To join the conversation, sign up to Aeon now.

Follow us:


Latest Popular

Card essay gettyimages 74391581



It’s not just your imagination. Horror films are much more scary than they were in the past. Here’s how they do it

by Patricia Pisters

Card essay 42 18372025


A fake of art

Museums display perfect reproductions of fragile works and visitors can’t tell the difference. Is nothing in art sacred?

by Noah Charney

Card essay acropolis nn11424615


Lessons of Demopolis

Wisdom from classical Greece: democracy and liberalism are both better off if we understand the difference between them

by Josiah Ober

Card essay px002374


Dispatches from the ruins

The human world has become bafflingly complex and strangely fragile making apocalypse the easiest thing to imagine

by Frank Bures

Card essay heic1106a


The superfluid Universe

Quantum effects are not just subatomic: they can be expressed across galaxies, and solve the puzzle of dark matter

by Sabine Hossenfelder

Card essay par38723


Kinky cutie

My father was hopelessly, joyously addicted to gambling and I his moral critic. Why did I end up playing pro blackjack?

by Marina Benjamin

Card essay 42 21801486


A tyrannosaur of one’s own

Dinosaur collecting isn't just for museums any more – film stars and sheikhs do it too. What drives a man to covet big bones?

by Laurie Gwen Shapiro

Card  the secret. william frederick witherington 42 43183752


My secret life

Parents expect to know everything about their children’s lives. They need to remember that secrets are part of growing up

by Tiffany Jenkins

Card essay 120398940


Return of the mercenaries

Two centuries ago, public armies replaced private ones as the dominant tool of warfare. Now, private armies are back

by Sean McFate

Card essay charleston south interior cycle track


Work imitates life

The utopian workplace is here, complete with roof gardens, therapists and time to nap. Can the employee ever escape?

by Benjamin Naddaff-Hafrey

Card essay elmslie rtx164t3


Riding the wind

Hot and bothersome or exhilarating and wild: winds blow through the mind as strongly as they blow through the landscape

by Karen Emslie

Card essay jimmy dean grandad nyc115985


Ask the aged

Who better to answer questions about the purpose of life than someone who has been living theirs for a long time?

by Karl Pillemer

Card essay big burger  2015  120 x 180 cm  oil linen  1


The hunger mood

Hunger isn’t in your stomach or your blood-sugar levels. It’s in your mind – and that’s where we need to shape up

by Michael Graziano

Card essay apollo 17 shorty crater


To boldly sell

Space is for sale. And if we want to get serious about our interplanetary ambitions, that could be a good thing

by Grayson Clary

Card essay par213523


Spoken in scent

A hidden sense of smell might account for the mysterious sixth sense and a universe of subtle knowledge about the world

by Elizabeth Preston

Card essay nyc121739


Why pray?

Prayer occurs in many faiths. It stays recognisable despite its varied forms. It must be good for something – but what?

by Benjamin Dueholm

Card essay 5277864634 2895b74ed5 o


Our chemical Eden

To figure out the origin of life might take a conceptual shift towards seeing it as a pattern of molecular energy

by Tim Requarth

Card 42 45552892


Natural-born paedophiles

Some paedophiles might be hard-wired to commit their abusive acts. Should that alter their crime in the eyes of the law?

by Caren Chesler

Card new crop dante gabriel rossetti   la pia de tolomei


Dark books

What’s more wholesome than reading? Yet books wield a dangerous power: the best erode self, infecting readers with ideas

by Tara Isabella Burton

Card essay 42 56845169


Epic fails

Great theories can spend decades waiting for verification. Failed theories do too. Is there any way to tell them apart?

by Thomas Levenson

Card 42 61621746


Roots and genes

‘Roots’ sparked an African-American quest for identity through family history. Does DNA finally provide firm grounds?

by Alondra Nelson

Card essay procreation 00178252


Is it OK to have kids?

Your decision about whether to procreate is serious. That makes it philosophy’s business, alarming as that might sound

by Richard Chappell

Card essay aeon final wave revised


Sky readers

For most of human history, the stars told us where we were in space and time. Have we forgotten how to look up?

by Gene Tracy

Card essay  162279583


Burke was no conservative

Edmund Burke’s support for the American Revolution, and opposition to the French, have been misunderstood

by Richard Bourke

Card essay c0246189 e cat cold fusion research spl


The cold fusion horizon

Is cold fusion truly impossible, or is it just that no respectable scientist can risk their reputation working on it?

by Huw Price

Card essay final 121506703


In praise of defiance

Labelling someone crazy and difficult is a way to resist justice and change – and psychiatrists are complicit

by Carrie Arnold

Card essay 82502270


Rise of the humanities

Professors worry about the ‘crisis in the humanities’. But more people than ever, especially women, are studying them

by Peter Mandler

Card essay 00191358


ISIS is a revolution

All world-altering revolutions are born in danger and death, brotherhood and joy. How can this one be stopped?

by Scott Atran

Card essay 42 25077147


Money talks

Has money really changed from shells to digital apps? Underneath, money is always a token of our social relations

by Bill Maurer

Card essay final nyc23139


Possessed by a mask

Every human culture has used masks for ritual disinhibition, shaming and play. Is being online the ultimate masquerade?

by Sandra Newman