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Aeon
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Aeon is an online magazine of ideas and culture. We publish in-depth essays, incisive articles, and a mix of original and curated videos - free to all. aeon.co
Aeon is an online magazine of ideas and culture. We publish in-depth essays, incisive articles, and a mix of original and curated videos - free to all. aeon.co

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The brain tags memories and statements for further inspection, but this system is sometimes overridden. In the absence of doubt, grandiose confabulations are quick to take root. An Aeon Idea: http://ow.ly/tHgx30aRIJp

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The politics of sincerity emerge in response to suspicion toward inwardness and allegations of hypocrisy. But sincerity isn't actually concerned with truth – instead, it is the apparent harmony of word and belief and the elimination of subjective depth. Ours is not a 'post-truth' world, but rather the age of sincerity: http://ow.ly/FPBi30aRzce

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Racial bias is not just a habit of mind, or even a widespread cultural norm. It is deeply entwined with the body's physiology. Researchers discovered that something innocuous is more likely to be perceived to be a threat if the stimuli appears at the same time as your heartbeat, illustrating how the heart-brain dialogue can affect the very expression of racial prejudice: http://ow.ly/U5r330aOZgY

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Natural disasters sometimes offer small windows of time to escape, but victims are often devastatingly unaware of what to do in the face of such a threat. Indigenous mythologies contain tales of real geological events, and ancient wisdom of how to recognise the warning signs of an impending natural disaster. Revisiting these myths can help scientists weave a global archaeological and geological record, and help future generations of survivors. Geomythologies: http://ow.ly/OCLA30aOYvm

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The history of the personal letter is a feminist one: the writer bides by their own clock and writes their own narrative. But although the present nostalgia for the personal letter tells us what we miss in our current habits of communication, it may not be the solution or the form of resistance that we think it is: http://ow.ly/J3cO30aMTTM

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The ‘dérive’ is a once-radical act of urban-architectural critique that involves walking across a city’s designated zones of work and leisure, resisting the control inherent in functional zoning. Now the paths of psychogeography have been too well-trodden, and the work/play distinction is already blurred for today’s precariat. What’s next for writing walking and the city? http://ow.ly/f3nb30aMOoj

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Do human rights exist independently of human-made laws? Are they somehow embedded in the culture of a liberal democratic society? Surely, human-rights law exists in order to give force to human rights that in some sense pre-exist their legal recognition – slavery, torture and racial discrimination did not suddenly become human-rights violations only when they were legally prohibited: http://ow.ly/fdSS30aKGEW

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History reminds us of the dangers of persuasive speech-giving. The thrall of charisma and the blatant use of rhetoric often arouse suspicion in listeners, but rhetoric is not inherently bad. Good rhetoric, like the best life for a human being, is that in which reason and the passions work together; where the audience has the empowering sense of being recognised, but is also lead to independent thought: http://ow.ly/y2wG30aKFSv

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Millais’ Ophelia, Keats’ La Belle Dame, Chekhov’s Three Sisters, and Puccini’s La bohème: all have tuberculosis in common. More than any other disease, TB, or consumption, shaped the social history of 19th-century Europe. The consumptive ‘look’ became high fashion, and the disease peppered the art, literature and music of the times. As the filth and overpopulation of expanding cities fuelled the disease, reactionary Romanticism evoked rural idylls and mythical classicism: http://ow.ly/bjHi30aIpLy

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The French Foreign Legion is famed for marching great distances with heavy loads, but the legionnaires are carried too by their legends, their mythos of belonging and self-sacrifice. How a division of nationless, death-idolising, desert-traversing young men evolved into an elite fighting force that continues today: http://ow.ly/nHgH30aIqcO
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