Or On Death

Luigi Russolo — Self-portrait with skulls, 1909

Part 1 — On Death

Let us learn to meet it steadfastly and to combat it. And to begin to strip it of its greatest advantage against us, let us take an entirely different way from the usual one. Let us rid it of its strangeness, come to know it, get used to it. Let us have nothing on our minds as often as death. At every moment let us picture it in our imagination in all its aspects” — Montaigne

When my father died of cancer one year ago, I remember being alone in the morgue…


Miscellaneous thoughts about the effect of the pandemic on some startup verticals

In the past few weeks I have taken the time to reflect on some verticals that I’ve been following more closely recently.

Here is my two cents on the opportunities that I see.

Please feel free to share any feedback/thought/advice, especially if you disagree with anything I say.

Edtech (1/2): Zoom is not the solution

Asynchronous learning is more inclusive, but kids need live interactions to stay focused, especially in the K-12 space.

Current tech solutions still require overseeing by parents (adjust volume, troubleshooting etc.). School isn’t just learning, it’s childcare. …


A rational approach to contentment and some thoughts on stoicism

The Death of Seneca — Jacques-Louis David, 1773

For the greatest part of my life I conducted myself firmly believing that only the perfect moment mattered, that a man should strive for excellence in every aspect of life and that anything below that, according to one’s personal judgement of what constitutes excellence, should be scorned and avoided. I believed that I had the right to feel contentment only when I had achieved my highest aspirations, be they social, professional, philosophical, etc.

In other words, I was a maximizer.

In psychology and decision-making science, maximizers desire the best possible result; “maximizing” means expending time and effort to ensure you’ve…


And why David Hume was a naive hypocrite

Allan Ramsay, Portrait of David Hume, 1754, Scottish National Portrait Gallery

I generally enjoy David Hume.

As an empiricist, he opposed the rationalist’s belief of innate ideas, positing that all human knowledge derives solely from experience and building on what John Locke had already asserted half a century before.

His decidedly unorthodox view about the established Christian morality arouses sympathy (although it cost him the chair of philosophy at the University of Glasgow). Certain character traits commonly deemed virtues by the major religions of the time — such as self-denial, celibacy, solitude — are deemed vices per Hume’s theory and called monkish virtues. …


And why human beings may not we wired to achieve it

Photo by Alessio Zaccaria on Unsplash

Most people interested in the topic of happiness focus their attention on how to become happy. Medium is full of articles with catchy (and often misleading) titles such as “How to become a happy person in 10 days” or “This is what you have to do in order to finally be happy.”

I’ve always been more interested in defining what happiness is, dissecting it to its primary components rather than giving advice on how to get to it. I believe there is no point in trying to reach happiness if it isn’t firstly understood in its essence.

Not long ago…


An excerpt from the “Dialogue Between An Almanac Seller And A Passer-by”

Portrait of Giacomo Leopardi by S. Ferrazzi — c. 1820

“The unhappy person is one who has his ideal, the content of his life, the fullness of his consciousness, the essence of his being, in some manner outside of himself. He is always absent, never present to himself. But it is evident that it is possible to be absent from one’s self either in the past or the future” — Soren Kierkegaard

Although he is known primarily for his poems (Canti in Italian), which are considered some of the most beautiful in the history of literature, Giacomo Leopardi produced a body of philosophical work that has long been overshadowed by…


How your self-projection determines your happiness level at any point in life

This is you at a very young age.

You wander through the world and everything is new and exciting. Your mind is looking at so many new things for the very first time and starts making connections among them.

As John Locke put it in his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, our mind at first is a blank yet receptive slate upon which experience imprints knowledge, a tabula rasa later shaped by “sensations and reflections”, the two sources of all our ideas. …

Vincenzo Elifani

Writing about topics at the intersection of philosophy and psychology.

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