Games People Play: the revolutionary 1964 model of human relationships that changed how we (mis)understand ourselves and each other, and more

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The Marginalian

Welcome Hello Reader! This is the weekly email digest of The Marginalian by Maria Popova. If you missed last week's edition — William Blake and the stubborn courage of the unexampled, poet, Etel Adnan on the sea and the soul, Radiolab creator Jad Abumrad's stunning commencement address about the meaning of life — you can catch up right here. And if my labor of love enriches your life in any way, please consider supporting it with a donation — for sixteen years, it has remained free and ad-free and alive (as have I) thanks to reader patronage. If you already donate: I appreciate you more than you know.

The Bittersweet Story of the Real-Life Peaceful Bull Who Inspired Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson’s Ferdinand

Six weeks before my grandmother was born on the other side of the world, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced the publication of a book described only as “a children’s story of a bull,” sold for $1.

In The Story of Ferdinand (public library), a gentle-souled young misfit sits out the perpetual head-butting by which his peers hone their bull-skills, choosing instead to smell the flowers under his favorite cork tree in solitude. His mother, at first worried about his bullness, recognizes her son’s difference and trusts that he would find his way.

And so he does.

Ferdinand grows up to remain entirely himself.

The day he is taken to the bull ring, he models for the violence-hungry crowd — as he would for millions of readers in the century since — a saner way of being in an insane world.

Wilbur Monroe Leaf, better known as Munro Leaf (December 4, 1905–December 21, 1976), wrote the story in the first year of his thirties, on a yellow legal pad, in half an hour, as a creative prompt for his friend Robert Lawson (October 4, 1892–May 27, 1957) — he wanted to give the illustrator something to tickle his artistic imagination out of a lull.

Their collaborative creation went on to become one of the most beloved children’s books of all time — cherished by Eleanor Roosevelt and Gandhi, adapted by Disney into an Oscar-winning film, translated into sixty languages, continuously in print for nearly a century.

It is a “children’s book” in the same way that The Little Prince is — a miniature work of philosophy, delivered with simplicity and warmth, radiating immense and eternal ideas about the meaning of human life. Like a great poem, it can be read many different ways and taken to mean many different things — a story about otherness that can speak to modern-termed styles of otherness like queerness and neurodivergence; a story about the quiet power of nonconformity; a story about the world-shifting power of personal example.

This latter aspect is what rendered the book so threatening to the dictators and militants of the day, who were already compacting the ashes of one World War into the foundation of another. In a stark affirmation of Iris Murdoch’s timeless observation that “tyrants always fear art because tyrants want to mystify while art tends to clarify,” the book was deemed pacifist propaganda, banned in Franco’s Spain and burned in Hitler’s Germany.

Like The Little Prince — a book published eight years later and inspired by its author’s wartime experience in the desertThe Story of Ferdinand has its roots in the lived experience of its creators. Both Leaf and Lawson had seen the world come undone in its first global war. When drafted, Lawson had joined the U.S. Army’s first camouflage unit. As the young artist Franz Marc was painting his extraordinary hill-wide canvases across the French countryside in another army’s camouflage unit, Lawson was putting on plays and music shows for French children. We have always survived history’s dark patches by making our own light and meeting brutality with beauty.

Like Winnie-the-Pooh — a book published a decade earlier, inspired by a real-life rescue baby bear its author had visited with his son at the London Zoo — The Story of Ferdinand has its roots in the true story of a real bull in the Spanish countryside.

Don Juan Cobaleda had been a rancher all his life, but he had never seen what he saw one morning in the mid-1930s: Carmelita — his seven-year-old daughter — was petting his blackest bull, bred as a toro bravo for bullfighting; the beast was eating flowers out of the little girl’s hand.

Don Juan must have been both touched by the sight and dismayed by his prized animal’s corrida prospects, for he named the bull Civilón — “Large Civilian,” a colloquial slur Spanish soldiers used for ordinary citizens.

