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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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Lizzie Kirkwood

Edited by Lizzie Kirkwood

Essay/
History of ideas
Can God lie?

Until the Scientific Revolution, God’s power included a licence to deceive. How did science make an honest man of Him?

Dallas G Denery II

Essay/
Cosmopolitanism
The essence of evil

You don’t have to be a monster or a madman to dehumanise others. You just have to be an ordinary human being

David Livingstone Smith

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
No pain, no game

Pain and suffering are not just incidental elements of the sporting life: they are at the centre of every game

Michael Thomsen

Essay/
Stories and literature
Tell me a story

Even in our digital age, live storytelling has a spellbinding effect more potent than any DVD box set

Richard Hamilton

Essay/
Death
The digital soul

My Facebook page may be part of my identity, but can it give me a virtual afterlife?

Patrick Stokes

Essay/
Death
Life after death

The idea of life after death lives on in near-death experiences and messages from beyond the grave. What’s the evidence?

Jesse Bering

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
Are you looking at me?

What goes on in our minds when we see someone naked? The more we see of a person’s body the stupider they seem

Matthew Hutson

Essay/
Computing and artificial intelligence
The attention economy

It costs nothing to click, respond and retweet. But what price do we pay in our relationships and our peace of mind?

Tom Chatfield

Essay/
Political philosophy
Life in the fishbowl

In the future, most people will live in a total surveillance state – and some of us might even like it

Stuart Armstrong

Essay/
Ethics
Perversions

Atheists and homosexuals were called perverts once. Why do we still see perversion where no harm is done?

Jesse Bering

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
Too much information

Our instincts for privacy evolved in tribal societies where walls didn’t exist. No wonder we are hopeless oversharers

Ian Leslie

Essay/
Stories and literature
Inner peace

We yearn for silence, yet the less sound there is, the more our thoughts deafen us. How can we still the noise within?

Tim Parks

Essay/
Love and friendship
If a cat could talk

Felines walk the line between familiar and strange. We stroke them and they purr, then in a trice they pounce

David Wood

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
The crystalline wall

Shyness is a part of being human. The world would be a more insipid, less creative place without it

Joe Moran

Essay/
Architecture
Room for sex

Most architecture sets out to make us civil and efficient. Where are the homes that give us passion and pleasure?

Richard J Williams

Essay/
Architecture
The wisdom of gardens

Gardens expand our thinking. At times of crisis they console, school us in emotional generosity, and show us that life goes on

Damon Young

Essay/
Ecology and environmental sciences
Accidental rewilding

In places once thick with farms and cities, human dispossession and war has cleared the ground for nature to return

George Monbiot

Essay/
History of ideas
Freudian slips

Verbal gaffes can profoundly challenge our sense of self, offering insight into our idiosyncrasies and desires

Jay Watts

Essay/
Ethics
A right to believe?

You are entitled to believe what you will, but your beliefs must be subject to criticism and scrutiny just like mine

Mark Rowlands

Essay/
Addiction
The outsider

While one person dabbles in drugs with few ill-effects, another will become a chronic addict. What’s the difference?

Hanna Pickard

Essay/
Philosophy of religion
Zen freedom

Free will and fate are both illusions. The trick is learning to sail with the prevailing winds of life

Tim Lott

Essay/
Addiction
Cyborg dreams

Gadgets are the first thing we touch in the morning and the last thing we stroke at night. Are we their slaves?

Tom Chatfield

Essay/
History of ideas
What is love?

Forget the modern romantic notion of ‘the one’. True love means looking beyond the couple and out towards life

Mark Vernon

Essay/
Biology
Not just a pretty boy

Intelligent, devoted, alien – parrots are unlike any other pet. But what does the complex human-avian bond say about us?

Ilan Greenberg

Essay/
Ethics
Tennis with Plato

In play an adult can become like a child, fully absorbed in the here-and-now. Play, not work, brings us fully to life

Mark Rowlands

Essay/
Beauty and aesthetics
The great swindle

From pickled sharks to compositions in silence, fake ideas and fake emotions have elbowed out truth and beauty

Roger Scruton

Essay/
Ecology and environmental sciences
The id and the eco

Thinking about climate change makes people feel helpless and anxious – but that’s why we must talk about it openly

Rosemary Randall

Essay/
Mental health
Rules of survival

Mid-air is a bad place, where nightmares happen. Only witches and meteorites belong there. Avoid it or be destroyed

AL Kennedy

Essay/
Education
The begging bowl

British universities have a lot to learn about philanthropy – not least how to restrain its academic influence

David Edmonds

Essay/
Music
A broken offering

A cracked voice, an empty bank account, a tour of duty. Who would have thought so much light could still get in?

Tim Footman