picks of the week.

Image by Thomas Bormans from Unsplash

Hey Fellow Philosophers!

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

Philosophy in the News: Philosophy and the Plague

This week I wanted to focus on plagues and their relation to philosophy. Plagues, like any catastrophic event, have the capacity to elicit unrest. This is especially clear today; as the current pandemic has prompted social, but also mental unrest. It has forced us to abandon our individualistic mentality and embrace the collective. In a neoliberal society, of course, this would come as quite a shock.

Albert Camus’s The Plague reflects on this notion both philosophically and narratively. The story takes place…


Using the literary form as a means to heal.

Image from The Jakarta Post

In her essay “On Being Ill,” Virginia Woolf laments the “poverty of the [English] language” when it comes to describing illness. She writes:

“English, which can express the thoughts of Hamlet and the tragedy of Lear, has no words for the shiver and the headache. It has all grown one way. The merest schoolgirl, when she falls in love, has Shakespeare, Donne, Keats to speak her mind for her; but let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry”

I was first introduced to Woolf and this body of…


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…

Mallika Vasak

Words on art, literature, and culture.

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