Soon, other children were flocking to the farm with bouquets of wildflowers and succulent grass for Civilón to eat from their hands as photographs of him populated the human interest sections of Spanish newspapers.

Then, when Franco’s fascist forces threatened to attack Barcelona in the late spring of 1936, the enterprising manager of city’s historic bull ring set out to do what Facebook algorithms do today — prey on the way violence and sensation scintillate the weakest parts of human nature.

Civilón was taken from his bucolic paradise, carted to Barcelona, and released into the arena packed with thousands of scintillated spectators who had come to see what would happen to the famous furred pacifist under the bloodthirsty threat they took for entertainment.

Like any reasonable animal faced with another animal’s aggression, Civilón pushed through the pain the picadors were stabbing between his shoulders and charged back, chasing them behind their barricade.

But when the rancher called out to the wounded animal from the side of the arena, Civilón trotted quietly over and leaned in for a caress — he hadn’t let the violence erase his memory of kindness, or his trust in it.

The spectators were so moved by this a supreme manifestation of the bull’s natural nobility, known as nobleza, that when the famous matador strutted into the arena with his sword to deliver the barbaric finale of the spectacle, a woman cried out for un indulto — that rare “indulgence,” or pardon, by which a bull is spared death in recognition of his bravery and nobility. Other voices immediately joined her. The crowd rose to its feet as one and began chanting its unified demand for indulto.

It was such a powerful moment — the people acting as a people, acting human — that the president waved his orange handkerchief, granting the pardon. Civilón, mobbed by photographers and fans, was sent to the city stables to recover before being sent home to his peaceful pasture.

After the corrida, he appeared on the cover of the July 4 issue of the popular women’s weekly Estampa alongside a beautiful woman embracing him snugly while holding his horn.

“The Adventure of Civilón in Barcelona’s Bull Plaza,” announced the headline. “The Women Saved Him,” declared the subtitle.

The declamation was premature.

In mid-July, with Civilón still in Barcelona, Franco’s militiamen burst through the city gates. In their looting and ransacking, they broke into the stables, killed Civilón, butchered him and ate him for breakfast before the resistance drove them away that evening. The July day Civilón was murdered is the day the Spanish Civil War began in full force, maiming the country for three years and stirring in Europe’s bosom the violent passions that soon erupted into the next World War.

The Story of Ferdinand was published three months after the Spanish Civil War began. The great Spanish cellist Pablo Casals would live through it to emerge with his impassioned insistence on our shared duty “to make this world worthy of its children.”

Twenty years later, at the peak of the Cold War, three months after Robert Lawson’s death and four days before the release of the Hollywood film based on Hemingway’s bullfighting novel, LIFE Magazine dusted off the story of Civilón — “a huge bull… so bravo y noble that his life was spared.” Above one of Lawson’s Ferdinand illustrations, the magazine noted that bulls of his disposition may be spared death in the ring but are “disgraced” for being “too timid to fight.”

That year, the pioneering X-ray crystallographer, Quaker, and peace activist Kathleen Lonsdale wrote in her quiet masterwork on moral courage and the key to a nonviolent world that “those people who see clearly the necessity of changed thinking… must persuade others to do so.” She believed that children must be nursed on this ethic, for they are the stewards of tomorrow. “What is essential,” she wrote, “is that every member of the family, even little children, should learn at whatever cost not to give way to wrong or to co-operate in it.”

The Story of Ferdinand was Leaf and Lawson’s quiet, courageous act of persuasion — a testament to Ursula K. Le Guin’s insistence that what imaginative art and storytelling give us is the ability to imagine alternative endings as attainable.

In the story’s alternate universe, the peaceful bull’s peacefulness does save his life — he makes it home unharmed, modeling a different way of being for a savage world, embodying the power of personal resistance that Eleanor Roosevelt knew furnishes the cumulative force of cultural change.

“And for all I know,” Munro Leaf writes in the final pages, “he is sitting there still, under his favorite cork tree, smelling the flowers just quietly.”

