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Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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Classic /Memoir
CLASSIC

Cerium

Primo Levi

Primo Levi, 1975

How chemistry saved Levi’s life in the final days of Auschwitz

With a new introduction and commentary by Carole Angier

Essay/Rituals & Celebrations

Mrs Myself

Self-marriage promises love and fulfilment – but is it a radical act or a depressing concession to self-absorption?

Polina Aronson

Idea/Neuroscience

When you split the brain, do you split the person?

Yaïr Pinto

Video/Biology

Discover the astounding, pulsing life of a seemingly immobile coral reef

4 minutes

Ideas make a difference

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Video/History

An African-American revolutionary and fugitive reflects on decades of exile in Cuba

13 minutes

Idea/Cultures & Languages

The unexpected benefits of getting lost in translation

Edward Gibson

Essay/Political Philosophy

Is taxation theft?

The assumption that you own the contents of your pay-packet, although almost universal, is demonstrably confused

Philip Goff

Video/Music

What happens when rock stardom doesn’t quite work out?

10 minutes

Idea/Consciousness & Altered States

Our illusory sense of agency has a deeply important social purpose

Chris Frith

Essay/Stories & Literature

Readers of the world unite

How markets, Marx, and provincial elites created world literature to fight both empire and nationalism

Martin Puchner

Popular this month

Essay/Cities

Return of the city-state

Nation-states came late to history, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest they won’t make it to the end of the century

Jamie Bartlett

Essay/Neuroscience

Where pain lives

Fixing chronic back pain is possible only when patients understand how much it is produced by the brain, not the spine

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin

Essay/Data & Information

The bit bomb

It took a polymath to pin down the true nature of ‘information’. His answer was both a revelation and a return

Rob Goodman & Jimmy Soni

Idea/Space Exploration

To find aliens, we must think of life as we don’t know it

Ramin Skibba

Video/Demography & Migration

On the US-Mexico border, loved ones on both sides can see each other but cannot touch

12 minutes

Idea/Stories & Literature

This ancient mnemonic technique builds a palace of memory

Lynne Kelly

Essay/Philosophy of Mind

Change becomes you

Being the same person over time is not about holding on to every aspect of your current self but about changing purposefully

Kevin Tobia

ORIGINAL
Video/Cognition & Intelligence

For millennia, we’d never seen anything like film cuts. How do we process them so easily?

7 minutes

Idea/Space Exploration

To find aliens, we must think of life as we don’t know it

Ramin Skibba

Essay/History

Les Anglo-Saxons

Not just American or British, the Anglo-Saxon is a mirror to Frenchness: the country’s alter-ego and most feared enemy

Emile Chabal

Video/Mathematics

Going from A to B isn’t always a straight line – but it can be very good fun

2 minutes

Idea/Travel

We have a new word for that feeling when travel makes everything new

Liam Heneghan

Essay/Cultures & Languages

Talking gibberish

The study of languages has long been prone to nonsense. Why is linguistics such a magnet for dilettantes and crackpots?

Gaston Dorren

Video/Agriculture

One man’s quixotic quest to bring American bison to his Scottish homeland

16 minutes

Idea/Stories & Literature

The 13th-century revolution that made modern poetry possible

Eric Weiskott

Essay/War & Conflict

Don’t look away

Photography came of age amid the wars and atrocities, as well as the humanitarian aspirations, of the modern world

Jeremy Adelman

Video/Cosmology

We are born of supernovas – our spectacular and totally ordinary origin story

4 minutes

Idea/History of Science

The most wonderful words in science: ‘We have no idea… yet!’

Daniel Whiteson

Essay/Neuroscience

Where pain lives

Fixing chronic back pain is possible only when patients understand how much it is produced by the brain, not the spine

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin