When Your Public Image Becomes You

German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer on the formative influence of our public image - we are expected to become what we present ourselves to be.

Hell Is Other People: What Did Sartre Mean?

French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre famously said, "Hell is other people". This quote appears towards the end of Sartre's play Huis Clos (No Exit), first published in 1944. A disenchanted and desperate verdict; it comes from one of the three characters trapped together in one room. Without giving too much away, let me say that the play's …

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Spreading the Word: Which Is the Real You?

How do you combine two very different identities in one person without causing too much inner tension? Is it possible? Today's story is about one young Orthodox Jew who discovered the world of stand-up comedy and got his social anxiety under control. He shares his thoughts and feelings in this short film (the accompanying description …

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Search for Self as Search for Home

"It might be youth. It might be the reptilian impulses of a species with migration encoded in its DNA. It might be your inferiority complex or the boredom of small-town claustrophobia or the exhibitionist streak you’ve never told anyone about. It might be the hungers of ancestors whose aspirations have sunk into your bones, pushing …

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Who Am I? Poets Answer

Is there a question more perplexing than "who am I"? I am as close to myself as anyone could ever hope to get. The most intimate relationship, perfect unity and identity is "I". I am I. I = I. And yet, who is that "I" on either side of the equation? Who is behind the …

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Are Stand-Up Comedians Street Philosophers?

This question came up in one podcast where a couple of stand-up comedians join forces with a philosopher to discuss various topics. The idea was to determine whether a comic can be considered a philosopher who draws public attention to seemingly obvious everyday experiences (hence, the street epithet) and challenges our common assumptions in an easy-to-understand sort …

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