The Meaning of Life explores how we find meaning in the modern world, hosted by anthropologist Dr Monty Badami and philosopher Dr Tim Dean.
Black Lives Matter
As the Black Lives Matter movement spreads across the globe in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Monty shares his perspective on systemic racism and Tim looks at the role that he and others like him can play to confront racism and make real change. This was a powerful and emotional episode for us to record, and we hope that it can help others find clarity and hope around an immensely important topic.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has shattered normality and created strange and unsettling times. But it's also an opportunity to reflect on what really matters and what we take for granted. In this special episode, Monty talks about how we use ritual and symbols to make sense of the pandemic, and Tim looks at how COVID is revealing the fundamental tension between individual and community.
It's hard to reconcile the tremendous diversity of moral views in the world with our conviction that our own moral views are the right ones. Does this mean morality is relative? If so, what is it relative to? In this episode, Monty looks at what anthropology has to say about morality, and Tim talks about his own work in philosophy on using evolution to understand moral diversity.
It often feels like play is a frivolous waste of time, that it's good for kids but inappropriate for adults. But play is how we learn to interact with others, how to create and abide by rules, how to explore our world and ourselves. Play allows any of us - whether kid or adult - to use our imagination, to innovate and create. Even games like Fortnite can be more than just fun. In this episode we talk about the various dimensions of play, from its evolutionary origins to how it affects your brain.
How can science fiction, space opera and even fantasy help us explore meaning?
One of the certainties of life is that it will end. Yet we don't often talk about death, what it means, why many of us fear it, and how it can bring meaning to our lives. In this episode, Monty talks about the importance of funeral and mortuary rituals from cultures throughout history, Tim shares Epicurus' insights on how to stop fearing death, and both chuckle at the futurists who seek to escape it.
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Intelligent without the pretension
So great to get deep into the issues that matter in such a breezy whip-smart way. Love this podcast!