Become a
Friend of 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

Gateways to the Mind: tricky trapezoid

4 minutes

Optical illusions show how past experience dramatically influences perception

‘I’ll never trust another trapezoid.’

Part of a series of educational films produced by Bell Laboratories between 1956 and 1964, Gateways to the Mind (1958) explored human senses and perception using animations, demonstrations and in-the-lab sequences. In this brief excerpt, the US English professor and public educator Frank C Baxter walks the audience through three experiments carried out at Princeton University’s Perception Demonstration Center, each highlighting the powerful relationship between perception and past experience.

Director: Owen Crump


Video/History

An African-American revolutionary and fugitive reflects on decades of exile in Cuba

13 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/Values & Beliefs

Why we need to move empathy from personal emotion to collective moral concern

5 minutes

Video/Music

What happens when rock stardom doesn’t quite work out?

10 minutes

Idea/Consciousness & Altered States

Our illusory sense of agency has a deeply important social purpose

Chris Frith

ORIGINAL
Video/Cognition & Intelligence

For millennia, we’d never seen anything like film cuts. How do we process them so easily?

7 minutes

Essay/Neuroscience

Where pain lives

Fixing chronic back pain is possible only when patients understand how much it is produced by the brain, not the spine

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin

Essay/Human Evolution

Imagination is ancient

Our imaginative life today has access to the pre-linguistic, ancestral mind: rich in imagery, emotions and associations

Stephen T Asma

Idea/Psychiatry & Psychotherapy

The history of brainwashing is a red flag for techno-therapy

David Saunders

Video/Childhood & Adolescence

What to make of a Riot Grrrl? A snapshot of feminism and high school in the 1990s

18 minutes