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I’ve indexed my posts by topic below so you can dive into my writing without endlessly scrolling on my profile page.

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: stevengambardella@gmail.com

Philosophy

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.

Stoicism

Stoicism is my favourite “school” of philosophy, it has a long and rich history from the Cynic school of ancient Athens to the modern day.

Stoicism: Finding the courage to live a better life
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts” — Marcus Aurelius. This is the best place to start if you’re new to Stoicism.

Marcus Aurelius: The Control Switch
How to find the strength to accept misfortune.

Marcus Aurelius: A Fire Burns Within You
Reason turns our obstacles into fuel, but we must use it or lose it.

Marcus Aurelius: The View From Above
Getting Some Perspective from the Stars

Think Like a Roman Emperor
How Marcus Aurelius Thrived as One of the World’s Great Leaders.

Marcus Aurelius: Learning to See Clearly
Stoicism, Substance and Style

Stoicism: You Are What You Think
How your soul takes on the colour of your thoughts.

Stoicism and Surfing
Stoic Lessons from the Surfboard.

Stoicism: What is Ataraxia?
A state of mind for troubled times

The Stoic Universe
A look into the Stoic theory of reality

The Four Key Stoic Spiritual Exercises
Build a Better World, Starting With You

Stoic Salvation: The Spiritual Exercises of Marcus Aurelius
On the style and substance of Meditations

Chrysippus: Freedom of the Mind (intermediate)
The Stoic Difference Between “Need” and “Want”

Epictetus: There IS a handbook for life
The 1800-year-old handbook for a “tranquil flow of life”.

Epictetus: The Calm Switch
Keeping Calm When the World Seems to Bait You

Stoicism: Your Soul is Like a Bowl of Water
Epictetus on Feelings

What is Prohaireses?
The Stoic understanding of choice, control and freedom

Stoicism and the Art of Archery
The “dichotomy of control” explained.

The Problem with Stoicism
Stoicism is getting popular for all the wrong reasons

Toward Stoicism 3.0 (intermediate)
Thinking about how Modern Stoicism can move forward

Modern Self-Help is Killing Stoicism
Is the ancient philosophy being reduced to hackneyed self-help advice?

Seneca: Curbing Anger
The Stoic’s Cure for the Most Destructive Emotion.

Seneca: Slowing Down Time
“Life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear for the future.”

Seneca: The Cure for an Epidemic of Immaturity
We’re Mired in Self-inflicted Unhappiness

Seneca: Curbing Snobbery
A Little Humility Goes a Long Way

Seneca: The Wellspring of Goodness
On the words “virtue is nothing else but right reason.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche has had a profound influence on western culture. My articles unpack some of the philosopher’s ideas that can help you better understand yourself and the modern world.

Nietzsche’s three steps to a meaningful life
The story of the camel, the lion, and the child. (This is the most popular Medium article I’ve written.)

Nietzsche and Redemption (intermediate)
How Nietzsche’s unique brand of Stoicism is a path to spiritual perfection

Nietzsche’s Cure for Negativity
How to Harness the “Will to Power”

Nietzsche: Finding Our Superhumanity (intermediate)
If science made God irrelevant, we can only find purpose in ourselves

Nietzsche: How to be Dynamite
4 Lessons from the World’s Greatest Superforecaster

Face Your Greatest Suffering and Your Greatest Hope
Nietzsche and Self-Actualisation

Nietzsche vs. Stoicism
Is the Quest for Truth and Order Futile?

The Philosophy of Pixar’s “Soul”
Forget Purpose, Find your “Spark”

Nietzsche: The Power Within Us
On the Will to Power and change

Socrates

The founder of western philosophy as we know it. Socrates put ethics at the heart of his philosophy. One of his followers, Plato, laid the foundations for practically every branch of philosophy.

Socrates: The Many Faces of Virtue
The source of goodness is in plain sight

Socrates: Wisdom vs. Knowledge
“All that I know is that I know nothing” — Socrates

Socrates: Living the Good Life
Virtue Starts with Questioning Beliefs

Michel de Montaigne

Often called “the world’s first blogger”, Montaigne wrote about anything and almost everything. His wisdom and humour shine through his essays.

Montaigne: The Power of “I don’t know”
Facing up to our own ignorance is surprisingly empowering

Montaigne: The Art of Life
Live your own life rather than just live

Montaigne: To Philosophize is to Learn to Die
Is it death or change that we really fear?

Montaigne: The Pursuit of Virtue (intermediate)
There’s no finish line in the race to excellence. Enjoy the race.

Epicureanism

Epicurus founded the most popular school of philosophy in the ancient world. He was revered in an almost god-like way, despite his philosophy being opposed to religion. His most famous follower was the poet Lucretius.

