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23 February 2018

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“A means of union among men”

Dan Kaufman and Daniel Tippens discuss how art’s communicative nature is essential to the shared experiences that bind a society together. Play entire video
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Why The Iliad is more morally complex than Star Wars

Catherine Nichols argues that a villain having a change of heart is a distinctively modern storytelling trope.

Will a child prodigy be an unhappy adult?

Robert Wright speaks with Ann Hulbert, author of the new book Off the Charts: The Hidden Lives and Lessons of American Child Prodigies.

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Remembering ‘satanic ritual abuse’

Anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann assesses the costs and benefits of letting imagination shape one’s reality. Plus: Schizophrenia as a spiritual calling.

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An emotional survival kit

Stephen Asthma and Rami Gabriel discuss how emotions might have evolved to prepare humans for the imminent dangers of prehistoric life. Plus: Do animals have emotions?

Is radical life extension just bunk?

Robert Wright speaks with Michael Shermer, author of the new book Heavens on Earth, about efforts to ward off aging. Plus: Why you’ll never be able to upload your brain.

Trying to define “enlightenment”

Jeff Warren, co-author of the new book Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, explains how he understands the Buddhist term.

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The “elasticity of democracy”

Benjamin Park, author of the new book American Nationalisms, and Bill Black consider how the Mormon Church’s organization challenged the view of a perfect American democracy. Plus: How early Mormon women found safety in numbers.

Can truth survive Trump?

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Aryeh Cohen-Wade and David Ottlinger discuss the relevance of truth and objectivity in ostensibly “postmodern” politics.

Mourning man’s best friend

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Tami Simon, editor of the book The Dharma of Dogs, explains why the loss of a pet has spiritual significance in human life.

The best diet is no diet

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Noah Rasheta and Paige Smathers explain why diet restriction is often counterintuitive for maintaining good health. Plus: Meditation at mealtime.