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Values and ethical living

A woman in an orange sweater is practising her golf swing in a narrow, cobblestone alleyway lined with bicycles, adjacent to a building with large windows.

Play

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The achievement society is burning us out, we need more play

This is about more than a self-help switch – it will take structural changes to reject capitalism’s productivity obsession

by Alec Stubbs

A young girl, seen from the back, in a museum in China stands before a huge, oval multicoloured image of ‘fossil’ microwave radiation

Virtues and vices

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The medieval notion that shows why even experts should be humble

Nicholas of Cusa and others saw the importance of ‘learned ignorance’ or recognising there is always something more to learn

by Christopher M Bellitto

Painting depicting pioneers with covered wagons and oxen travelling through a valley, with mountains, a river, and people on horseback in the background.

Identity

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I rebuilt my self-esteem by changing the story of who I am

I once clung to a dubious family legend to help me cope with a difficult childhood. I’ve since found a better story to tell

by Patricia Olsen

A man in a white outfit stands in front of a building with the sign “UFO land.” He is wearing a large pendant and a wristwatch, looking upwards.

Spirituality and religion

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UFO belief is a modern outlet for ancient spiritual yearnings

Even when it’s not explicitly religious, belief in alien visitors resembles our oldest ways of making sense of the world

by Francesco Dimitri

A person in a red costume with wings stands in front of a row of portable toilets on grass.

Emotion regulation

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The psychology of impatience could make waiting more tolerable

New studies on the experience of impatience suggest there’s more to it than simply how long you’ve been left hanging

by Matt Huston

Close-up of a tattooed hand with the numbers “1488” across the fingers and other tattoos on the back of the hand and wrist, wearing blue jeans.

Communication and language

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Beyond dogwhistles – racists have a new rhetorical trick

How are so many politicians today able to get away with overtly racist utterances? By using rhetorical ‘figleaves’

by Jennifer Saul

An angry mob of people jeer at a woman carrying a young baby up a cobbled street. Her head is shaved

Shame and guilt

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Personal and political shaming is running hot, yet it doesn’t work

When passions run high so does the urge to shame wrongdoers. But if the goal is to change, shamers should think twice

by David Keen

Students in a library, studying at their own private desk in cubicles or at a communal table

Virtues and vices

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Why so many plagiarists are in denial about what they did wrong

So often people claim ‘I didn’t mean to’, yet they fail to realise that plagiarism is more like speeding than theft

by Philip Reed