Could Epicurus save us?
A philosophy of pleasure could cure our modern ills

Lucretius: Philosophy vs. Religion
The Ancient Poet who Helped Shape the Modern World

The Ancient Four-Part Cure for Unhappiness
The “Tetrapharmakos” of Epicureanism

‘Carpe Diem’ is the Perfect Message for Our Times
The Epicurean origin of “seize the day.”

Horace: Life Lesson in Verse
Finding a “smooth course of life” with the Epicurean poet

If You Can Enjoy A Glass of Water You Can Enjoy Life
The Power of Hedonic Elasticity

Spinoza

Spinoza is my favourite philosopher. I am in awe of the intelligence and courage of the seventeenth-century Dutch radical.

Spinoza: Finding Freedom in Understanding
Beginner’s guide to the philosopher who inspired Einstein.

Spinoza: The Oneness of Everything (intermediate)
On Spinoza’s philosophical immanence.

Spinoza: How to be Free
We need to rethink our idea of freedom

Spinoza: Philosophy as Religion
On Clare Carlisle’s “Spinoza’s Religion” (intermediate)

Existentialism

The philosophical movement most associated with the twentieth century, Existentialism is a sophisticated philosophy of our place in the world.

You are condemned to be free
Finding truth and purpose in Existentialism

Simone de Beauvoir: Irrepressible Freedom
Turning our assumptions about freedom, rights, kindness and violence on their heads.

Sartre: The Origin of Freedom (intermediate)
The Paradox at the Heart of Our Destiny

Sartre: The Integrity Switch
The theory of bad faith and what it means for work and relationships

Existentialism and Anxiety
The link between freedom, responsibility and Existential anxiety

Cynicism

The ancient philosophical way of life that gave birth to Stoicism. Cynicism has direct lineage from Socrates.

Diogenes and Cosmopolitanism
The Dream of a World Community has Ancient Origins

The Cynics: The Dogs of Philosophy
Cynic ideas and anecdotes and how the philosophy can help us in our lives.

Bitcoin: The Philosophers’ Money
Money is a belief, and there is no purer belief than in ourselves

Scepticism

Scepticism was one of the most prominent philosophies in ancient Greece and Rome in the Hellenistic era. The skeptics used doubt to attain emotional tranquility and intellectual excellence.

Scepticism: The Wisdom of Denial (intermediate)
An ancient Greek cure for anxiety

This Idea Could Make Everything Better
On “Pithanon” and Skepticism

Sextus Empiricus: Open-Mind Therapy
How uncertainty may be its own cure

Assorted Philosophy Articles

Our Suffering Has Meaning
How Philosophy Helps Us Endure Life’s Difficulties

Life: An FAQ
The biggest questions and an attempt to answer them.

We are Waves of the Same Sea
COVID-19 and the Philosophy of Unity

Wittgenstein: Intelligence is Never Artificial
Why Extravagant Claims About AI Cheapen Our Humanity

Philosophy Books for Self-Isolation
A Reading List for a Better Life When We Come Out of a Crisis

Plotinus: A Philosophy of Simplicity
Finding perfect unity in Neoplatonism

Philosophy vs. Self Help
The difference between “a philosophy” and Philosophy.

Immanuel Kant: Dare to Think
The Enlightenment philosopher’s rational revolution

Judith Butler: Gender Wars
The controversial feminist at the heart of the gender debate

The Right to Sex is a Book Men Should Read
On Amia Srinivasan’s feminism

The Psychological Trick That Allows People to Kill
How dehumanisation has enabled slavery and murder

Is the Fetus Human?
On dehumanization, abortion, and human rights

Boethius: The Meaning of Life on Death Row
How a condemned philosopher consoled himself

The Tao of Tupac
The Enduring Relevance of Machiavelli’s “The Prince”

The Power of Schopenhauer
A philosophy for life that prizes beauty and compassion

Tolstoy’s Moral Lesson
The Philosophy of the Three Hermits

The Prison of Snobbery
How you judge others is how you judge yourself

How Bad Writers Abuse Philosophy
On imitators of Machiavelli

Sophie’s World: The Wonder and Glory of Philosophy
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space”

Aristotle’s Path to True Friendship
How to build relationships that will endure

Plato: Sunlight for the Mind
The philosophy that truth and goodness are one

Alain Badiou: Ethics Under Fire
Is humanitarianism killing the good within us

The Revolution of the Soul
The Philosophical Roots of Christianity

A philosophy that doesn’t need thought
A Simple Guide to Speculative Realism

The Great Philosopher-Emperor You’ve Never Heard Of
An orphan who upended the Roman Empire

AI is impossible. Gamers demonstrate why (intermediate)
What do gamers’ forum language, Ex Machina, and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein have in common?

Four Philosophies to Inspire You
Ideas to Find Purpose in Troubled Times

Philosophy as a Way to Live
Why all philosophy is “practical”

Contemplating Fatherhood
How responsible are we when we decide to have children?

