Saturday night in Borgarfjörður eystri, Iceland, 2007. In 2018, 70 per cent of births in the country were outside of marriage. Photo by Jonas Bendicksen/Magnum

Essay/
Love and friendship
Is marriage over?

Marriage is practised in every society yet is in steep decline globally. Is this it for longterm intimate relationships?

Manvir Singh

Photo by Mark Cornick from the Soho Nights series

Essay/
Mental health
My psychosis

It was one terrifying, exciting night of delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. What would it teach a future psychologist?

Tom Hartley

Detail from Interior (with Gabriele Münter and Marianne von Werefkin) (1910), by Wassily Kandinsky. Photo by AKG London

Essay/
Psychiatry and psychotherapy
Therapy that sticks

Quick-fix psychotherapies have been hailed as the gold standard. But depth therapies can be far more enduring and profound

Linda Michaels

Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG/Getty

Essay/
The environment
A vision for agriculture

We know how to replace toxic, intensive livestock raising with beautiful, efficient grasslands. Do we have the will?

Randall D Jackson

Poster advertising the 1948 Superman series. Photo courtesy Getty Images

Essay/
Stories and literature
Supermensch

Superman et al were invented amid feverish eugenic speculation: what does the superhero craze say about our own times?

Iwan Rhys Morus

Photo by Getty Images

Essay/
Sports and games
Love is a hold’em game

While some keep their cards close to their chest, others try raising the stakes. What can poker teach us about dating?

Suki Finn

Photo by Jagoda Matejczuk/Getty

Essay/
Animals and humans
Rats are us

They are sentient beings with rich emotional lives, yet we subject them to experimental cruelty without conscience. Why?

Kristin Andrews & Susana Monsó

Photo bt Emin Ozmen/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Knowledge
Nihilism

The risk of nihilism is that it alienates us from anything good or true. Yet believing in nothing has positive potential

Nolen Gertz

From Voyage dans l'Amérique Méridionale, (v.IX, 1835-47), by Alcide Dessalines d'Orbigny. Courtesy the Biodiversity Heritage Library/Public Domain

Essay/
Illness and disease
This ragged claw

It is a crab; no, a worm; no, a wolf. Early physicians weren’t entirely wrong to imagine cancer as a ravenous disease

Ellen Wayland-Smith

Planetary System. Eclipse of the Sun. The Moon. The Zodiacal Light. Meteoric Shower. From Yaggy’s Geographical Study, 1887. Courtesy the David Rumsey Map Collection

Essay/
History of science
Naming the Universe

How the quick thinking of internationally minded astronomers avoided stamping the solar system with petty European rivalries

Stephen Case

A cemetery in Bristol, England, seen from a hot air balloon flight in August 2009. Photo by Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Essay/
Death
This mortal coil

The fear of death drives many evils, from addiction to prejudice and war. Can it also be harnessed as a force for good?

Jeff Greenberg

This colour-enhanced frontal view of the head, neck and shoulders confirms brain death by absence of blood flow to the brain. Photo by Living Art Enterprises, LLC/SPL

Essay/
Bioethics
Neither person nor cadaver

The body is warm, but the brain has gone dark: why the notion of brain death provokes the thorniest of medical dilemmas

Sharon Kaufman

Armed Armenian revolutionaries, Turkey, 1906. Photo courtesy of B Dickson/Royal Geographical Society/Getty

Essay/
Nations and empires
Roving revolutionaries

Moving between the Russian, Iranian and Young Turk revolutions, cosmopolitan Armenians helped usher in the 20th century

Houri Berberian

Five O'Clock. Plate VII from the series Intimacies (1898), by Félix Edouard Vallotton. Courtesy the Art Institute of Chicago

Essay/
Love and friendship
The joy of intimacy

A polyamorous friend challenges me: are you really happily monogamous or are you just hung up about your philandering dad?

Lily Dunn

Bertrand Russell in November 1950, having been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Photo by Bettmann/Getty

Essay/
Political philosophy
The politics of logic

Should philosophy express the national character of a people? Bertrand Russell’s ‘scientific’ philosophy was a bulwark against nationalism

Alexander Klein

Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots celebrates a 12-yard touchdown against the New York Giants during Super Bowl XLVI on 5 February 2012. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Essay/
Sports and games
Invisible tattoos

Many athletes are propelled by childhood trauma to succeed, but it’s a toxic myth that healing the wounds blunts the edge

William D Parham

  Erotic ‘Spring Picture’, Ming Dynasty, 16th century, China, artist unknown. Courtesy Wikimedia

Essay/
Sex and sexuality
Anti-climax

Coitus reservatus is an ancient technique promising bliss and longevity. Does orgasm data back up these tantric ideas?

Peter von Ziegesar