To me, The Story of Ferdinand is the picture-book counterpart of Auden’s poem “The More Loving One” — that eternal masterwork in the art of alternative endings, defying the unhappy ending not on the miniature scale of the bull ring but on the grand scale of the universe. To be human is to long for a great cosmic indulto that would make for us an exception in the fate of all matter. All the art we make — the picture-books and the poems, the paintings and the songs — is our act of resistance to the blade between the horns that menaces us with its unpardonable promise from the moment we are born.

donating=loving

Every month, I spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars keeping The Marginalian going. For sixteen years, it has remained free and ad-free and alive thanks to patronage from readers. I have no staff, no interns, not even an assistant — a thoroughly one-woman labor of love that is also my life and my livelihood. If this labor makes your own life more livable in any way, please consider aiding its sustenance with a one-time or loyal donation. Your support makes all the difference.

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The Beginning and the End: Robinson Jeffers’s Epic Poem About the Interwoven Mystery of Mind and Universe

“We forget that nature itself is one vast miracle transcending the reality of night and nothingness,” the anthropologist and philosopher of science Loren Eiseley wrote in his poetic meditation on life in 1960. “We forget that each one of us in his personal life repeats that miracle.”

The history of our species is the history of forgetting. Our deepest existential longing is the longing for remembering this cosmic belonging, and the work of creativity is the work of reminding us. We may give the tendrils of our creative longing different names — poetry or physics, music or mathematics, astronomy or art — but they all give us one thing: an antidote to forgetting, so that we may live, even for a little while, wonder-smitten by reality.

In the same era, the science-inspired poet Robinson Jeffers (January 10, 1887–January 20, 1962) took up this reckoning in the final years of his life in an immense and ravishing poem that became the title of his collection The Beginning and the End (public library | free ebook), published the year after his death.

Robinson Jeffers by Edward Weston

Jeffers was not only an exquisite literary artist, but a visionary who bent his sight and insight far past the horizon of his time — he wrote about climate change long before it was even a tremor of a worry in the common mind, even though he died months before Rachel Carson published her epoch-making Silent Spring, which awakened the human mind from its ecological somnolence and seeded the environmental movement. But although he is celebrated as one of the great environmental poets, he was as enchanted by the wonders of nature on Earth as beyond it, for he understood better than any artist since Whitman that these are parts of a single and awesome reality, and we are part of it too — not as spectators, not as explorers, but as living stardust.

Born into an era when the atom was still an exotic notion for the average person and molecules a mystifying abstraction, Jeffers drew richly on the fundamental realities of nature — in no small part because his brother, Hamilton Jeffers, was one of the era’s most esteemed astronomers, having gotten his start at the Lick Observatory — the world’s first real mountaintop observatory, where the first new moon of Jupiter since the Galilean four had been discovered months before Hamilton was born.

Jupiter and its then-four moons by the self-taught 17th-century astronomer and artist Maria Clara Eimmart

Jeffers wrote about black holes and the Big Bang, about amino acids and novae, about the indivisibility of it all — nowhere more beautifully than in “The Beginning and the End.”

Sixty springs after he returned his borrowed stardust to the universe, his eternal poem came alive in a redwood-nested amphitheater down the mountain from the Lick Observatory, as the opening poem of the fifth annual Universe in Verse, read by my darling astronomer friend Natalie Batalha, who led the epoch-making discovery of more than 4,000 potential cradles for life by NASA’s Kepler mission and now continues her work on the search for life beyond our solar system with the astrobiology program at UC Santa Cruz.

As usual, Natalie prefaced her reading with a poignant reflection that is itself nothing less than a prose poem about the nature of life and its responsibility to nature — that is, to itself:

We are Earth. We are the planet. We are the biosphere. We are not distinct from nature.

Yet, at the same time, we are, as life — as living things: ourselves, the redwoods, the birds overhead — we are the pinnacle of complexity in the universe, from the Big Bang until now. It took 13.7 billion years for the atoms to come together to form this portal of self-awareness that is you.

