The Portrayal of Depression in The Fire Within (Louis Malle, 1963)

The Fire Within (1963) is a drama film written and directed by Louis Malle, which goes by the title Le Feu follet in French, meaning “The Manic Fire” or “Will-o’-the-Wisp”. It’s based on the 1931 novel Will O’ the Wisp by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, which itself was inspired by the life of the French…

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As in the Streets, So in the Mind: Flânerie as a Way of Thinking and Living

Flânerie refers to the lifestyle practice of walking aimlessly (typically around a city, with Paris being the epitomical city of the flâneur – the street wanderer). I analysed this concept in a previous post, touching on its historical, philosophical, literary, and cultural dimensions. However, flânerie extends well beyond the limits of the city, or I…

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Do Psychedelics Really Act as ‘Non-Specific Amplifiers’ of the Psyche?

According to the Czech psychiatrist and LSD researcher Stan Grof, psychedelics are “nonspecific amplifiers” of the human psyche – they amplify whatever contents exist in the mind, be they conscious or unconscious.  This description of these unique substances has since become a widely accepted way of thinking about them. But is it an accurate description?…

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Flânerie: The Art of Aimless Strolling

Strolling aimlessly – instead of having set routes and set sites to see – is something I’ve always enjoyed doing, especially in big or new cities. I discovered that there was a French term for this aimless wandering, considered to be a kind of art. And that’s flânerie, while the person who engages in this…

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Hipster Intellectualism: When the Obscure Feeds the Ego

Making a selective effort to seek out the most obscure ideas, theories, thinkers, and books is, on the one hand, a sign of intellectual hunger. But a kind of ego-stroking tendency can suffuse this seeking too; the more obscure the material, the more self-satisfying it can feel to find it and tell others about it.…

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