Latest

Machines of Chance: How casino culture plays with us

We all know that "the house always wins," and yet continue to gamble against the odds. This documentary asks experts and observers to reflect on the casino as reality and metaphor. Skill versus luck, attention and distraction, fortune paired with loss: the casino reflects us, individually and culturally, back to ourselves.

What Shakespeare can teach us about conspiracy theories today

The internet is awash in conspiracy theories. In this lecture SFU English professor Paul Budra examines conspiracy theories as an art form, using the long-running conspiracy theories over Shakespeare as a test case.

Solo-sailor at sea for 178 days has isolation advice for us all during COVID-19 crisis

Dee Caffari is one of the great sailors of our time. She is the first woman to sail solo around the world in both directions: with the wind, and against the wind. She tells IDEAS about some of the challenges she faced isolated at sea and offers some tips on how to cope with solitude.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Sympathy for the devil: Milton's Satan as political rebel

In the 17th century, John Milton wrote his epic poem Paradise Lost. He created the most sympathetic Satan in literary history — a complex character with legitimate grievances against a repressive God. In part one of a two-part series, IDEAS explores how Satan has resonated with people at moments of rebellion throughout history — from the Arab Spring to Communist Yugoslavia.
CBC MASSEY LECTURES

The 2019 CBC Massey Lectures| Power Shift: The Longest Revolution

The celebrated journalist and author Sally Armstrong delivers this year's CBC Massey Lectures. "Power Shift: The Longest Revolution” explores the story of women’s place in the world today, how we got here, and what we can expect from the future. She argues gender inequality comes at too high a cost for all of us.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Should we aim for mediocrity?

Sick of aiming for excellence and feeling miserable when you fall short? You’re not alone. Explore the upsides of imperfection, lowered expectations, and outright failure with philosopher Daniel Milo, writer Avram Alpert, School of Life teacher Sarah Stein Lubrano, and Zahra Dhanani, who has adopted the “good enough” life.

The Pulpit, Power & Politics: Evangelicalism's thumbprint on America

The grip conservative evangelicalism has on American social and political life is hard to overestimate. Committed Christian and author Jemar Tisby was joined by historians of religion John Fea and Molly Worthen to help answer the question: what exactly is the relationship between conservative evangelicalism and America today?

How a revival of Maoism is impacting China — and the world

If you thought Maoism was dead, think again. It’s enjoying a revival under President Xi Jinping. With tensions between China and the West on the rise, award- winning author Julia Lovell argues the need to understand the political legacy of Mao is crucial.

Does the deep state exist? Journalist Bruce Livesey investigates

The term 'deep state' has been used by both the political left and the right. In broad strokes, it means official leaders of a country aren't the real leaders — that hidden away in bureaucracies or other corridors of power are the real lever-pullers. Investigative journalist, Bruce Livesey examines the origins of the conflicted term, and where it's in operation today.

Psychologists confront impossible finding, triggering a revolution in the field

In 2011, American psychologist Daryl Bem proved the impossible. He showed that precognition — the ability to sense the future — is real. His study was explosive, and shook the very foundations of psychology. Contributor Alexander B. Kim in Vancouver explores the ‘replication crisis’ and what it means for the field and beyond.

Imagining the World: Darwin and the idea of evolution

Darwin's ideas about evolution shifted the way we think about the place of humans in the world: we're not so special, we just have a bigger brain and opposable thumbs. What else can we learn from Darwin in this late stage of civilisation? A discussion from the 2019 Stratford Festival with culture critic Adam Gopnik, evolutionary biologist Maydianne Andrade and science journalist Ivan Semeniuk.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

The saxophone and the spirit: The sax's forgotten spiritual roots

The shiny, handsome and undeniably cool saxophone has been a staple of jazz music and popular culture for nearly a century. But some music historians say that what’s often been overlooked are its deep roots in spiritual beliefs and religious ritual.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Sympathy for the devil: Milton's Satan as political rebel

In the 17th century, John Milton wrote his epic poem Paradise Lost. He created the most sympathetic Satan in literary history — a complex character with legitimate grievances against a repressive God. In part one of a two-part series, IDEAS explores how Satan has resonated with people at moments of rebellion throughout history — from the Arab Spring to Communist Yugoslavia.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Should we aim for mediocrity?

