My name is Stefani. I’m a scholar of human nature and religion, and I am completing a PhD in philosophy, religion, and science at the University of Oxford. I began having panic attacks about dying, meaninglessness, and the human condition when I was four years old. I’ve been looking for answers ever since. In some cases, I think I’ve found them.
Here are the notes for episode #46 of Naked Humanity. This week a listener asks Stefani, does humanity seem small and insignificant to you? Does it scare you? Stefani reflects on how modern humans are more worried about insignificance than any before, and describes...
Here are the notes for episode #45 of Naked Humanity. We grow up hearing about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, the midnight ride of Paul Revere. These are glorious tales of courage and triumph. But what other stories aren’t being told? Today Stefani chats with...
Here are the notes for episode #44x of Naked Humanity. For this episode, a listener writes in and asks: is it a problem that I go shopping every time I get bad news or have a bad day? This listener isn’t alone - #primetherapy is a hashtag that trends on social media...
No Easy Answers
Once, long ago, humans lived in small tribes where everybody believed in the same spiritual story. This became more complicated over time, but until a few hundred years ago pretty much everybody met their spiritual needs in the same way.
Come the 1500s, however, Christianity began splintering. And Europeans cast their gazes across the seas. They realised: no one anywhere in the world has the same beliefs.
Today, we live in a world in which there are no longer any easy spiritual answers. This world is also rife with anger, anxiety, and despair. This is no coincidence.
Easy spirituality is a thing of the past. Our longing for it might be killing us. How did we end up like this, and is there anything that can be done?
WHEN WILL THE BOOK BE RELEASED
The book is currently being written alongside several articles, podcast episodes, and the final chapters of a dissertation. It will likely be published in 2022. Many excerpts and related philosophical ramblings will be published on this website as they are completed. You can find those under the tag “No Easy Answers.”
WHAT IS THE BOOK ABOUT?
Have you ever wondered why people today are always so angry, so afraid, so anxious? While there are various answers to these questions—and many of them very important—in this book I argue that a key component to these problems is the amount of what I call existential ambiguity we are forced to live with every day. Modern humans in the West have to live with the greatest amount of uncertainty—and specifically uncertainty about life’s biggest, most pressing questions, such as what is a good life? How do we be moral? Is there a soul? Does God exist? What happens when we die?—that has ever existed in the history of the human species. This has enormous consequences for the ways in which we feel, live, and relate to one another. We can collapse into fear and nihilism, or we can use this as an opportunity to create new and beautiful things.
Last week I was tagged several times in the comment section of a Facebook post I didn’t remember liking. Puzzled, I scrolled through the comments and realized that people were repeatedly tagging me in order to demand justification for why I had liked the post. A woman...read more
Why are we religious? This is one of the most pressing and fascinating questions we can ask, and scientists are hard on the case. Cognitive scientists of religion are working tirelessly to unearth clues to our religiosity that go back tens if not hundreds of thousands...read more
Just before his death in 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus argued that the Earth revolves around the Sun in a book called On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres. This moment is often heralded as the birth of modern science. Now, theories and experiments that we would...read more
What does it mean to be human?
How do people around the world cope with life’s ineluctable tragedies?
What do we need to save us from ourselves?