An Index of my Medium Articles

I’ve indexed my posts by topic below so readers new to me can dive into my writing without endlessly scrolling on my profile page. Each article includes its sub-header or an explainer.

You can also read my most substantial posts on The Sophist, my publication.

I believe that the wisdom that comes with the study of philosophy, culture and history can help you live a better life. If I can help you, or if you can help me help others, drop me a line:


I’ve written lots on philosophy. This subject is my number one passion. Since I’ve written so many articles on philosophy, I have divided them into subcategories. …

On Pro Cell Phone Writers and Star Authors

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In Almost Famous an aspiring music writer gets more than he bargains for when he goes on the road with a band. (Image: publicity still. Fair use.)

Back in January 2019 I wrote “Medium is the future” in title caps. A big declaration. And I meant it, and I still think it’s true. But only in some respects now.

This gushing post never got curated because Medium won’t curate anything about Medium, even if it’s positive. I didn’t care. I just loved Medium at the time.

I loved its independence, the absence of advertising, its elegant minimal design, its “long-tail” model of catering for a multitude of interests and — most importantly — the power of the readers to pay the writers.

I also loved the fact that readers are willing to forgive typos if the writing is…

Stoicism, Substance and Style

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When we look at people, what do we really see? Image: Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (detail), 1907 (Public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons).

Throughout our lives we’re judging. It’s exhausting.

We’re conditioned to make value judgements on the surface level of things. And how we judge others is how we judge ourselves.

As laughable as it seems, it’s a climate of fear — what will others think of our looks? Our possessions? Our style? These worries take up more of our time than we’d like to admit.

In desperation we can construct gauche edifices of brand names, bling and logos around ourselves. These are ostentatious displays of wealth that we vainly hope to signify our worth.

We can moisturise, tan ourselves and whiten our teeth. Good-looking partners and friends can be trophies that we parade. We position ourselves continually on a social pyramid, and constantly evaluate ourselves against others. …

How Get-Rich Hocus-Pocus Gets Us Every. Single. Time.

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Photo by Carla Anne on Unsplash

Write a check to yourself, and stick it to your wall.

That’s what a manifestation guru told me to do.

I did this. I wrote a check to myself, tore it out and stuck it to the wall of my study.

I read that if I write an “abundance check” to myself, it will help the universe understand what I want and duly help me get it. I told the universe I wanted two extra grand.

I felt like an idiot doing it, and I felt like an idiot explaining to my girlfriend why I was doing it.

“It’s research,” I said. “I want to see if it happens.” …

Forget Purpose, Find your “Spark”

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Joe Gardner is so focused on his dream of being a famous jazz musician that he doesn’t stop for a moment to appreciate life. Image: publicity image from Disney Pixar’s “Soul” (Fair use for the purpose of review)

“To the poet and sage, all things are friendly and sacred, all experiences profitable, all days holy, all men divine.”

What are we supposed to do with our lives? This is the question that runs through Pixar’s new movie Soul. It’s a question that goes unanswered, and for good reason.

Pixar films’ commercial strength is producing animated movies that parents are happy to sit through. Soul is the most adult-friendly Pixar film I’ve seen. While other Pixar movies keep the parents happy with wry jokes and observations, Soul’s core story speaks directly to the hopes and fears of most of the adults watching. …

Read this if you think “philosophy isn’t for me.”

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Photo by Brian Taylor on Unsplash

Rainbows are a consequence of real things happening in the world, but they are not quite real themselves. You can see them, but you can’t touch them.

A rainbow is caused by a chance combination of light, a downpour, and being in the right place to see it — with your back turned to the light.

Human beings see different coloured bands in the rainbow but in reality the rainbow is a seamless spectrum of colour. The coloured bands are a product of human “colour vision” — the way we as a species see colour. …

Build a Better World, Starting With You

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Stoic spiritual exercises allow us to see — and place ourselves in — the bigger picture. Painting: Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, 1889. (Public Domain. Source: Wikipedia)

Airline safety briefings will always tell you that in an event of an emergency, you should fit your own oxygen mask before you attempt to help anybody else. Even your children.

There’s a life lesson in that. You can’t help anybody without first ensuring you’re fit enough to do so. A better community, a healthier society starts with a better and healthier you.

The Stoics prized collaboration, service to the community and cosmopolitanism — the idea that we are all citizens of the world with common purpose. But Stoicism was also a philosophy of personal salvation. …

The fight for privacy is a fight for freedom

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Photo by Giu Vicente on Unsplash

Your digital soul is distributed among thousands of humming servers in air-conditioned rooms.

Virtually everything you do online is recorded somewhere. It’s valuable stuff, and it often changes hands for money.

We exchange pieces of our digital soul for convenience. We want to easily stay in touch, we want to network, to see the latest pictures of our grandchildren, we want to look at pictures of dogs. But convenience becomes a cage built piece by piece.

We accepted the cost of convenience for a long time. We thought, “so what if Facebook knows a thing or two about me? I’ll get adverts that are more tailored. …

Amor fati — “love of fate”, was coined by Nietzsche.

“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward…


Steven Gambardella

The lessons of philosophy and history, their practical benefits for your life and work. Ask me questions, I’m happy to talk:

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