I don’t believe in blind idealism: An interview with Katarzyna Boni

The author of "Auroville: The City Made of Dreams" talks about the difficulties of establishing (and writing about) utopian societies.

ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images
Is it possible to bring a utopia to life? When searching for an ideal world, do we part with reality or maybe give it a new shape?
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The evolution of comfort food

An archaeologist considers the history and biology of what defines a taste of home.

Photo by Zera Li on Unsplash
The winter holiday season will feel different this year for many: Extended families may not be able to gather, leaving holiday meals shared with smaller groups, or digitally, across different time zones.
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Why moral people tolerate immoral behavior

As morally sturdy as we may feel, it turns out that humans are natural hypocrites when it comes to passing moral judgment.

  • The problem with having a compass as the symbolic representation of morality is that due north is not a fixed point. Liane Young, Boston College associate professor and director of the Morality Lab, explains how context, bias, and tribal affiliation influence us enormously when we pass moral judgments.
  • Moral instinct is tainted by cognitive bias. Humans evolved to be more lenient to their in-groups—for example excusing a beloved politician who lines their pockets while lambasting a colleague for the exact same transgression—and to care more about harm done close to them than harm done farther away, for example, to people in another country.
  • The challenge for humans in a globalized and polarized world is to become aware of our moral biases and learn to apply morality more objectively. How can we be more rational and less hypocritical about our morals? "I think that clarifying the value that you are consulting for a particular problem is really critical," says Young.
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In ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ and beyond, chess holds up a mirror to life

The pieces don't represent an army, they stand in for the Western social order.

Netflix
If this use of chess to represent life feels familiar, it is largely thanks to the medieval world.
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Kind by nature: Have faith in humanity

Radical thinker Rutger Bregman paints a new, more beautiful portrait of humanity.

Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

Optimism is what runs the world, and cynicism only serves as an excuse for the lazy.

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