Psychedelics have a remarkable capacity to violate our ideas about ourselves. Is that why they make people better?
How totalism works
The brainwashing methods of isolation, engulfment and fear can lead anyone to a cult. I should know – I was in one
The most avid believers in artificial intelligence are aggressively secular – yet their language is eerily religious. Why?
What is a cult?
Cults are exploitative, weird groups with strange beliefs and practices, right? So what about regular religions then?
Now THAT was music
One grim day (when youth is over) you find that new music gets on your nerves. But why do our musical tastes freeze over?
Caste lives on, and on
Indian society deludes itself that caste discrimination is a thing of the past, yet it suffuses the nation, top to bottom
The legend of the Legion
His cap is bleached as white as the bones of a Saharan camel. Is the romance of the French Foreign Legion a cult of death?
Subterranean metaphors have been a powerful tool of political resistance. Today, is there anywhere left to hide?
Most utopian communities are, like most start-ups, short-lived. What makes the difference between failure and success?
Drugs du jour
LSD in the ’60s; ecstasy in the ’80s; ‘smart’ drugs today: how we get high reflects the desires and fears of our times
People who can switch between street dialects and standard language might have the same cognitive advantage as bilinguals
Pepperheads love the hit of a habanero, the kick of a bhut jolokia. But what’s the allure of a fruit designed to repel?