Happiness or Compassion?
Can we be happy in a world with so much suffering

The Battle for Your Digital Soul
The fight for privacy is a fight for freedom

Love in the Time of COVID-19
Our word for love is inadequate in times like these

Why Poor People Drive Expensive Cars
The sociology of education, easy credit and advertising

Social Media is Not Neutral
How social media platforms exploit us and endanger democracy

I Wrote an Email to My Future Self
It was a Powerful Experience

Bad Ideas Are Taking Good People
Carnage is spreading in our “post truth” world.

Me.

Art and Culture

Art history is one of my great passions and the subject that I know most about. I actually have a PhD in art history.

A Beginner’s Guide to Appreciating Fine Art
To get the most out of your gallery experience, think “love at first sight”

The Painting That Shocked the World
A history and analysis of The Raft of Medusa, a painting that scandalised French society in the nineteenth century.

The Universal Museum’s Ruins
A mounting restitution crisis is an opportunity for museums to better serve global communities

Picasso’s Hidden Masterpiece (intermediate)
One of Picasso’s most significant paintings is hidden in Tehran.

Primary Mover: How Roy Lichtenstein Conquered Pop (intermediate)
An examination of Lichtenstein’s technique and use of colour.

The Horror is Real
Goya’s supernatural works hide terrible truths about Spanish history.

What Warhol’s cruel lens tells us about ourselves (intermediate)
On Warhol’s films and celebrity.

The painter of dignity
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez is your ticket to transcendent pleasure.

An Inconvenient Masterpiece: When Art Took on Fascism
Guernica was a little-known Spanish town in 1937, it’s now a byword for state terror

The Magic of Magritte (difficult)
A look at the mysterious painter-philosopher

The Beautiful Peasants
Millet’s Angelus gives us the gift of gratitude

How Cubism changed the way we see the world
A History of Cubism and Why it’s Important

The Outlaw Who Revolutionised Art
The life and art of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

How to Get into Opera
How beginners can get started

History

I write a lot about history. The best lessons you can learn in life are from history, not self-help books.

Central Africa: Hollywood’s insulting fantasy vs. a tragic reality
A look at Black Panther’s depiction of an idealised African state and the reality of efforts to bring democracy to central Africa.

Roman Terror
An ancient joke about crucifixion reveals its supreme cruelty

Conservative Politics in the Ancient World (intermediate)
Conservatives haven’t changed much in the last two thousand years.

How to be a Genius
In five steps, with five examples

The Hidden Politics of Roma (intermediate)
How Alfonso Cuarón makes the personal political

The Greatest Movie Speech
What a silent film star (Charlie Chaplin) chose to say when he had to speak

Into the Great Abyss
Why D-Day was Important Then, Why it’s Important Now

George Orwell’s 6 Rules for Good Writing are 6 Rules for a Good Life
“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.”

How War Has Shaped Our Lives
The history of warfare has dragged humanity into the future

Productivity, Marketing and Creativity

For my bread and butter I work in marketing, a profession that requires business-savvy and creativity in abundance. I’ve shared a lot of thoughts about business, productivity and creativity on this platform.

Most Writers Lose Their Readers Because They’re Lacking One Thing
It’s not what you write, it’s the way you write it.

Three Questions That Make Each Day Count
A Minimalist Routine for Personal Growth

The Three-Act Structure of a Successful Blog Post
I tick these boxes before I hit publish

Write to Learn
How the Feynman Technique Keeps Me Writing

Make Somebody Feel Special Today
Three principles for being a good listener

Be Like Picasso: Don’t Overthink, Just Create
Let Your Work Become Your Brand

Manage Like a Conductor
Leadership is overrated

The Japanese idea of deep purpose can help your business thrive
The age-old concept of Ikigai can work for business too

How MAGA Worked Magic
A deep dive into one of the most powerful political slogans in U.S. history

Medium is the Future. Here’s Why
Plus seven quick tips for writers on Medium

How to change somebody’s point of view
The two words that make the difference.

Here’s to Amateurs
Don’t fake it till you make it. Just make it.

Freud’s Decision Hack Will Change Your Life
How to make a difficult decision by tapping your unconscious

Beat Procrastination in 2 Steps and Shine as a Writer
It took me years to learn what I’m sharing here

How Life Improved When I Gave Up on the News
The benefits of a media diet

Slogans: How Marketers Make Words Matter
The unusual origins and surprising outcomes of famous brand taglines

What I Learned From Flossing
The Self Improvement Magic of James Clear’s 2-Minute Rule

Social Media is Not Neutral
How Social MEdia Platforms Exploit Us and Endanger Democracy

The Battle for Your Digital Soul
The fight for privacy is a fight for freedom

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Steven Gambardella

Steven Gambardella

104K Followers

I am a history PhD sharing the lessons of philosophy and history with practical benefits for your life and work. Get in touch: stevengambardella@gmail.com