[…]

Given this ephemeral existence that we have, of self-awareness, what are you going to do with your moment? What are we, as a species, going to do with our moment?

Excerpts from “THE BEGINNING AND THE END”
by Robinson Jeffers

The unformed volcanic earth, a female thing,
Furiously following with the other planets
Their lord the sun: her body is molten metal pressed rigid
By its own mass; her beautiful skin, basalt and granite and the lighter elements,
Swam to the top. She was like a mare in her heat eyeing the stallion,
Screaming for life in the womb; her atmosphere
Was the breath of her passion: not the blithe air
Men breathe and live, but marsh-gas, ammonia, sulphured hydrogen,
Such poison as our remembering bodies return to
When they die and decay and the end of life
Meets its beginning. The sun heard her and stirred
Her thick air with fierce lightnings and flagellations
Of germinal power, building impossible molecules, amino-acids
And flashy unstable proteins: thence life was born,
Its nitrogen from ammonia, carbon from methane,
Water from the cloud and salts from the young seas,
It dribbled down into the primal ocean like a babe’s urine
Soaking the cloth: heavily built protein molecules
Chemically growing, bursting apart as the tensions
In the inordinate molecule become unbearable —
That is to say, growing and reproducing themselves, a virus
On the warm ocean.

Time and the world changed,
The proteins were no longer created, the ammoniac atmosphere
And the great storms no more. This virus now
Must labor to maintain itself. It clung together
Into bundles of life, which we call cells,
With microscopic walls enclosing themselves
Against the world. But why would life maintain itself,
Being nothing but a dirty scum on the sea
Dropped from foul air? Could it perhaps perceive
Glories to come? Could it foresee that cellular life
Would make the mountain forest and the eagle dawning,
Monstrously beautiful, wings, eyes and claws, dawning
Over the rock-ridge? And the passionate human intelligence
Straining its limits, striving to understand itself and the universe to the last galaxy.

[…]

What is this thing called life? — But I believe
That the earth and stars too, and the whole glittering universe, and rocks on the mountain have life,
Only we do not call it so — I speak of the life
That oxydizes fats and proteins and carbo-
Hydrates to live on, and from that chemical energy
Makes pleasure and pain, wonder, love, adoration, hatred and terror: how do these thing grow
From a chemical reaction?

I think they were here already. I think the rocks
And the earth and the other planets, and the stars and galaxies
Have their various consciousness, all things are conscious;
But the nerves of an animal, the nerves and brain
Bring it to focus

[…]

The human soul.
The mind of man…
Slowly, perhaps, man may grow into it —
Do you think so? This villainous king of beasts, this deformed ape? — He has mind
And imagination, he might go far
And end in honor. The hawks are more heroic but man has a steeper mind,
Huge pits of darkness, high peaks of light,
You may calculate a comet’s orbit or the dive of a hawk, not a man’s mind.

Complement with other highlights from The Universe in Verse — including readings and reflections by Rebecca Solnit, Yo-Yo Ma, Patti Smith, and more — then savor Jeffers’s breathtaking letter to the principal of an all-girls Catholic school about moral beauty and the interconnectedness of the universe.

Games People Play: The Revolutionary 1964 Model of Human Relationships That Changed How We (Mis)Understand Ourselves and Each Other

The hardest thing in life isn’t getting what we want but knowing what we want, for it requires the whole blooming buzzing confusion of knowing who and what we are — the great question we are always answering with our lives for as long as we live. Most of our psychological suffering and most of the pain we inflict on others stem from our confusion about what we want and all the consequent clumsiness with which we go after it, like a child fumbling with a toy before she has learned how to operate her own body or what the toy does.

In the late 1950s, the Canadian psychiatrist Eric Berne (May 10, 1910–July 15, 1970) gave that confused clumsiness a name: games.

A decade before Adrienne Rich made her haunting observation that “an honorable human relationship — that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word ‘love’ — is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other,” Berne set out to map the ways in which, overwhelmed by the process, we shy away from telling the raw and vulnerable truth of who we are and what we want. He called the map “transactional analysis” — the interpretation of social interactions through the lens of our ego states, often opaque to us, yet governing and goading the way we engage with each other.

