The internet is an inexhaustible plethora of articles and stuff to read – mostly bad, some good, some excellent, each fighting for our limited time and attention. I curate here weekly, my personal favourite goodreads that I think are worthy of reading.

1. Evolution and the Purposes of Life 

Stephen L. Talbott |The New Atlantis

An excellent essay on how biological life is context driven and permeated with meaning. Talbott argues with great rigor that each living thing is “endowed with a purpose or project”. He details what end directed activity is and the tension it necessarily leads to with the  reigning paradigm of a mechanistic philosophy of nature. A paradigm that takes the quantifiable and mathematical as real, and the qualitative and subjective aspects of biological life as apparent. The tension is further highlighted in the concept of the genetic program which Talbot argues cannot in the end do justice to the “wholeness”, “narrative” of living organisms.

2. The Good Life

James Altena | Salvo Magazine

Altena tackles the age long ancient question, that continues to press itself upon us in our daily lives -what is the good life? He invites us to ask ourselves the questions, “What is a life well lived? What is an exemplary life—a life that I would wish to strive for, to emulate, to have others remember as worthy of admiration? What principles ought to guide me in living such a life?” His pursues the question with the spirit of the ancient thinkers and leaders rather than the modern spirit.

3. On Interventionistas and their Mental Defects

 Nassim Nicholas Taleb | Medium

Nassim pens a short and concise rigorous case for why “skin in the game” is essential to making sound political and economic decisions and generally in life as well. He shows why a system that involves people making decisions that cannot hurt them (Interventionistas) has moral and epistemic consequences. Simply put – we don’t learn from decisions we are not victims of. Without risk there is no learning or meaningful change possible. He illustrates this with political decisions such as bringing regime change in Libya which ended up leaving the country worse off.

 4. Gratitude is an Emotion and a Skill

Robin Phillips | Unpragmatic Thoughts

An excellent article on how to cultivate the virtue of gratitude. Phillips shows how gratitude involves the integration of the whole person – mind, will and emotions. He draws some insights from scientific literature on the effects of a genuine feeling of gratitude on physical and mental fitness. He argues that gratitude is a skill that one can consciously develop rather than simply being a disposition or feeling one either has or does not. Self -mastery and well-being he argues takes intention and discipline a principle which is counter cultural. Modern culture says being true to yourself is simply following what comes to you naturally – which might not involve a disposition for gratitude.

 5. It’s Not About You: Doctor Strange and the Dichotomy of Self

K.B. Hoyle | Christ and Pop culture

It’s not about you“, Hoyle draws some insights from the spectacular marvel movie of Dr Strange. He unpacks how the movie plays out the theme of self-sacrifice versus self-actualization. A tension Dr. Strange must confront daily as he grapples with trying to regain his old life as a successful Doctor and living in this newly discovered mystical world; a world greater and larger than him and precisely because of that demands great self-sacrifice. Hoyle connects the tension with what Jesus taught his disciples that to follow him was to “lose one’s life“.