Photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Essay/
Mental health
The seed of suffering

The p-factor is the dark matter of psychiatry: an invisible, unifying force that might lie behind a multitude of mental disorders

Alex Riley

The Tarkhan Dress is the world’s oldest woven garment with radiocarbon testing dating the garment to the late fourth-millennium BC. Image courtesy the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL

Essay/
Archaeology
The clothing revolution

What if the need for fabric, not food, in the face of a changing climate is what first tipped humanity towards agriculture?

Ian Gilligan

Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty

Essay/
Knowledge
Philosophy with children

Kids don’t just say ‘the darndest things’. Playful and probing, they can be closer to the grain of life’s deepest questions

Jana Mohr Lone

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Misrata, Libya, April 2011. Photo by David Rose/Panos Pictures

Essay/
War and peace
Who counts as a victim?

Innocent, passive, apolitical: after the Holocaust, the standard for ‘true’ victimhood has worked to justify total war

A Dirk Moses

Photo by Martine Franck/Magnum

Essay/
Philosophy of religion
Reincarnation now

Modern mindfulness strips Buddhism of its spiritual core. We need an ethics of reincarnation for an interconnected world

Avram Alpert

John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner and Art Davis, live in Copenhagen, 1961. Photo by JP Jazz Archive/Getty

Essay/
Quantum theory
Quantum music

Physics has long looked to harmony to explain the beauty of the Universe. But what if dissonance yields better insights?

Katie McCormick

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The Course of Empire: Destruction (1836) by Thomas Cole. Courtesy Met Museum, New York/Wikipedia

Essay/
Nations and empires
The road from Rome

The fall of the Roman Empire wasn’t a tragedy for civilisation. It was a lucky break for humanity as a whole

Walter Scheidel

Fremont Street, Las Vegas, 1982. Photo by Harry Gruyaert/Magnum

Essay/
Mathematics
Mathematics for gamblers

If philosophers and mathematicians struggle with probability, can gamblers really hope to grasp their losing game?

Catalin Barboianu

Miami Beach, 2015. Photo by Stuart Franklin/Magnum

Essay/
Meaning and the good life
Authenticity is a sham

From monks to existentialists and hipsters, the search for a true self has been a centuries-long project. Should we give it up?

Alexander Stern

Locals at the Marienfluss Conservancy in Namibia meet to discuss conservation. Photo courtesy of NACSO/WWF Namibia

Essay/
The environment
The miracle of the commons

Far from being profoundly destructive, we humans have deep capacities for sharing resources with generosity and foresight

Michelle Nijhuis

Locals at the Marienfluss Conservancy in Namibia meet to discuss conservation. Photo courtesy of NACSO/WWF Namibia

Essay/
The environment
The miracle of the commons

Far from being profoundly destructive, we humans have deep capacities for sharing resources with generosity and foresight

Michelle Nijhuis

Detail from a cross section of a human brain organoid revealing the formation of neural rosettes. All photos courtesy and © Muotri Lab/UC San Diego

Essay/
Human evolution
Brains in a dish

What pea-sized brain organoids reveal about consciousness, the self and our future as a species

Alysson Muotri

Proud new citizens at a US Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalisation ceremony at the New York Public Library in Manhattan on 3 July 2018. Photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Essay/
Nations and empires
The patriot paradox

Globalism is out. Nationalism is in. Progressives who think they can jump aboard are dangerously naive

Jeremy Adelman

Miami Beach, 2015. Photo by Stuart Franklin/Magnum

Essay/
Meaning and the good life
Authenticity is a sham

From monks to existentialists and hipsters, the search for a true self has been a centuries-long project. Should we give it up?

Alexander Stern

A copy of John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) is believed to be the only book known to have the signatures of two of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Photo by Dai Sugano/Mercury/Getty

Essay/
Stories and literature
Milton versus the mob

He spoke truth to power and made heresy a virtue. Lessons on free speech and intellectual combat from John Milton

Nicholas McDowell

Photo by Richard Baker/Getty

Essay/
Stories and literature
Shameful

Women who write about their pain suffer a double shaming: once for getting injured, twice for their act of self-exposure

Katherine Angel