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Can romantic love ever be a shared joy? According to the 20th-century French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, for whom freedom was paramount, the answer must be ‘no’, since people want their partners to choose them freely, and this freedom leads to the possibility of falling out of love at any time. In Sartre’s view, this means love must always be fraught, a ceaseless conflict characterised either by masochism or sadism, as both lover and loved-one risk having their freedom compromised.
How a self-taught autistic artist mines creativity from life’s endless variations
Nature and landscape
An afternoon with hobbyist diamond miners in Arkansas is a thing of rare beauty
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
What is it like to clean the world for tomorrow while the rest of a city sleeps?
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’?
An artist grapples with the loss of his brother, and the problem of canine abduction