This week, I’ve been researching an ancient mnemonic technique called ‘the mind palace’, where people imprint a real or imagined building onto their memory – a palace, a mansion, a church, even a whole street – and then fill it with striking images, to which they attach bits of information they want to remember. The Read more…

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In my review of Sam Harris’ Waking Up two weeks ago, I wrote this sentence: “Spiritual experiences tell us something about the cosmos,…the experience of infinite loving-consciousness is a glimpse of the very ground of being, also sometimes called God, Brahman, Allah, the Logos, the Tao, the Buddha-realm.” This sentence seemed to surprise some people Read more…

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I had the pleasure of meeting Jonathan Haidt on Monday at the RSA. Haidt, as you all know, wrote The Happiness Hypothesis, which really inspired me. I gave him a copy of my new book, so if you see it in a bin near the Strand, it’s yours! Haidt’s own new book is called The Read more…

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When he was a student at Yale University, Stephen Greenblatt wandered to the local bookstore to pick up some holiday reading, and his eye was caught by a strange-looking book with a painting by Max Ernst on the cover, showing disembodied torsos copulating in the sky. Naturally he bought it. It turned out to be Read more…

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The politics of well-being is not a new phenomenon. There have been many times in history when governments have sought not merely to increase their coffers, but to enhance the well-being of their citizens. That, in fact, was the model of Christian society for some centuries; it was the philosophy behind Confucian societies; it was Read more…

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