Today we welcome Susan Cain. She is the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, which spent eight years on The New York Times bestseller list, and has been translated into 40 languages. Susan’s TED talk has been viewed over 40 million times and was named by Bill Gates as one of his all-time favorite talks. Her new masterpiece is called Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole.

In this episode, I talk to Susan Cain about the complex emotion of bittersweet. We explore melancholy and how the intertwined recognition of beauty and impermanence can be tapped for creative pursuits. Susan also talks about how existential longing is a natural part of the human condition, allowing us to form deeper connections with one another. We also touch on the topics of creativity, spirituality, relationships, grief, and mortality.

Twitter: @susancain


02:31 The spectrum of bittersweet

06:10 The paradox of tragedy

07:41 Melancholy is not always depression

11:16 Longing for Eden

16:22 Spirituality is a manifestation of longing

18:30 Existential longing, awe, and wonder

23:25 Reaching through acts of love

30:30 The new science of transcendence

35:59 Mortality and transhumanism

39:44 Maslow’s plateau experiences

43:17 The epigenetics of inherited trauma

48:30 Follow your existential longing

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