Why don't we live together? Alternative housing in a hot real estate market

Many people are priced out of Canada's urban housing markets. Others are disenchanted with the four walls of the single family home. From a San Francisco commune network, to co-living communities in Berlin, advocates say there are benefits to sharing domestic space.

'Fear ageism, not aging': How an ageist society is failing its elders

IDEAS producer Mary Lynk explores what is the purpose of a long life? Traditional cultures often place older people at the top of social hierarchy, but in modern Western societies there's been a profound loss of meaning and vital social roles for older adults. What happened? And what role can we reimagine for older people now?

How the Black Lives Matter movement redefines 'common good'

The Haitian Revolution of 1791 gave birth to ideas about Black liberation and the common good that went on to inform freedom struggles throughout the Black Atlantic. IDEAS traces that lineage and how it connects to today's Black Lives Matter movement.

How the English Civil War's fight for equity and common good changed the world

Perhaps no question is more important than this one: what is the common good? What can we agree on that benefits us all? IDEAS looks to the English Civil Wars from the 17th century when great questions of the common good were rediscovered, argued, and fought over changing England — and the world — forever.

Why graphic novels could be an antidote to 'doom scrolling'

Graphic novels and comic books have a long history of dealing with tough subject matter — from war to genocide. With traumatic imagery appearing on news feeds every day, this unique medium can provide a way of developing a better understanding of violence, experts say.

IDEAS schedule for August

Highlights: how a youth-obsessed society is failing its elders; rewriting the early 20th century Declaration of the Independence of the Mind for our own post-truth moment; Hollywood's role in shaping a positive image of America and its wars; and a rebroadcast of Rob Deibert's 2020 CBC Massey Lectures, Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society.

Political scientist 'doom-meister' shares prescription for a better world

Climate activist Greta Thunberg once declared that she doesn’t want hope, unless it translates into action. Political scientist Thomas Homer-Dixon shares his ideas on how hope can galvanize concrete change.

Marketing Mysticism: How shortcuts to enlightenment shortchange spiritual traditions

Living in modern society is hard and so people often turn to the "mystical marketplace" where Westerners consume Eastern traditions to find some kind of healing balm for the ailments of modernity.

Buddhism and science: a doomed romance?

With the rise of mindfulness and the growth of brain research, Buddhism and science have become fast friends. Philosopher Evan Thompson is skeptical about the contemporary characterization of Buddhism. His book, Why I Am Not a Buddhist, offers both a critique of Buddhist exceptionalism and a way forward for our globalized and diverse culture.

Legal scholar fights to protect domestic workers from exploitative conditions

Professor Adelle Blackett is the chief legal architect behind the International Labour Organization's first comprehensive standards offering protections and rights to more than 60 million domestic workers. She addresses why we urgently need to bring equality to the household workplace.

Discovering the secret language of cities reveals delight, says 99% Invisible host Roman Mars

For the last decade, Roman Mars has been exploring the hidden stories behind architecture and design in his podcast 99% Invisible. He speaks with Nahlah Ayed about how learning to read the secret language of cities reveals reasons for delight all around us, why he sees cities as ‘evolving organisms,’ and how war and disease shape the built environment.

Flow: Making the impossible... possible

Flow. Athletes know it: the state of mind and body when every move made is the right one. Flow can also occur in writing, or cooking, or parenting — and it can also be cultivated. But flow presents a paradox, as a state in which you lose yourself, yet become yourself. Writer and triathlete, Suzanne Zelazo, delves into the mystery at the heart of flow.

Mark Carney says post-pandemic 'bump' not enough for smooth recovery

In his BBC Reith Lectures, Mark Carney argues that the world's ability to deal with crises is hampered by a fundamental shift in our relationship to finance and economics. The economist says the question of what is valuable has been twisted by our sense of what is profitable.

Is cruelty worse than hypocrisy? The importance of ranking our vices in liberal democracies

Judith Shklar, who died in 1992, is credited with defining the belief at the heart of modern western liberal thought, namely that “cruelty is the worst thing that we do." Today, her ‘skeptical’ views are making a comeback among political philosophers.

How Jesus' foreskin became one of Christianity's most-coveted relics — and then disappeared

It's a relic deemed so taboo, the Vatican threatened excommunication to anyone who spoke of it. But for nearly 1,000 years before that, the 'holy foreskin' of Jesus Christ was widely considered to be the holiest of relics. IDEAS examines the story of an unlikely object of devotion.

10 years after Arab Spring protests, Egyptians grapple with the fallout of a failed revolution

It's been a decade since Egyptians dared to disrupt the status quo of living in a police state. But 10 years after the protests in Tahrir Square, many Egyptians view them as naive or misguided, writes Nahlah Ayed.

Radio series explores revered relationship between Indigenous peoples and the buffalo

In the mid-1870s, buffalo roamed across North America in the millions. Decades later, there were only 300 left. Using both science and storytelling, this three-part IDEAS series that originally aired in 1992, tells the story of the buffalo and its relationship to the Indigenous people who revere it.

From Buffalo Bill to John Wayne, how western movie heroes feed American political ideology

Since the early 1900s cowboy fiction and films have played a major role in shaping popular notions of the American West. In this second of our two-part series The Cowboy's Lament, IDEAS contributor Tom Jokinen examines how the ethos of the American West is captured in film, both advancing — and complicating — the myth of the Old West.

How the idealized cowboy helped build an imagined America

The potent Images of the cowboy and the six shooter have shaped the myth of the American West: pioneer freedom and frontier towns. It's the West of the imagination. In this first episode of a two-part series, IDEAS explores the myth of the West, and how the values of individual freedom and boundless conquest continue to feed America's political ideology through to today.

Michelangelo's poetry reveals his 'divided soul'

Michelangelo was dubbed the ‘divine Michelangelo’ in his day for his stunning works of art. But his poetry reveals a deeply troubled and dissatisfied soul — he never felt his work was good enough, and was plagued by feelings of guilt for his earthly desires.

Why George Monbiot is fighting to build a 'politics of belonging' to better our world

Left-wing and right-wing governments around the world have fallen into the same trap, a failure of leadership to inspire a cohesive vision of society that ordinary citizens can share. What is to be done? Author George Monbiot suggests a new way of conceptualizing the common good, and forging a politics of belonging.

We are all migrants: author Sonia Shah on our ancient instinct to move and survive

“Migrant” evokes images of desperate people surging at closed borders. But they are us. Science writer Sonia Shah argues that a deep human instinct has been politicized as disruptive and troubling. In fact, migration is our ancient survival response to crisis.

Are we really 'all in this together'? Challenging the limits of community

When we challenge humanity to "work together as a species," are we making an unreasonable demand? Nahlah Ayed and Canadian poet M. NourbeSe Philip discuss the meaning and limits of concepts like ‘community’ and ‘the common good.’ They respond to recorded provocations on the topic from various thinkers.

How Star Trek shows that hedonism can work for everyone

When you think of a hedonist, you might think of a wine-guzzling sex addict, or a chocolate-binging glutton. As part of our series searching for common good, IDEAS tracks the true story of hedonism from Ancient Greece to Star Trek’s 24th century.

Our 'futurecestors' deserve a voice in today's decisions, says author

In calling on us to be good ancestors, public philosopher Roman Krznaric is trying to give the discussion about the future a language, an address and a face: introducing us to all the people already working to formalize the practice of thinking long-term for the common good, benefiting both present and future generations.