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Take 5 – Thought-provoking

Because life is dull without a little stimulation.

Today, I thought I’d share a collection of YouTube channels which I find promote human development and understanding in the pursuit of living a good life.

Thoughts on Thinking

To use their own words, “Thoughts on Thinking” is a channel focusing on psychology and philosophy to search for and reveal higher levels of depth surrounding complex ideas about the human psyche and our expression upon the world.” I’ve only come across this channel within the last 6-12 months, but they provide quality short videos (5 to 20 minutes) on a range of topics utilising psychological and philosophical concepts and bodies of work, both indulging in the intellectual discussion and perhaps more importantly, its application to the modern world.

The School of Life

I have utilised a number of videos from “The School of Life” in my posts and its founder, Alain De Botton, has a way of distilling complex philosophical and psychological ideas into layman’s terms for mass consumption. Their YouTube channel has grown to over 6 million subscribers, posting weekly short videos of 5-10 minutes on various issues affecting people in today’s society. They even run virtual classes on such topics as “how to develop self-knowledge”, “how to identify your career potential” or “how to find love” via their website as this collective of psychologists, philosophers and writers devote themselves to helping people lead calmer and more resilient lives.


Einzelgänger means “lone wolf” in German, and this self-described philosophical entertainer is truly a one-man show. Utilising mostly Stoic and Eastern philosophical principles, Einzelgänger makes brief (5 to 15 minute) films which attempt to increase our resilience and happiness as well as moderate our feelings and emotions through worrying less, letting go and understanding what is and isn’t in our control. He has recently written a book, “Unoffendable”, using the aforementioned principles and his personal experience in pursuit of an authentic and meaningful life (which can be found on his website and I think quite relevant to current times).

Academy of Ideas

For the more philosophical and individually-oriented, I would strongly recommend Academy of Ideas, who create videos explaining the ideas of some of history's great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Carl Jung. They aim to “help supply the world with more knowledge, to empower the individual, and to promote freedom”, so naturally their videos have a strong sense of liberty, the individuation process (awareness, understanding, development, transformation) and overcoming our limitations and darker side in pursuit of a meaningful life. There is a membership section on their website where they explore topics in greater detail and/or as a series of videos.

After Skool

Combining art with the abstract, “After Skool” seeks to help people understand “we cannot change the world. But we can change ourselves...and that will change the world. The goal of this channel is to empower the individual and deliver profound ideas through art.” Their videos are worth watching for the drawings alone and vary in length from five minutes to over half an hour. Presenting ideas from people of all walks of life, such as philosophers or comedians, After Skool tries to take its viewers on a visual journey as much as a thought-provoking one – a combination which I think works and which they do well.

Have you come across any of these channels before and if so, what do you think? Do you have any other channels you watch that you’d like to recommend? Let me know.

Happy viewing (and thinking!).

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