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The Marginalian

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interestingness, curated.

Improvisation and the Quantum of Consciousness

The Story of the Stunning Victorian Algae Herbarium and the Eccentric Balloonist Who Awakened the Terrestrial Imagination to the Enchanted Forest of the Sea

Keith Haring on Our Resistance to Change, the Dangers of Certainty, and the Root of Creativity

July 3, 1947: The Young Jack Kerouac Coins “Beat” While Grieving His Father

The Sea and the Soul: Poet, Painter, and Philosopher Etel Adnan on the Elemental Blues of Being

Nature and Creativity: The Science of “Soft Fascination” and How the Natural World Presses the Reset Button of the Brain’s Default Mode Network

Myths, Facts, and Poetic Truth: Amy Lowell on Legends as a Lens on Our Elemental Limitations and Powers

Anne Pratt’s Flowers, Ferns, Quiet Ferocity: How a Middle-Aged Victorian Woman Became One of the Great Masters of Scientific Illustration

Into the Heart of Life: Richard Powers on Living with Bewilderment at the Otherworldly Wonder of Our World

Rebecca Solnit on Writing, Gardening, and the Life of the Mind

Iris Murdoch on the Myth of Closure and the Beautiful, Maddening Blind Spots of Our Self-Knowledge

Octavia Butler on the Meaning of God

Artist and Philosopher Rockwell Kent on Our Existential Wanderlust

Humanity’s First Cosmic Gallery of Children’s Art: What the Youngest Members of Our Young Species Most Cherish About Life on Earth

The Only Valiant Way to Complain Is to Create: William Blake and the Stubborn Courage of the Unexampled

Barry Lopez on Storytelling and His Advice on the Three Steps to Becoming a Writer

The Human Kaleidoscope and the Unwritten Story of the World: “Radiolab” Creator Jad Abumrad’s Superb Caltech Commencement Address

June 16, 1816: The Inception of Frankenstein and Mary Shelley’s Prescient Warning About Reproductive Rights

Twenty Reasons for Being

Bronson Alcott on the Meaning of Family and How Our Friendships Humanize Us: His Ecstatic Diary Entry Upon His Daughter Louisa May’s Birth

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

The Dandelion and the Meaning of Life: G.K. Chesterton on How to Dig for the “Submerged Sunrise of Wonder”

The Grandmother, the Mermaid, and the Soul: Poet Elizabeth Alexander on How Literature Widens the Portal of the Possible

The Solace of Open Spaces

The Art of Living: The Contemplative Cartoonist Grant Snider’s Illustrated Love Letter to Noticing and Manifesto for Self-Liberation from Striving

Dismantling the Dogmas of Life and Death: How the Forgotten Prodigy William James Sidis Presaged the Quantum Undoing of Time and Thermodynamics

The Day Hermann Hesse Discovered the Meaning of Life in a Tree

Consciousness and the Constellations: Cognitive Scientist Alexandra Horowitz Reads and Reflects on Robert Frost

The Power of the Bittersweet: Susan Cain on Longing as the Fulcrum of Creativity

The Cello and the Nightingales: Beatrice Harrison and How the World’s First Fake News United Humanity in Our First Collective Empathy for Nature

Octopus Blues and the Poetry of the Possible

The Stoic Key to Kindness

Poet Mark Doty on Connection and Creativity

Haunting Cyanotype Portraits of Flowers by Artist Rosalind Hobley

Catching the Light of the World: The Entwined History of Vision and Consciousness

Iris Murdoch’s Pocket History of the Five Phases of Freedom, in Literature and Life

How to Live with Fear and What It Means to Love: A Tender Meditation in Ink, Watercolor, and Wonder

Your Brain on Grief, Your Heart on Healing

So I Danced Again: A Vibrant Animated Meditation on the Limits of Words and the Power of Embodied Music in our Search for Meaning

The Healing Power of Nature and Beauty: Florence Nightingale on Expediting Recovery from Illness and Burnout

Trees at Night: Rebecca Solnit Reads and Reflects on a Stunning Century-Old Poem by the Young Harlem Renaissance Poet Helene Johnson

Trial, Triumph, and the Art of the Possible: The Remarkable Story Behind Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”

The Faith of the “Naturist”: John Burroughs’s Superb Century-Old Manifesto for Spirituality in the Age of Science

Things to Look Forward to: An Illustrated Celebration of Living with Presence in Uncertain Times, Disguised as a Love Letter to the Future

The Science of Working Out the Body and the Soul: How the Art of Exercise Was Born, Lost, and Rediscovered

200 Years of Great Writers and Artists on the Creative and Spiritual Rewards of Gardening

Biking Through Time: Brooklyn Youth Chorus Sings Composer Paola Prestini’s Anthem for Women’s Freedom of Body and Mind

Finn’s Feather: A Tender Illustrated Meditation on Rediscovering the Joy of Aliveness on the Other Side of Loss

The Ever-Present Origin: Swiss Poet, Philosopher, and Linguist Jean Gebser’s Prescient 1949 Vision for the Evolution of Consciousness

Kosmos: Artist Dustin Yellin Reads Walt Whitman’s Timeless Hymn to Human Nature as a Miniature of the Universe