Art by Olivier Tallec from Big Wolf & Little Wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme

Sensing that his model would help people in unexpected ways, Berne pooled his savings and borrowed money from friends to pay a publisher to publish his handbook on human relationships. Games People Play (public library) — uncommonly insightful, unfussy, deeply humane — not only changed the landscape of psychology but forever stamped the body of popular culture with its parlance. When Kurt Vonnegut reviewed the book in LIFE Magazine in 1965, he exulted in its “brilliant, amusing, and clear catalog of the psychological theatricals that human beings play over and over again,” slaking our “anguished need for simple clues as to what is really going on,” outlining archetypal interactions full of themes “all sadly or sweetly or cruelly familiar.”

Like anything original and widely resonant, Berne’s model was flattened and commodified. In the miniature industry of pop psychology that has mushroomed from the mycelium of his ideas, warping them beyond recognition in various representations and interpretations. But read in the original, even with its dated language and its ready reminders that even the farthest seers are still a product of their time, Games People Play remains a rich and surprising handbook for that most difficult of human tasks: understanding ourselves, so we can cease misunderstanding and mistreating each other.

Art by Zooey Abbott from Finn’s Feather by Rachel Noble

At the heart of Berne’s model are three ego states that live in each of us: the Child (the most natural, vulnerable, and spontaneous part of our personality, keeper of our creative vitality and our most unalloyed capacity for pleasure); the Parent (the part of us that unconsciously mimics the psychological responses of our parents as we observed them in childhood); and the Adult (the competent and self-possessed part of us capable of making sound decisions in our best interest). All three coexist within us, and all three play into our social interactions. Berne writes:

The first rule of communication is that communication will proceed smoothly as long as transactions are complementary; and its corollary is that as long as transactions are complementary, communication can, in principle, proceed indefinitely.

But beyond the simplest and most complementary exchange — one Adult issuing the stimulus, another Adult giving the response — most of social transactions are a chaos of mismatched and ever-switching ego states. The confusion — the wounding — happens when the lines of communication cross and the interaction becomes not between two people in parallel and consistent ego states, but between one part of one person and a different part of the other: Child-Adult, Adult-Parent, Parent-Child, and all the other possible non-equivalences. This basic pattern, a diagram of which became the book’s cover, is what defines a game — “an ongoing series of complementary ulterior transactions progressing to a well-defined, predictable outcome” — a patterned, self-defeating psychological interchange, in which one ego state issues a stimulus concealing the emotional need of another ego-state, then receives a response to the hidden message and reacts negatively to it, frustrating both parties and garbling communication in a way that injures intimacy.

Art by Maurice Sendak from The Big Green Book by Robert Graves

All games are played so that the players may receive what Berne terms strokes — the affirmations and recognitions we give each other that feel so very pleasing to receive, as vital to our psychological wellbeing as physical stroking is to a young child’s survival. Berne writes:

A stroke may be used as the fundamental unit of social action. An exchange of strokes constitutes a transaction, which is the unit of social intercourse.

In our adult lives, he argues, our strokes are aimed at three primary needs: structure (a way to organize our days and hours in a meaningful way), stimulus (those vitalizing nuggets of experience that awaken us from the trance of near-living to light life up with meaning), and recognition (the affirmation of our fellow human beings that what we are doing with our days and hours matters to the world). All the strokes we play for are variations on these three primal hungers.

And yet strokes are inherently transient and superficial, feeding not the soul but the self, and games are dysfunctional ways of obtaining them in the first place — for they trade in insincerity and perpetrate a betrayal of ourselves, the other person, or both.