Sick of aiming for excellence and feeling miserable when you fall short? You’re not alone. Explore the upsides of imperfection, lowered expectations, and outright failure with philosopher Daniel Milo, writer Avram Alpert, School of Life teacher Sarah Stein Lubrano, and Zahra Dhanani, who has adopted the “good enough” life.

Fighting for democracy from the bottom up | Astra Taylor, Pt 2

Filmmaker, writer and activist Astra Taylor sets out to answer a question we rarely ask: what is democracy? Her conclusion: democracy doesn't exist — at least, not quite. And yet, she says, it's still worth fighting for. Taylor takes us on a walking tour in New York searching for the meaning of democracy. Part 2 of a two-part series.

Democracy may not truly exist, but it's still worth fighting for: Astra Taylor

Canadian-American filmmaker and writer Astra Taylor admits that for most of her life the term "democracy" held little appeal. But when she took on the what-is-democracy question, her inquiry turned into a belief that while it may not fully exist, democracy is still worth fighting for.

A 19th century travelogue chronicles a world on the cusp of modernity

In the 18th and 19th centuries, a series of Persian travellers from Iran and India visited cities all over the world. They wrote popular travelogues describing the cultures and ideas they encountered and asked the questions fundamental to all of us: Who am I? What is our relationship to each other, and to the world?
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Long live leisure! It's time to make space for what we value in life

As soon as the inbox is cleared and the dishes are put away and the report is submitted and laundry is done, only then can we think about how to pursue the things we value. So how do we reconfigure our relationship to the time we have and open it up so we can pursue the good life?
SOBEY ART AWARD

The New Masters: conversations with the 2019 Sobey Art Award finalists

The 2019 Sobey Art Award finalists Kablusiak, Stephanie Comilang, Anne Low, D'Arcy Wilson and Nicolas Grenier in conversation with IDEAS producer Mary Lynk.

What psychiatrists still don't know about mental illness

How can it be that psychiatry still doesn’t know what causes major mental problems such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia? Historian Anne Harrington and writer Marya Hornbacher explore psychiatry’s messy medical past and surprisingly uncertain present.

The Enright Files: Conversations about opera and the people who make it

It’s hard to think of a musical genre with a more fearsome reputation for being rarefied, forbidding and just plain snooty than opera. But before the 20th century, opera was popular entertainment — music for the masses. It’s just as full of quirks, oddities, lore, colourful personalities, visionaries and otherworldly talents as any other genre. This month on The Enright Files: Conversations with opera insiders about how opera works.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

'I love you': the most treasured (and misunderstood) expression of all time

I love you: those three magic words are the most powerful and misunderstood words in the English language, according to writer and contributor Marianne Apostilides. She draws from Shakespeare, Freud, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton and other greats to parse how "I love you" can be enriching, manipulative and even empty.

A symbol of failure: The resurgence of border walls

Canadian author and journalist Marcello Di Cintio is a wall traveller and says the 21st century has been a boom time for walls. In 2012, he wrote a book about our walled world and has made it his business to track them since. The Twenty-Walled Century is the fifth and final part in our series: Walking the Border: Walls That Divide Us.

How the Hungarian border fence remains a political symbol

Beginning in 2015 a great wave of migrants flooded Europe. Hungary built a fence to keep everyone out. In part four of our series, Walking the Border: Walls That Divide Us, Nahlah Ayed visits the Hungarian border that divides the country from Serbia and Croatia.

Accepting refugees isn't a gift — it's a human right: Michael Ignatieff

In a time of growing authoritarianism and a decline in democratic institutions, it is a greater challenge to accept that despite the language of “us and them,” we have obligations to strangers both inside and outside our borders. Michael Ignatieff talks to Nahlah Ayed about citizenship, moral values, and what we still owe each other.