Recent quotes:

Inside the Rise & Fall Of A 1970s Upper West Side Cult: Gothamist

After the raid, the pillagers returned to their seven-story co-op at 2643 Broadway. “We were prepared for them to invade,” says Paul Sprecher, a member of the Sullivan Institute for over a decade. “We had security down at the front door to make sure they would be duly chastised. I don’t remember, I think one guy showed up to complain and he was manhandled.” (According to a 1989 New York Magazine article, the complaining tenant was “beaten by more than a dozen members,” one of whom “broke four knuckles punching the young boy in the face.”) The paint splatter that started the ordeal is still visible today, on the brick wall just above the Metro Diner on 100th and Broadway. It is perhaps the last physical reminder of a psychotherapy cult—informally known as the “Sullivanians”—that once had 500 members living in three buildings on the Upper West Side.

How Islam Created Europe

Islam did much more than geographically define Europe, however. Denys Hay, a British historian, explained in a brilliant though obscure book published in 1957, Europe: The Emergence of an Idea, that European unity began with the concept (exemplified by the Song of Roland) of a Christendom in “inevitable opposition” to Islam—a concept that culminated in the Crusades. The scholar Edward Said took this point further, writing in his book Orientalism in 1978 that Islam had defined Europe culturally, by showing Europe what it was against. Europe’s very identity, in other words, was built in significant measure on a sense of superiority to the Muslim Arab world on its periphery. Imperialism proved the ultimate expression of this evolution: Early modern Europe, starting with Napoleon, conquered the Middle East, then dispatched scholars and diplomats to study Islamic civilization, classifying it as something beautiful, fascinating, and—most crucial—inferior.

Animal culture

In “The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins”, Hal Whitehead of Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, and Luke Rendell of the University of St Andrews, in Scotland, argue that all cultures have five distinctive features: a characteristic technology; teaching and learning; a moral component, with rules that buttress “the way we do things” and punishments for infraction; an acquired, not innate, distinction between insiders and outsiders; and a cumulative character that builds up over time. These attributes together allow individuals in a group to do things that they would not be able to achieve by themselves.