Art from In Pieces by Marion Fayolle, a wordless exploration of human relationships

We play games, Berne argues, in order to obtain the strokes we were accustomed to in childhood, extorting them from others in our adult life — something he terms racketeering. Consequently, what we end up obtaining are affirmations of our existing beliefs about ourselves, laid down in our formative years, reinforcing our basic existential stance in a way that trades in victimhood rather than agency. Unable to ask for what we really need — because it is too vulnerable-making and demands too much trust — we end up playing for strokes that are invariably compromises on what we most hunger for, simulacra of the deepest satisfaction: real intimacy.

Berne writes:

As the complexities of compromise increase, each person becomes more and more individual in his quest for recognition, and it is these differentia which lend variety to social intercourse and which determine the individual’s destiny. A movie actor may require hundreds of strokes each week from anonymous and undifferentiated admirers to keep his spinal cord from shriveling, while a scientist may keep physically and mentally healthy on one stroke a year from a respected master.

The basic mutual betrayal of the game always follows the same pattern: One person gives an overt message from one ego state that contains a hidden message by another ego state and when the other person responds to the hidden message, the originator snaps back with surprise bad feelings — feelings that pre-exist the situation, for they stem from the person’s foundational existential position.

One of Maurice Sendak’s rare 1967 illustrations for William Blake’s Song of Innocence

When all the games fall away, the highest prize of human relationships — which is also the hardest and most terrifying — is not some particular stroke but intimacy. Emerson captured this as his only truly intimate relationship made him shudder with the recognition that “there is no terror like that of being known.”

Berne captures the plain truth of it all, which can feel so beyond reach:

Intimacy begins when individual (usually instinctual) programing becomes more intense, and both social patterning and ulterior restrictions and motives begin to give way. It is the only completely satisfying answer to stimulus-hunger, recognition-hunger and structure-hunger.

His great and then-radical insight was that true intimacy requires room for spontaneity, without the freedom of which we fall back on pretense and control, and back into games. Spontaneity, he observed, can only spring from unalloyed awareness, or what contemporary pop psychology calls “presence.”

Art from Before I Grew Up

Echoing E.E. Cummings’s admonition that we often mistake other people’s knowledge and beliefs for the raw reality of what we feel, Berne considers what awareness really means:

Awareness means the capacity to see a coffeepot and hear the birds sing in one’s own way, and not the way one was taught… A few people, however, can still see and hear in the old way. But most of the members of the human race have lost the capacity to be painters, poets or musicians, and are not left the option of seeing and hearing directly even if they can afford to; they must get it secondhand. The recovery of this ability is called here “awareness.”

[…]

The aware person is alive because he* knows how he feels, where he is and when it is. He knows that after he dies the trees will still be there, but he will not be there to look at them again, so he wants to see them now with as much poignancy as possible.

Art by Arthur Rackham for a rare 1917 edition of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. (Available as a print.)

The twin roots of our awareness, Berne argues, are spontaneity and intimacy:

For certain fortunate people there is something which transcends all classifications of behavior, and that is awareness; something which rises above the programing of the past, and that is spontaneity; and something that is more rewarding than games, and that is intimacy. But all three of these may be frightening and even perilous to the unprepared.

[…]

Spontaneity means option, the freedom to choose and express one’s feelings from the assortment available (Parent feelings, Adult feelings and Child feelings). It means liberation, liberation from the compulsion to play games and have only the feelings one was taught to have.

Intimacy means the spontaneous, game-free candidness of an aware person, the liberation of the eidetically perceptive, uncorrupted Child in all its naiveté living in the here and now.

Art by Olivier Tallec from Big Wolf & Little Wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme

One consequence of how fundamental these psychological patterns are — patterns that make for great literature and heartbreaking love — is that every relationship is in some sense and to some extent a game, or reliant on games for its endurance. But although games are inherently dishonest, even in the morally forgivable way of being played by people simply opaque to themselves, there are degrees of integrity with which we can play them. In one of the loveliest passages in the book, Berne writes:

“Beautiful friendships” are often based on the fact that the players complement each other with great economy and satisfaction, so that there is a maximum yield with a minimum effort from the games they play with each other. Certain intermediate, precautionary or concessional moves can be elided, giving a high degree of elegance to the relationship. The effort saved on defensive maneuvers can be devoted to ornamental flourishes instead, to the delight of both parties.

