Are you looking for something to distract you from the Trumpening of American politics? Would you rather be reading almost anything these days besides more analyses of the presidential primaries?
Then do yourself a favor and check out the website Aeon.
The brainchild of Paul and Brigid Haines, Aeon prides itself on “[asking] the biggest questions and [finding] the freshest, most original answers, provided by world-leading authorities on science, philosophy and society.” It eschews partisanship and ideology in favor of “big ideas, serious enquiry, a humane worldview and good writing.” It publishes a new essay every day, as well as videos, “short provocations,” and interactive conversations with its readers.
I can barely keep up with what Aeon has to offer:
- In “Your Point Is?” Steven Poole writes about teleology and about whether the universe is purposeful (https://aeon.co/essays/what-s-it-all-for-is-a-question-that-belongs-in-the-past);
- In “Why Is Death Bad?” Eric Olson attempts to sort out what exactly is behind our unhappiness with our own mortality (https://aeon.co/essays/we-might-agree-that-death-is-bad-but-why-exactly);
- In “A Science Without Time,” Gene Tracy wonders whether time is a human construct (albeit a necessary one) imposed upon a timeless (or time-neutral) cosmos (https://aeon.co/essays/why-doesn-t-physics-help-us-to-understand-the-flow-of-time);
- In “When Does the Future Begin?” Daphna Oyserman advises that we are better motivated when we envision our lives as journeys that we are actively undertaking, and that “the way to succeed is to make the future feel connected to the present, thus requiring immediate and persistent action” (https://aeon.co/opinions/when-does-the-future-begin-a-study-in-maximising-motivation).
Two recent Aeon essays stand out for me: Joseph Pierre’s “A Mad World,” in which the author, himself a psychiatrist, considers the possibility that psychiatry is over-diagnosing mental illness (https://aeon.co/essays/do-psychiatrists-really-think-that-everyone-is-crazy); and Steven Nadler’s robust defense of Baruch Spinoza in “Why Spinoza Still Matters” (https://aeon.co/essays/at-a-time-of-zealotry-spinoza-matters-more-than-ever). Both those pieces deserve consideration at some length, and I plan to address them both when I can.
In the meantime, please do yourself a favor: forget about politics for a while and discover Aeon at https://aeon.co/. You'll learn more from one visit to that site than you will from a lifetime (god forbid) of listening to Chris Matthews.