This website is featured in Business Insider’s “The 43 best websites for learning something new“.
Aeon, a Digital Publication that Features Long-Form In-Depth Essays Written by Industry Professionals
Name: Aeon (Visit Aeon)
Type: Digital Publication
Best Website For:
Reason it's on The Best Sites:
Aeon's writers are industry experts, many of whom are involved with academia. Aeon is registered as a 501(c)(3) charity in the US. They cover tough topics with essays.
It is a common exhortation: live authentically. But what does authenticity actually mean? As a psychological concept, authenticity simply means embracing who you really are, at your very core, and acting in accordance to your own values and beliefs. Many social psychologists, such as myself, also...
By Elizabeth Seto
The idea that nature is a humming, complex, clockwork machine has been around for centuries. Is it due for a revival?
By Jessica Riskin
Geometry is perhaps the most obviously aesthetic branch of mathematics, and marvellously suited to visual play – a property that the German animator Henning M Lederer explores to great effect in this short video. Inspired by the blog Geometry Daily, in which the German graphic designer Tilman strives to create minimalist compositions that are ‘unique but also as simple as possible’, Lederer takes on the challenge of this limitation to create mesmerising vignettes of morphing shapes.
By Aeon Video
What is life? For much of the 20th century, this question did not particularly concern biologists. Life is a term for poets, not scientists, argued the synthetic biologist Andrew Ellington in 2008, who began his career studying how life began. Despite Ellington’s reservations, the related fields ...
By Rebecca Wilbanks
This instalment of the People in Order series, by the UK directors Lenka Clayton and James Price, presents 73 homes arranged in descending order of household income, from £400,000 to £3,240 (or roughly US $733,945 to $5,945 at the rate of exchange in 2006). As the fascinating sequence unfolds, it becomes clear that income don't always correlate with homes, but the real surprise is the richness of humanity – the preferences, configurations and attitudes – that this very circumscribed framing offers. According to the filmmakers, the People in Order series is ‘like a list of government statistics where the citizens … have broken out from behind the figures on the page. The people on the screen stop us from seeing them as numbers. Even in single-second bursts there are worlds of personality stretching out in front of us.’
By Aeon Video
The ethical formation of citizens was once at the heart of the US elite college. Has this moral purpose gone altogether?
By Chad Wellmon
Imagine that someone you care about is procrastinating in advance of a vital exam. If he fails the test, he will not be able to go to university, an eventuality of major consequence in his life. If positive encouragement doesn’t work, you might reverse strategy, making your friend feel so bad, so...
By Belén López-Pérez
Hume believed we were nothing more or less than human: that’s why he’s the amiable, modest, generous philosopher we need now
By Julian Baggini
The Georgia Archives building, also known as the ‘White Ice Cube’ for its pale hue, windowless facade and modernist shape, was a prominent feature of Atlanta's cityscape before the building's controlled implosion in March 2017. Standing beside the State Capitol since 1965, it stored Georgia’s archival records until structural issues and budget cuts forced its 2012 closure and eventual demolition. This experimental short from the Atlanta-based filmmaker Adam Forrester captures the building’s destruction in a single shot played in reverse, giving the effect of something emerging from a cloud of smoke to self-assemble into a building. According to Forrester, the video uses this once ‘beautiful and bizarre component’ of the downtown Atlanta landscape to explore ‘our desire to preserve the past, our appetite to make way for the future, and the complex intersection of those urges’.
By Aeon Video
If anything seems self-evident in human culture, it’s the widespread presence of religion. People do ‘religious’ stuff all the time; a commitment to gods, myths and rituals has been present in all societies. These practices and beliefs are diverse, to be sure, from Aztec human sacrifice to Christ...
By Brett Colasacco
Optimists believe in good luck, pessimists in bad. But if it’s all a matter of perspective, does luck even exist?
By Steven Hales
Twin sisters Wei and Yan and their younger brother Won are left on their own when their father is imprisoned for manslaughter. Like other children from poor families in China whose parents have ended up in prison or executed, the Zhang siblings face a bleak future. The children of the incarcerated are frequently abandoned by their extended families, judged by society for the deeds of their parents, and receive no social safety net from the Chinese government. The situation is particularly grave for those who don't have state-issued identification, which prevents them from entering school and eventually finding work. For some of these children, the only hope for safety and stability is Sun Village, a privately and NGO-funded programme that houses and cares for children of Chinese convicts. This affecting short documentary joins the Zhangs at the moment when their father, who is facing a possible death sentence, makes the wrenching decision to have them taken to Sun Village. Uncertain of their father’s fate and their own future, the Zhangs attempt to find solid footing in a society that hardly acknowledges their existence.
By Aeon Video
In a Twitter account called So Sad Today, the American writer Melissa Broder has been sending out snippets of her daily inner life since 2012. Broder writes about mundane sadness – ‘waking up today was a disappointment’ or ‘what you call a nervous breakdown i call oops, accidentally saw things as...
By Dinsa Sachan
What stands in the way of all-powerful AI isn't a lack of smarts: it's that computers can't have needs, cravings or desires
By Margaret Boden
A staple of American cinema since the release of the silent film The Great Train Robbery in 1903, the Western arguably became its defining genre with the release of Stagecoach in 1939 – the first of nine Western collaborations between the iconic duo of director John Ford and actor John Wayne. For the next several decades, Westerns evolved with the times, embracing an American mythos of freedom and opportunity before filmmakers such as Sergio Leone began using the language of the genre to reflect the more cynical mood of the Vietnam era. Part of a film-analysis series from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, this video essay by the US film critic Dave Kehr discusses how the Western helped to define the language of American film until modern filmmakers began adopting Western signifiers for shorthand, self-reference and parody, leaving the genre itself more or less in the dust.
By Aeon Video
Last winter, unforgettable video footage online showed a starving polar bear, struggling in its Arctic hunting grounds. Because of global warming, the ice was thin and the food supply was scarce. The video generated a wellspring of sympathy for the plight of this poor creature, and invigorated ca...
By Steven Nadler
Note: English subtitles for this video are available by clicking the ‘CC’ button on the bottom right of the video player.
As the Second World War fades further into the past, the passage of time can make firsthand accounts told by its survivors and participants feel less like their own lived experience and more like distant fables or pages from history books. The German filmmaker and animator Pascal Floerks grew up hearing such stories from his grandfather, once a Nazi paratrooper who killed, and saw friends killed, in battle. In Bär, Floerks examines his relationship with his grandfather, not only as a Nazi veteran, but as a gardener, car collector, painter and dear family member. Twisting a convention of the personal documentary genre, Floerks uses archival photography to tell his grandfather’s story, but replaces his likeness with that of a bear, invoking the duality of the man's warmth and his potential for violence. The result is jarring and haunting – a deeply personal account of a grandson-grandfather relationship and the universal drift between generations that cannot be detached from a terrible history.
By Aeon Video
Does everything in the world boil down to basic units – or can emergence explain how distinctive new things arise?
By Paul Humphreys
They told me, Heraclitus, they told me you were dead; They brought me bitter news to hear and bitter tears to shed; I wept as I remembered how often you and I Had tired the sun with talking, and sent him down the sky.And now that thou art lying, my dear old Carian guest, A handful of grey ashes, ...
By Armand D’Angour
Economic inequality is an urgent problem. Deeper still is our loss of mutual respect, the foundation of a fair society
By Richard V Reeves