Human Parts
A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.


Humanity’s obsession with their own image

What do these filters say about us, our hopes and fears?

Since records began, and probably long before that, humans have been obsessed with their own image. You could be forgiven for thinking this obsession has started recently: Facebook, Instagram, the thrill of seeing your image pop up momentarily on Snapchat, wondering who in the world saw it and what they…


A random photo sent me down a rabbit hole of learning more about my immigrant great-grandfather, his employer Endicott Johnson, and the era of welfare capitalism

Photo by Wayne Spoehr; used with permission

I fled my hometown in Central New York as quickly as I could. Not because I hated the town, nor because I wanted to detach from my community. I adored my childhood as the granddaughter of the Main Street business owner; our staff and customers were family. …


Mildred Norman, aka The Peace Pilgrim, crossed the country six times on foot in order to spread her message

Photo: Benick via WikiMedia/CC BY Wouterhagens

What’s the first thing you think of when I say “1950s”? Is it mad-men suits and sexism? The beginnings of suburbia? The Korean war? McCarthyism? A room full of suit-and-cocktail-dress-clad humans who are all puffing down on cigarettes?

Through our modern lens, the 1950s seem like a hellscape. Yet, as…


Forty years ago, New York Rocker sent me to review a new, unknown downtown band.

Sonic Youth backstage in the 1980s. Photo via Getty Images.

About two days after I’d moved to the Meat Packing District in fall 1981, from my first NYC apartment in Greenwich Village, the urge to write about music resurfaced. Though I’d maintained a sporadic journal since leaving Ohio that spring, I longed for the motivation of an official assignment, not…


Philosophy is the love of wisdom. But sometimes, wisdom requires that we embrace our foolishness.

Poster for Gentry Bros. Circus, circa 1920–1940. Image: Library of Congress

Philosophy is literally “the love of wisdom.” And because of this, you might think that philosophy has no time for wisdom’s opposite: foolishness. But the relationship between wisdom and foolishness is, in fact, complicated and vexed.

Throughout the history of philosophy, wisdom and foolishness have gotten tangled up in all…


Play is a serious business. But seriousness does not exclude fun.

Image: Pieter Brueghel the Elder: Children’s Games. 1560. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

I sit down to write something about play, and its importance for human life. And as I write, I ask myself: Am I working? Or am I playing? Sometimes, it is hard to tell.

In a previous piece, I wrote about how to think more deeply about work. In that…


If we want to work better, first we need to think better

“The Seasons” by Pieter Brueghel the Elder from the Metropolitan Museum of Art online collection. Image: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

We spend much of our lives working. And much of the time we are not working, we spend talking about work, recovering from work, fretting about work, or wondering if we should work more or work less.

But less often do we stop to think more deeply about work. What…

Human Parts

A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.

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