This week’s comments includes replies to Simon Anholt’s introduction of the Good Country Index, a thought on the purity of art (and how we have polluted it with money), and an argument for trusting our own intellectual selves.

This week’s virtual mailbag included a personal take on why we should teach creativity, and the accusation that a TED speaker might just be “philosophically redundant.”

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iO Tillett Wright is currently 5,519 portraits into a mission to point out that we’re all, at heart, the same. Her goal: to photograph 10,000 people around the United States who identify as being something other than 100% heterosexual. Here’s just a small sample of her powerful photographs.

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In her second TED Talk, “Success, failure and the drive to keep creating,” Elizabeth Gilbert came clean about the often unglamorous life of a writer. The one thing that never wavered: her love of the written word. Here, she shares seven books that have sustained her through it all.

Since 2009, Lisa Kristine has been documenting the lives of people caught up in slavery. Her images are shocking, powerful, in-your-face. Yet they are also dignified portraits of those with no choice. Take a look at 17 of her photographs.