Kyle MacDonald: Why you Should Compare Yourself to Others
We all do it. We look around and compare ourselves with others: our success, what we have, where we live.
As a social animal, it's natural to look for signs that tell us where we might fit in our social groups and communities.
Not only is it natural, it's amplified by capitalism via our advertising-saturated world.
Kyle Macdonald: The Problem With Being Optimistic About Life
Plans, as the saying goes, are what men make while the Gods laugh.
But of course we make them anyway. Because a life without a future, even only an imagined one, isn't much of a life.
Yet when reality crashes headlong into our plans, it is deeply disturbing. Grief, loss, unexpected health changes: we don't plan for these.
Most of us see our future rolled out before us like a straight road that travels uninterrupted to the horizon. And for most of us, this isn't how it will work out.
Kyle MacDonald: Why Israel Folau's Gay Comment is Hate Speech
As a one-eyed All Black fan and rugby tragic, I don't generally like Australian Rugby players.
It's not personal. In fact I'm sure many of them are decent people. David Pocock stands out as an exception, not so much for his on the ground work at the breakdown but his outspoken stands on same sex marriage and environmental issues in Australia.
I've also really admired Israel Folau as a player; a fullback that plays the game like an All Black (that most egocentric Kiwi compliment) and a naturally gifted, multi-code athlete.
For such a modern player, though, it's a shame his views belong in the 1950s.
Kyle MacDonald: Reality TV, Should People's Suffering be Entertainment?
The most interesting studies in psychology occurred around fifty years ago. It's not that we haven't found out anything interesting since then, it's that academic psychology is now required to have all human experiments approved by ethics boards.
Famous studies such as the Milgram Experiment - which measured the likelihood people would cause pain to others if ordered to do so by an authority figure - or the Stanford Prison Experiment which took ordinary people and randomly assigned them to be prisoners or prison guards and had such shocking results the experiment was abandoned - would never have happened if they had to pass through ethics committees.
So while psychology has had to find novel ways to understand human responses in different situations, at the same time not causing them undue or lasting harm, reality TV faces no such inconvenient restrictions.
Kyle MacDonald: It's Dangerous to Teach Kids About Gun Safety
It's amazing how well-intentioned adults can get things profoundly wrong when they wade into a child's world and fail to understand the nature of child's play.
Even the most imaginative child understands the division between play and the real world; the difference between what is pretend and what is true, and from a surprisingly young age.
Most of the time adults get this too. We don't get anxious that children don't understand which end of the dragon is safe to approach, or require them to don an asbestos suit before they battle one. We don't insist they go through rigorous pre-flight checks before taking off in an imaginary jet fighter.
And when children aged 3 and 4 play at driving we don't worry about their later driving habits, anxiously trying to teach them safe following distances.
Nor should we engage children that age with the reality of real gun safety when they're playing at shooting each other, or imaginary baddies.
Kyle MacDonald: Why it's so Hard to Accept Change
Human nature is such that we all have a tendency to consider our way of doing things as the right way. Others and difference are wrong by default.
However, we all grow up, learn, evolve and move away from what we know. But it can be very hard to shift our thinking.
Cultures grow up in the same ways and in many ways it has felt like the current political climate, certainly in the west, has been one of regressing: not moving forward.
If you've been foolish enough to wander into the comments sections of any political blog site it's hard not to be shocked by the degree of vehemence, the intensity of the righteousness.
Kyle MacDonald: How to Manage your Inner Critic
Human beings are hopeless when we're first born. Completely useless.
Horses can stand up within minutes of coming into the world, and most mammals can at least move around on their own.
Human beings are only good at one thing: soaking up our environment.
Our ability to learn is our biggest asset, and all that learning happens in the context of relationships in which we grow, and hopefully, are nurtured.
Kyle MacDonald: Everything you Know About Depression is Wrong
At various times in my life I've been pretty seduced by conspiracy theories.
I was a big fan of the original "X-Files" and Mulder's constant search for the truth that was "out there" - and always just eluding him.
Now that I'm somewhat more jaded - or realistic - I realise the truth is more likely to be driven by the pursuit of money than some grand conspiracy.
Kyle MacDonald: The Big Issue With Rugby Everybody Ignores
I have to admit to having always been a rugby tragic. I even keep paying good money to watch the Blues play year after year.
I'm old enough to be slightly bemused by wearing jandals and shorts to their first home game each year, as I will be this Friday.
I also remember having a mild existential crisis when I realised the entire All Black squad was younger than me. Some part of you realises (albeit irrationally) that dream is now finally and irrevocably gone.
But recently I've been feeling even older, as I look at these wonderful athletes and marvel at how young they are and how much the game, our culture, and times have changed
Kyle MacDonald: How Many Mass Shooters Have Mental Health Issues?
Last week's horrific mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida set off what is now a sadly predictable flurry of public responses.
Thoughts and prayers, followed by calls for gun control, while the White House once more looked to blame "mental illness" for the tragic series of events.
But is the terrible trend of mass shootings and gun violence in the US associated with mental illness? Are the individuals who carry out these deeds mad, or just bad?