Brain Pickings has changed its name to The Marginalian. For years, philosopher and writer Maria Popova has poured over the mysteries of life in her gorgeous essays full of insight, beauty, research, and surprise. And now, after 15 years, Brain Pickings is “reborn”
Brain Pickings was born on October 23, 2006 as an improbable idea in a young mind only just becoming literate in the language of life. Fifteen years hence, it is reborn as The Marginalian — reborn as what it has always been beneath the ill-fitting name chosen by a twenty-two-year-old immigrant in whose ear the tired puns and idioms of a non-native language rang fresh and full of wonder: an evolving record and ongoing celebration of my readings and my loves, of all that makes me feel most alive.
I tried to reach out to Popova to speak about her reasons for the change, but her counter perspective to the relentlessness of look at me culture is right in line with her larger ethic:
It is always an honor to be invited, but I have made the sanity-salving decision to decline all interviews, talks, and readings at this time and in the foreseeable future.
Here is the rarity of a person actually doing a “thing” online. Meaning: this is not a public relations vehicle to constantly garner more followers, to increase traffic. She’s using an online platform to share her ideas. That’s it. If you want to read them, then read them.
There are no ads. The entire site is run by donations. The goal here is to keep doing what she’s doing. In a world where art is referred to as “content” and its effect is measured in likes and traffic, it’s so heartening that someone is using the digital medium to just do what they do and do it well. Each essay is so insightful and heartfelt.