In my first post on asemic writing, I ended by pointing to the paradoxical nature of this art form: the marks involved are at once meaningless (since they have no semantic meaning) and meaningful (since, as an art form, there can be meaning behind their creation — the intention, emotion, or state of mind expressed — and how the viewer interprets the marks). As the artist Ekaterina Samigulina, “The content of asemic writing is meaningless, period. It is void as a signifier that failed to make its way to its signified. But it is not meaningless as an act, as a gesture…”

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Originally published at on July 27, 2021.

As much as psychedelics hold great promise in alleviating all kinds of psychological distress, they are not a mental health panacea, which they are sometimes touted to be. Based on positive media stories surrounding psychedelic research and anecdotal reports of people being forever cured of chronic, severe mental illnesses, it’s easy to get the impression that a profound psychedelic experience is a silver bullet for every case of, say, major depression, and that once healed, depression won’t return.

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Originally published at on July 19, 2021.

Julius Bahnsen (1830–1881) was a German philosopher and disciple of Arthur Schopenhauer. The historian Frederick C. Beiser, in his book Weltschmerz: Pessimism in German Philosophy, 1860–1900, describes Bahnsen’s philosophical views, along with other key German pessimistic philosophers and followers of Schopenhauer, such as Julius Frauenstädt, Eduard von Hartmann, and Philipp Mainländer.

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Originally published at on July 12, 2021.

Pseudographia is the term I use to refer to either the practice of automatic asemic writing, that is, meaningless, artistic writing created in an unconscious way, or the unconscious drive to engage in such writing. I have recently been revisiting the work of the Belgian poet and artist Henri Michaux, as I feel his asemic writing is the perfect example of pseudographia.

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Originally published at on June 28, 2021.

A therianthrope is a mythical being that is part human, part animal, with some examples including the centaur, faun, satyr, werewolf, weredog, werecat, mermaid, siren, and minotaur. In furry fandom slang, the term therianthrope term also refers to someone who feels or believes she is partly or wholly a non-human animal, but for the purposes of this discussion, this meaning is not included when I refer to therianthropes and therianthropy — I use the terms strictly to denote human-animal hybrids and the mythological ability of humans to metamorphose into non-human animals by way of shapeshifting, respectively.

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Originally published at on June 21, 2021.

A claimed that modafinil (marketed as Provigil) is the world’s safest smart drug while a 2015 article in The Guardian systematic review published in European Neuropsychopharmacology found that modafinil does in fact enhance cognition, and it is safe in the short-term, with few side-effects and no addictive properties.

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Originally published at on June 14, 2021.

Mentoring has a wealth of benefits, both for the mentor and the mentee. Despite this, the vast majority of workers don’t have one. According to Forbes, only 36% of workers have one, despite 76% agreeing that mentors are valuable. It’s unclear exactly why this is. Perhaps some people don’t know where they would find a mentor or what qualities they should be looking for in them. It could also be the case that people are wary about asking for help, based on a belief they don’t need it or that asking for it would be a way of burdening someone.

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Originally published at on June 9, 2021.

Digital antinatalism is the philosophical view that it is morally wrong to create sentient artificial intelligence (AI). It is a variant of antinatalism, which promotes the view that we should refrain from procreating for moral reasons. We can consider digital antinatalism to be a selective — or weaker — form of antinatalism since one may subscribe to this position but not antinatalism pertaining to humans or non-human animals. If you were an antinatalist with respect to all sentient beings (human, non-human animal, extraterrestrial, machine), then you would be a universal or strong antinatalist.

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Originally published at on June 7, 2021.

The idea of eating insects can seem a bit unappealing if you’ve been brought up with a Western diet. We do eat them as a novelty or inadvertently as food colouring. However, insect-eating (known as entomophagy) is common in many cultures across the world. Humans have been eating insects from prehistoric times to the present day. If people in the West could get over our knee-jerk aversion to eating insects, there would be many benefits by introducing some crickets into our diet. Indeed, in terms of sustainability, doing so may be necessary.

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Originally published at on June 1, 2021.

Before I started my round-the-world trip in 2015, a few people asked if I would still stay vegan while travelling, sceptical that it was possible. In the early days of the job I had before this trip, I remember talking to the director of the company at lunch about the topic of vegetarianism (after she discovered I don’t eat meat), and she mentioned that she had a friend who was vegetarian but who later gave up the diet. I asked her why. She said: “She went to Latin America”. Already this sowed the seeds of doubt as to whether I could remain vegan in countries such as Argentina, which is famous for its beef-oriented diet.

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Originally published at on May 24, 2021.

Sam Woolfe

I'm a freelance writer who is interested in philosophy, ethics, psychology, and mental health. Website:

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