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Most people talk about doubt like it’s a bad thing.

“Don’t doubt yourself.”

“Don’t doubt the process.”

“Don’t doubt that success, fame, fortune, whatever, will happen for you. Just keep the faith and hustle, hustle, hustle.”

In the self-help world, doubt is public enemy #1. That’s a problem.

Doubt is actually a good thing.

The kind of doubt I’m talking about doesn’t doubt human dignity, your own or others. It’s not the kind of doubt that says, “Am I really worthy of love?” or “Do I really matter?”

The kind of doubt I’m advocating is doubt about certainty. Doubt about…


Chronic pain feels like a curse, but your life is still up to you.

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It leaches the life out of you, makes you miserable. But it doesn’t mean your life is over. You need to understand that, especially if you’ve just begun experiencing it. There are many people who have lived meaningful, impressive lives despite their chronic pain.

Take William James, for example. He had back spasms so painful that he couldn’t sit or stand up straight for days at a time. Chronic pain made his life suck, but it didn’t own him. It didn’t defeat him. He fought through it and founded psychology as a formal discipline.

Imagine the world without psychology, how…


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Every week a new hashtag about a piece of legislation roars onto the trending tab.

Every week mobs of people draw battle lines and hurl insults at each other, crusading for a bill they vigorously support or condemn.

You’ve seen this. Anyone who spends even a few minutes on social media has seen this. It’s impossible to miss. Maybe you know someone like this. Maybe you are someone like this.

If you are, I have one question for you: why?

Why do you support the bill?

Bear in mind, if you say you support a bill, I’m going to ask…


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If you want people to trust you, respect you, or follow you, you need to get your core values straight.

No one wants to follow a leader who lies, cheats, avoids responsibility, or breaks promises. Such “leaders” aren’t leaders aren’t at all.

To be a good leader — scratch that, a great leader — you need to lead with values.

Values are the principles that govern our lives. They represent who we are and what we stand for. They guide our behavior, for better or worse.

When we live by good values, we create habits that reinforce those values, and…


Buddhism is badass but complicated. These books make it easy.

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Buddhism is badass. I don’t think the Dalai Lama would approve of my choice of words but I think he’d agree with the general sentiment.

I’ve written about Buddhism before. It’s one thing to read about the subject, and another to have the skills to investigate and analyze the themes and ideas of Buddhism. For that reason, I want to give you the tools to investigate this ancient philosophy for yourself.

There’s a lot to gain. Buddhist teachings can help us see the world with fewer illusions and more compassion, which leads to greater happiness, less depression and anxiety, and…


I agree that they don't do it explicitly from a postmodernist perspective, but postmodernism has many different forms, which includes things like truth based on identity group perspectives instead of an objective reality.

And I do agree that Foucault's study of madness (and prisons) is good; I think the problem was that he began to apply the power dynamics of prison to too many different avenues of life. He saw power struggles as fundamental in too many different things, including places where love, competence, duty, or a desire for stability would better describe the motivations for those situations.

Granted, it…


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“Today, there seems to be only one absolute thing: relativism”. —Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda

Relativism is bullshit. Okay, maybe that’s not the most eloquent way of saying it, but it’s true.

Relativism insists that everything is relative, which, besides being a contradiction (because if everything is relative then so is the statement that everything is relative), it’s also dangerous. And it’s on the rise.

Right now millions of people are adopting a relativistic philosophy toward life, toward truth, toward meaning, and toward, well, just about everything.

Some call themselves deconstructionists. Others call themselves postmodernists. Most don’t know that…


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The drunk man repeated himself like a broken record. “Thou shall not kill! That’s what the Bible says. That’s what God commanded and I violated that commandment. Thou shall not kill…”

I was out for drinks with my friend when a stranger asked to borrow a cigarette. My friend obliged and we got to talking. The man revealed he was a veteran but he didn’t seem proud of it. He looked haunted, distant. That’s when he revealed he had killed someone during a tour of service. His haunted look grew deeper, his drags on the cigarette longer.

We tried to…


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To say Hinduism is complicated is like saying the universe is big. That might be true, but it doesn’t give you an idea of just how big it is. Then again, what else would you expect from one of the world’s oldest, best-preserved religions with thousands of pages to pour over and dozens of divisions in thinking?

This is why I’m covering just the basics of Hindu philosophy, the profound ideas of Brahman, Atman, and the illusion of separateness, and how these concepts encourage peace.

It all starts with Brahman.


Explain complex worlds without turning your readers off

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I love sci-fi fantasy and fantasy stories, but many sci-fi and fantasy writers run into a huge problem when they create their worlds: exposition.

The more complex the world, the more they must explain to their reader. Maybe it’s the political lay of the land, the relationships between galactic empires, or the magic and technology characters use to fight each other.

In any case, the more different a world is from our own, the more it needs explaining. Of course, the best way is to show, not tell. …

Ryan Reudell

Writing about philosophy, writing, self-mastery, politics, and mental health with no pulled punches. I read about 100 books a year & take notes on all of them.

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