How storytelling gives life meaning

Since the advent of communication, humans have used stories to create meaningful lives.

Still from James Cameron's 1997 film, Titanic.
  • "An experience of being alive" is what mythologist Joseph Campbell said humans strive for.
  • Though we live in an age of distraction, short videos still tell big stories.
  • That said, losing a connection to the environment to stare at a screen has disastrous consequences.
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Culture & Religion

George Dantzig: The real Will Hunting

How the story of a statistics student being late to class became the inspiration for the protagonist of Good Will Hunting.

Photo credit: oman Mager on Unsplash
  • One of the iconic scenes from Good Will Hunting shows Matt Damon's character anonymously solving a nigh-impossible math problem on a blackboard at the university where he works as a janitor.
  • This story, while modified for the purposes of the film, actually happened.
  • George Dantzig, who would later become a famous mathematician, was late to his graduate statistics class one day when he saw two statistical problems on a blackboard that he mistook for homework.
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Culture & Religion

Jordan Peterson's 10-step process for stronger writing

Though written for his students, the lessons can be applied by any essay writer.

Clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson poses during a photo shoot in Sydney, New South Wales. (Photo by Hollie Adams / Newspix / Getty Images)
  • The best way to improve your thinking is to learn how to write, says Jordan Peterson.
  • His 10-step process for writing an essay is time consuming, but the benefits are worth it.
  • From the granular to the macro, every facet of writing a solid essay is covered in his template.
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Personal Growth

14 movies for your next pagan holiday

In your Ostara bonnet…

  • 14 pagan-flavored movies to consider for your next holiday get-together.
  • Filmmakers just can't stay way from the pagan love of nature and magic.
  • Pagan-themed movies can be excellent training for wee environmentalists.
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Culture & Religion

How to use a thesaurus to actually improve your writing

Looking up big, fancy words won't make your writing better. But a thesaurus can help – if you use it like this.

  • Using a thesaurus to find larger or more impressive words is misguided, says Martin Amis. Instead, use a thesaurus to find words with the perfect rhythm for your sentence.
  • For example, the Nabokov novel "Invitation to a Beheading" was originally called – not for very long – "Invitation to an Execution". Nabokov nixed the repetitive suffix.
  • A dictionary is also a writer's best friend; looking up words has a rejuvenating effect on your mind, says Amis. "When you look up a word in the dictionary you own it in a way you didn't before. You know what it comes from and you know its exact meaning."
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