The Meaning of Life explores how we find meaning in the modern world, hosted by anthropologist Dr Monty Badami and philosopher Dr Tim Dean.
How We Became Human special part 1
Tim wrote a book! And Monty read it! Not surprisingly, he loved it but also took Umbrage(TM) at some of the ideas expressed in it.
In this first episode of a four-part bonus series, Tim and Monty unpack the themes of the book, starting with the core theme that our evolved moral minds are out of step with the modern world.
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. Note: some strong language.
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.
It's no secret that both of us are old school Star Wars and Star Trek nuts (we even first bonded watching Star Trek: The Next Generation together back in the 1990s). But we think that science fiction is more than just action and fluff (although there's plenty of that too). In this episode we talk about how science fiction draws on the same mythological themes that appear across cultures throughout history, how it sparks the imagination and encourages us to imagine a better world.
Intelligent without the pretension
So great to get deep into the issues that matter in such a breezy whip-smart way. Love this podcast!