Marina Benjamin
Senior Editor, Aeon+Psyche

Marina is a former arts editor of the New Statesman magazine and deputy arts editor of the Evening Standard newspaper in London. Among her books, Living at the End of the World looked at modern end-time cults, Rocket Dreams offered an off-beat elegy to the Space Age, and Last Days in Babylon told the story of the Jews of Iraq. Marina specialises in the culture of science, developmental psychology and strong personal narratives. In the last few years she has written two memoirs: The Middlepause and Insomnia, and both are available in the US, UK and Australia, as well as in translation. She can be found on Twitter @marinab52.

Written by Marina Benjamin

Photo by Harry Gruyaert/Magnum

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
Playing games for real

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

Marina Benjamin

Detail from Mother and her Daughter by Henri-François Riesener 1767-1828. Private collection. Image courtesy Wikimedia

Essay/
Childhood and adolescence
My daughter, myself

Storms of doubt and change I expected as the parent of an adolescent, I just thought they would be hers, not mine

Marina Benjamin

Edited by Marina Benjamin

A facsimile of the Carta marina (1539) by Olaus Magnus. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Essay/
Astronomy
Here be black holes

Like sea monsters on premodern maps, deep-space images are science’s fanciful means to chart the edges of the known world

Surekha Davies

Aerial view of the Apollo 9 space vehicle on the way from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center. 3 January 1969. By 1966, NASA directly employed a staff of 36,000, with another 400,000 people working for 20,000 contractors and 200 universities in 80 countries. Photo courtesy NASA

Essay/
The future
Where did the grandeur go?

Superlative things were done in the past century by marshalling thousands of people in the service of a vision of the future

Martin Parker

The Death of General Wolfe (1770) by Benjamin West. Wolfe was killed during the Battle of Quebec (1759) that decided the fate of French lands in North America. Courtesy the National Gallery of Canada/Wikipedia

Essay/
History
Are there laws of history?

Historians believe that the past is irreducibly complex and the future wildly unpredictable. Scientists disagree. Who’s right?

Amanda Rees

A 3D-printed model of a protein nanoparticle, shown here in orange and white. Scientists at the University of Washington are using protein design to create candidate nanoparticle vaccines. Photo by Ian C Haydon/Institute for Protein Design

Essay/
Future of technology
Engines of life

At the level of the tiny, biology is all about engineering. That’s why nanotechnology can rebuild medicine from within

Sonia Contera

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

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

At the World Chess Championships in London, 2013. Photo by Andrew Testa/Panos

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
Concentrate!

The challenge of chess – learning how to hold complexity in mind and still make good decisions – is also the challenge of life

Jonathan Rowson

Photo by Cavan Images/Getty

Essay/
Psychiatry and psychotherapy
Cradled by therapy

Why therapy works is still up for debate. But, when it does, its methods mimic the attachment dynamics of good parenting

Elitsa Dermendzhiyska

Photo by Christopher Capozziello from his book The Distance Between Us, exploring the life of his brother Nick, their differences, and the anger and shame of being the healthy twin. Nick has cerebral palsy.

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Is crip the new queer?

Disability activists who look to queer theory for their politics end up limiting their real transgressive potential

Rahila Gupta

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians pray on the last day of ‘Abiy Tsom’, fifty-five days of fasting ahead of Easter, at Medhane Alem Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 7 April 2018. Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Essay/
Rituals and celebrations
Divine transports

Whether via music, dance or prayer, the trance state was key to human evolution, forging society around the transcendent

Mark Vernon

Photo by David Pollack/Corbis/Getty

Essay/
Mood and emotion
The happiness ruse

How did feeling good become a matter of relentless, competitive work; a never-to-be-attained goal which makes us miserable?

Cody Delistraty

Subway, New York, 1980. Photo by Bruce Davidson/Magnum

Essay/
Beauty and aesthetics
Blackness and beauty

We need a radical new paradigm for thinking about blackness that recognises beauty’s potential to save lives

Enuma Okoro

Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint in On the Waterfront (1954). Photo by Corbis via Getty

Essay/
Gender and identity
Sex on the brain

Humans, like other mammals, exhibit sex differences in their brains and psychological traits. But what do they signify?

Kevin Mitchell

Study in Orange (1904), by René Le Bègue. Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1933. Courtesy the MET Museum, New York

Essay/
Stories and literature
Eros at play

Why the ancient erotic poems of Sappho and Wallada bint al-Mustakfi are far more stimulating than modern pornography

Jamie Mackay

Photo by Harry Gruyaert/Magnum

Essay/
Stories and literature
Sweetness and strangeness

In our image-saturated, over-sped world, we are losing the imaginative power to create and find meaning through metaphor

Heather Altfeld & Rebecca Diggs

Coloured lanterns featuring Peppa Pig characters at Fo Guang Shan during a dharma assembly on the Chinese New Year, 5 February 2019, in Kaohsiung, China. Photo by Chen Xiaoyuan/China News Service/Getty

Essay/
Global history
Re-made in China

From Marxism to hip hop, China’s appropriations from the West show that globalisation makes the world bumpy, not flat

Amy Hawkins & Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Roping calves, Paradise Valley, Nevada, in 1979. Photo by Carl Fleischhauer/Library of Congress

Essay/
Animals and humans
American bull

The story of American beef is like the story of the nation as a whole: a mashup of history and myth, bloody and contested

Joshua Specht

Susan Sontag in 1971. Photo by Bruce Davidson/Magnum

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Susan Sontag was a monster

She took things too seriously. She was difficult and unyielding. That’s why Susan Sontag’s work matters so much even now

Lauren Elkin

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