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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

“Often we think about well-being as the absence of disease…

the absence of mental illness, the absence of strife. But neuroscience and developmental social science help us understand that the origins of well-being are really about balance. It’s about an ability and a flexibility to manage oneself. Well-being is both a capacity and a state.”

A woman with long dark hair and glasses wearing a red top with lace detailing, smiles at the camera against a plain background.
Mary Helen Immordino-Yang

Featured Article

“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

“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.
“I owned and lived in Einstein’s house.” How Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczeck was inspired by Einstein in science and in life:

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