Oscar Wilde on Triviality

"It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously."

Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) was an Irish writer best known for his masterpiece play The Importance of Being Earnest, as well as the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde is also famous for the persecution he faced from his contemporaries with regard to his homosexuality. After a public feud in 1895 with the Marquess of Queensberry led to numerous revelations, Wilde was convicted of gross indecency and imprisoned for two years. Upon his release, Wilde fled to France where he died of meningitis at the young age of 46.

"It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously."

-Oscar Wilde

In the clip below, actor and comedian Stephen Fry reflects on Wilde's influence on his life and work, from his Big Think interview:

Is life after 75 worth living? This UPenn scholar doubts it.

What makes a life worth living as you grow older?

Culture & Religion
  • Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel revisits his essay on wanting to die at 75 years old.
  • The doctor believes that an old life filled with disability and lessened activity isn't worth living.
  • Activists believe his argument stinks of ageism, while advances in biohacking could render his point moot.
Keep reading Show less

Brazil's Amazon fires: How they started — and how you can help.

The Amazon Rainforest is often called "The Planet's Lungs."

Politics & Current Affairs
  • For weeks, fires have been burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, likely started by farmers and ranchers.
  • Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has blamed NGOs for starting the flames, offering no evidence to support the claim.
  • There are small steps you can take to help curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which produces about 20 percent of the world's oxygen.
Keep reading Show less

Study: Sending emojis is linked to scoring more dates, sex

Emojis might contain more emotional information than meets the eye.

Sex & Relationships
  • A new study shows that people who frequently used emojis in text messages with potential dates engaged in more sexual activity and had more contact with those dates.
  • However, the study only shows an association; it didn't establish causality.
  • The authors suggest that emojis might help to convey nuanced emotional information that's lacking in strictly text-based messaging.
Keep reading Show less