Get curated editors’ picks, peeks behind the scenes, film recommendations and more.
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.
What can a Kurosawa classic tell us about reality, knowledge and truth?
Meaning and the good life
To know or not to know? Lillian weighs the costs of a life-changing genetic test
Liquid experiments show how beautiful things can happen when chemicals meet
Philosophy of mind
Caring for the vulnerable opens gateways to our richest, deepest brain states
History of ideas
How did ‘personal responsibility’ evolve into its opposite, ‘everyone for themselves’?
Thinkers and theories
Bigger isn’t better – the renegade ‘Buddhist economics’ of E F Schumacher
Dance and theatre
Close-up on kabuki – the colourful ‘pure entertainment’ of Japan’s Edo period
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