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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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(Unofficial) history of the National Parks

4 minutes

A droll, whirlwind history of the US National Parks system, in just four minutes

Do you crave the enriching history of Ken Burns’s celebrated documentary series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (2009) but don’t have 12 hours to spare? The US filmmaker Ryan Maxey has a droll and delightful short film that will give you the broad strokes in just four diligently researched minutes. With a collage style and a muzak soundtrack, (Unofficial) History of the National Parks aims to entertain, but ultimately arrives at a deeper question about humanity’s potential for curbing its most self-destructive impulses.

Director: Ryan Maxey

Website: Parks Project

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

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.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/History
The other side of the curtain

During the Cold War, US propagandists worked to provide a counterweight to Communist media, but truth eluded them all

Melissa Feinberg

Essay/Subcultures
Touching the sky

At their best, daredevils rival philosophers and mystics in their exploration of human mortality and spirit

Lary Wallace