One more time
Why do we listen to our favourite music over and over again? Because repeated sounds work magic in our brains
No pain, no game
Pain and suffering are not just incidental elements of the sporting life: they are at the centre of every game
La bella vita
True beauty pleases the eye and the mind – but can it help us to become better people?
The arts electric
Digital art and culture mustn’t get caught up in the tools of its making or it will never transport us somewhere new
Christian meditation may sound like an uneasy hybrid, but that awkwardness is hiding something important
Growing up alien
John Mack was a Harvard scientist who took extra-terrestrial abduction seriously. Is he the reason I like misfits?
When a tattoo marks a personal transformation, or the reclaiming of an abused body, the tattoo artist becomes a healer
When I stopped smoking weed, my appetite shrivelled and my head throbbed – but it was the dreams that really shook me
With a flood of dark memes and viral horror stories, the internet is mapping the contours of modern fear
‘He’s got a lot of energy’ they told us at the shelter. How Cooper’s antics drove me to deal with my own skittish brain
As we mourn the poet, do we not mourn the loss of what he had in his keeping: a way of living that served us for aeons?
Back on the islands of my childhood, I’m clinging to sobriety, searching for a rare bird that’s also on the brink
Dark side of the moon
Like evangelists, astronauts travel far and return with glad tidings. But however high they ascend, they’re only human
Get your kicks
No wonder adolescents jump off cliffs and fall in crazy love – they are constantly stifled by school and society alike
A drop in the sea
What are the odds that Jesus rose or Moses parted the waves? Even with the best witnesses, vanishingly small
The mummy’s curse
It came from an Egyptian tomb... Well no, actually, it didn’t. But once a myth lurches into life, there’s no stopping it
Travel the world, but work on New York time. This is what I learned about circadian rhythms by unravelling my own
The uncertainty machine
Forget prophecy and wisdom. Using the I Ching is a weirdly useful way to open your mind to life’s unexpected twists
I’d rather be dissected
There are not enough whole-body donations to science. Why don’t people want their death to help the living?
Learning to fall apart
My OCD had been creating vivid, painful rituals for years. So could Buddhist ritual give me a means to fight back?
Shamanic powers of insight and the power to bring order out of chaos. Is the detective a priestly figure for our times?
Prohibition lingers on, but with pocket-sized vaporizers, marijuana users can get high whenever and wherever they please
I strapped TDCS electrodes to my head to see if I could make myself smarter by stimulating my brain. Here’s what happened
The reality show
Schizophrenics used to see demons and spirits. Now they talk about actors and hidden cameras – and make a lot of sense
The song collector
Romany and Traveller songs inspired a century of popular music. Now Sam Lee is searching for the last of them
We yearn for silence, yet the less sound there is, the more our thoughts deafen us. How can we still the noise within?
Life on the road with a rock band: memories blur, cities blend. Only in the frenzy of performance does the world pause
The great escape
Digital technology allows us to lose ourselves in ever more immersive fantasy worlds. But what are we fleeing from?
The death of my father
When someone close to you dies, the very fabric of your life is ripped to shreds. Is philosophy any consolation?
The manly loaf
There's nothing so atavistic and satisfying in the morning as sinking your hands into a sticky, bubbling live sourdough