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With a worldview formed amid the unfathomable human suffering of the early 20th century, Albert Camus’s writings reflect on the inherent absurdity of the human condition, including his best-known work, the novella The Stranger (1942). But the arc of his career, from his ‘cycle of the absurd’ and his ‘cycle of revolt’ to his ‘cycle of love’ – left unfinished after Camus himself met a rather meaningless end in a car accident – points towards a humane philosophy, centred on a defiant pursuit of freedom and value in a futile, incomprehensible universe. This animation from TED-Ed scopes Camus’s career, outlook and cultural influence, shedding light on how, where he might have found hopelessness, he instead found inspiration. For more on Camus’s life, including how his worldview clashed with those of his existentialist contemporaries, watch the Aeon original animation Sartre vs Camus.
The ancient world
Not a lost kingdom but a parable – how to read Athens in Plato’s story of Atlantis
When two punk bands came to a psychiatric hospital, beautiful chaos ensued
Design and fashion
Gear up for a stylish celebration of vintage motorcycle design
Film and visual culture
Shoddy filmmaking meets the miracle of life in a police training film turned cult classic
Check in to the Hilbert Hotel, and learn why some infinities are bigger than others
Human rights and justice
The buzzes, clanks and whirrs of prison life form a meditation on freedom
A climate activist living off-grid faces her toughest challenge yet – a new primary school
Cognition and intelligence
No, Mozart isn’t a brain hack for babies – here’s how music really affects intelligence
The rhythms of rural Thailand, where both food and music are sourced from the ground