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Do we inhabit a multiverse? Do we have free will? What is love? Is evolution directional? There are no simple answers to life’s biggest questions, and that’s why they’re the questions occupying the world’s brightest minds. Together, let's learn from them. Welcome to The Well, a publication by the John Templeton Foundation and Big Think.

Featured Interviews

“A huge mistake people often make is thinking that Mother Nature cares about our happiness…

Mother Nature wants us to survive, pass on our genes, get calories, find mates, and stay safe. Not only does Mother Nature not care about our happiness, but she also knows we need to be unhappy and have lots of negative emotions to alert us to threats.”

Bald man with glasses wearing a suit and tie, smiling at the camera against a plain background.
Arthur Brooks

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“Common wisdom says we have a self and that self is the source of our free will, but...

 the subject of the self is riddled with paradoxes. Because the mind has been categorized as something “nonphysical,” its definition alone places the self outside of physical cause-and-effect, and beyond the scope of science. However, as with many philosophical quandaries that involve the proposal of a thesis and the emergence of a counter-thesis (or antithesis, in the words of Hegel), a synthesis often emerges, reconciling seemingly disparate views into a more coherent and sensible perspective.”

a man in a suit and tie posing for a picture.
Bobby Azarian

“Not only does Mother Nature not care about your happiness, she knows that we need lots of negative emotions to keep us alive.” Harvard happiness professor on why suffering IS…
“We wouldn’t be able to talk about minerals if it weren’t for the minerals themselves.” Mineralogist Bob Hazen explains how Earth’s rocks can teach us about our planet’s technicolor history.
Traditional definitions of wellbeing focus on the absence of mental illness or disease. But true wellbeing goes beyond that, says this neuroscientist:
The mind-blowing theory that everything is evolving—from minerals to music—explained in 3 minutes by a Carnegie scientist:
Finding meaning isn’t just personally fulfilling — it’s critical to our brain’s development, explains USC neuroscientist.
There’s never been more ways to connect with the people in our lives — so why are we lonelier than ever?
“Happiness is NOT about feelings.” Harvard happiness expert Arthur Brooks debunks the biggest myths about humanity’s most sought-after state, and explains how to actually get it.
“We could be wrong. But if we are right, it’s profoundly important.” Leading mineralogist Dr. Robert Hazen on the missing law of nature that could explain why life emerges.

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