Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum turned into therapeutic centre

De Botton Armstrong

In a surprise move, the Netherlands’ top cultural institution, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, has been turned into a giant therapeutic centre designed to help people with emotional issues.

Why secrets are good for love

More advice for those who want to change the world

Postcards. Circa 1920. A picture of a romantic couple kissing behind an open book whilst sitting together on a bench.

For years, you felt burdened with thoughts, feelings and opinions that didn’t seem to make much sense to anyone else. You sometimes wondered if you were going mad.

Boston Prepares For First Running Of Marathon After 2013 Terror Bombings

A deep-seated desire in many thoughtful people is to try to change, and improve, how their fellow humans behave: to try to make them a bit kinder, or more moral, or interested in nature.

Advice for those who want to change the world

Richard Dawkins in London

The world needs changing in all sorts of urgent ways: the great question is how to do it. The most popular and appealing answer has long been that one should try to write a book.

Russell Brand returns to the Philosophers’ Mail

Easter for atheists

Russell Brand press conference, United Nations, Vienna, Austria - 19 Mar 2014

Further discussion, this time about Nietzsche and Prince Harry's sex drive.


The most boring question one can ever direct at a religion is to ask whether or not it is ‘true’. Of course, none of its supernatural claims can ever be ‘true’ - but that may not be a reason to dismiss it.

Russell Brand meets Philosophers’ Mail to discuss the News

Feeling happy about a sunny day is stupid, absurd and simplistic

Question Time

How do the media scare us? Russell Brand's The Trews with the Philosophers' Mail.

Hot weather in London, Britain - 19 Jun 2013

Many people will note a particular brightness to the light today, and a balminess to the air, which may trigger a surge of hope and a willingness to look at familiar problems with renewed determination.

How economic news keeps us dumb and stops us changing the world

Evening Standard newspaper headline on the credit crunch,  London, Britain - 09 Oct 2008

In their more serious moods, news organisations tell us they want to explain the world to us. And that often means talking about money.

I love you so much, you’re to blame for absolutely everything

A lover’s guide to sulking

Celebrity Sightings In Park City - January 18, 2014

You and your partner are waiting, and waiting, at the airport carousel for your luggage. Other people are wheeling their bags away. Soon, you are the only ones left standing by the now empty conveyor belt.


They have a habit of ruining embarrassingly long stretches of our lives. They will - by nature - seem absurd to others for they are triggered by what are, ostensibly, the very ‘small things’.

The most valuable piece of art in your world

The stupidity and folly of adultery


For almost all of human history, it has been unthinkable that someone could lay claim to maturity, sanity and reliability by pinning a picture by a six-year-old to the walls of their office, or throne room.

© REX/Moviestore Collection

If believing in the ideals of marriage is often naive, so too is believing that adultery can be an effective antidote to its many disappointments.

The upsides of insomnia, part 2

© Paul Woodmansey/Rex

Insomnia leaves us horribly exhausted, but there are a few benefits to sleepless nights, which we might focus on to alleviate the sheer panic that a failure to sleep can cause.

Insomnia matters, part 1

Dutch cupboard reminds world how nice tidiness is

© Getty

It’s far into the night, but sleep won’t come. You turn over. Perhaps a different position will quieten the mind. Or maybe the other side was better after all. Panic sets in. Not sleeping is a disaster.


Stop and think how weird – and rather wonderful – it is that there’s a linen cupboard in the middle of the Netherlands' pre-eminent treasure house, the Rijksmuseum.

Philosophy as therapy 6 week course

The consolations of rocks, water, stone and trees: Lao Tzu


We know that philosophy can help us to think better but can it also help us feel better? In this series of evening workshops Mark Vernon will guide you through life lessons from the great philosophers.


What is the best book about philosophy one could look at? For the 6th-century B.C. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, it wasn't a volume (or a scroll) but the book of nature.

The pleasures of adultery

© REX/Moviestore Collection

Part of the problem is how keen we are to say, at once, how deeply awful it is. Society moves with unhelpful speed from recognition to condemnation.

The evils of meritocracy

Practising at being good

The Wolf of Wall Street - Sep 2013

President Obama has been in the Netherlands for a major international conference focused on two of the world's great crises: nuclear proliferation and the drama in the Ukraine.

© Getty

Why does being ‘a good person’ have such a bad name? In the modern world, the idea of trying to be good or kind conjures up all sorts of negative associations.

A brief philosophy of oral sex

The hidden beauty of Heathrow


Why is it so interesting and exciting? Few philosophers have explored the topic with the necessary rigour. It has to do with loneliness and self-disgust.

© Getty

Next time you’re at Heathrow, worn down by the queues, corridors and bright lights, your spirits may briefly lift at the sight of a discreet island of beauty standing at the end of a pier in Terminal 3.

Eating seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day will kill you


While most of its energy is devoted to briefing us about the gruesome ways in which various people have recently blown up or bled to death in a brutal stabbing, in the area known as ‘health news’.

Natalie or Scarlett? Who do you prefer, and what does this say about you?

Brazilians try to change the northern heart


Why do people have such varied tastes when it comes to who they like the look of? If you listen to evolutionary biologists, we are attracted to people for a simple and definitive reason: because they are healthy.


It's often hot in Sao Paulo, Brazil - and when it gets unbearable you might climb up to the top of numerous apartment buildings, strip off and take a swim in a public pool.

Art says beefy thighs OK

Armenia checkmates world


She is not the shape a lot of people have come to idealise. Maybe she sometimes wonders if her hips are too big; someone once said she has beefy thighs.


Armenia is one of the saddest places on earth. The country once stretched from the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea.

Philosophy storms Business


It doesn’t from a distance seem as if philosophy and business would have anything to say to one another. Businesses are concerned with meeting strict targets under time pressure, maximising revenue and outwitting competitors.

I want to be famous!

Disturbing revelation: Some politicians sometimes NOT idiots

©REX/Tom Dymond/Thames

Everyone wants to be famous nowadays. That's often blamed on people being stupid, shallow and narcissistic. That doesn't feel right.

© Alex Brandon/AP/Press Association Images

There’s general agreement amongst the public that most politicians are idiots. As we well know, they are universally egotistical, unprincipled, witless and, worse, devious and cunning.

Memento Mori: Woman killed suddenly by tree branch

Why the defenders of immigration are so annoying


A New Zealand-born accounts manager received "non-survival head injuries" after being hit by a Lebanese cedar branch blown off by a gust of wind in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, south-west London.


Across the developed world, in the UK, France, Spain, Switzerland, Australia and the US (to name only a few), fierce debates about immigration are ongoing.

The School of Life

Ten Virtues For The Modern Age