Because real intimacy is such a hard-won glory and demands so much of us — including, often, the overriding of our primal patterns — we habitually lean on games as our default self-soothing and self-regulation mechanisms. With his boundless humanistic sympathy for our predicament and his native optimism, Berne writes:

Because there is so little opportunity for intimacy in daily life, and because some forms of intimacy (especially if intense) are psychologically impossible for most people, the bulk of the time in serious social life is taken up with playing games. Hence games are both necessary and desirable, and the only problem at issue is whether the games played by an individual offer the best yield for him.

[…]

Fortunately, the rewards of game-free intimacy, which is or should be the most perfect form of human living, are so great that even precariously balanced personalities can safely and joyfully relinquish their games if an appropriate partner can be found for the better relationship.

Art by Olivier Tallec from Big Wolf & Little Wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme

In the remainder of Games People Play, Berne goes on to outline the structure of the most common games, shining a sidewise gleam on what game-free intimacy would look like in each of these cases and how that illuminates the fundaments of healthy, satisfying, mutually nourishing relationships. Complement it with his contemporary and compatriot in the kingdom of humanistic psychology Erich Fromm on the art of loving and what is keeping us from mastering it and Milan Kundera on the central ambivalences of knowing what we want, then leap a hemisphere and an epoch for an Eastern perspective with the great Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh’s handbook on how to love.

donating=loving

Every month, I spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars keeping The Marginalian going. For sixteen years, it has remained free and ad-free and alive thanks to patronage from readers. I have no staff, no interns, not even an assistant — a thoroughly one-woman labor of love that is also my life and my livelihood. If this labor makes your own life more livable in any way, please consider aiding its sustenance with a one-time or loyal donation. Your support makes all the difference.

monthly donation

You can become a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a Brooklyn lunch.
 

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Episode 059: Six Of Cups Tarot Card (Final Podcast Episode)

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Listen now (8 min) | You Have To Be A Kid Sometimes ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

⚡ Amazon Lightning Deal! 12 Hours Only! ⚡

Thursday, August 18, 2022

special offer from men's health ⚡ Amazon Lightning Deal! 12 Hours Only! ⚡ View in Browser 90-Day Transformation Challenge 90-Day Transformation Challenge A seriously strong core requires getting

Foods to Reduce Bloating, Laundry Tips for Gym Clothes, Summer Soup Recipes, and more

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Tip of the Day: Want a dead-simple way to peel garlic? Microwave it for 10-20 seconds and the clove will slip right out of the skin. Read in Browser Logo for LifeSavvy August 18, 2022 STUFF WE LIKE

You Wear It Out Well

Thursday, August 18, 2022

How little time were people spending at home pre-pandemic? ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

The Basics of Fitness

Thursday, August 18, 2022

This is Extra Point: Fit Cult's weekly guide on what to watch, listen to and read in the world of fitness culture. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

The Moment I Thought I Was Dying

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Coming to terms with my first encounter with anxiety and carving a path forward. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Daily Skimm: Who needs a house out in Hackensack?

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Skimm'd with the sneakers that keep breaking the internet August 18, 2022 Read in browser Daily Skimm Coffee Pour Together with Cariuma Skimm'd with the sneakers that keep breaking the internet

Chicken Shed Chronicles.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Inspiration For You. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

"[Like the Japanese cherry blossoms wedded to the soil’s palm]" by Luther Hughes

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Like the Japanese cherry blossoms wedded to the soil's palm Facebook Twitter Instagram August 18, 2022 Support Poem-a-Day [Like the Japanese cherry blossoms wedded to the soil's palm] Luther

Kendall Jenner Just Nailed This Coastal Grandmother Shoe Trend

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Perfect to transition from summer to fall. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ TZR logo The Zoe Report 08.17.22 Kendall Jenner Just Nailed This Coastal Grandmother Shoe Trend (Celebrity) Kendall Jenner