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What’s the essence of being human? According to the 20th-century French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, existence precedes essence. In other words, ‘I am what I do.’ This, thought Sartre, makes life an anguish-inducing experience as every one of our choices becomes a statement about what we think humanity should be. ‘Condemned to be free,’ each one of us must act as if the whole world is watching.
Building ‘bigger and better’ has pushed cosmology forward. Can it take it any further?
How Hokusai’s Great Wave emerged from Japan’s isolation to become a global icon
The ancient world
Not a lost kingdom but a parable – how to read Athens in Plato’s story of Atlantis
Meaning and the good life
Albert Camus built a philosophy of humanity on a foundation of absurdity
Check in to the Hilbert Hotel, and learn why some infinities are bigger than others
History of ideas
The devils you know – how Satan became a versatile stand-in for all manner of evil
Earth science and climate
How much can science really tell us about the future of climate change?
Beauty and aesthetics
Komorebi: ‘a dance of shadows emerging when sunlight filters through trees’
Although his story is a mystery, the Lion Man forever binds us to our prehistoric past