Ideas

 
 

Ideas

Ideas is CBC Radio's program of contemporary thought.

Updated: Daily
Download episodes from this podcast for: 3 months
Visit Show Site: http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/

All podcast episodes

Use the links below to download a file.

Wilde Women in a Man's World

Irish-born Oscar Wilde was Britain's most famous playwright in the late 19th century. He was also famous, or infamous, for being gay. But the people who arguably had the most important influence on him and his work were women. From the Stratford Festival, a discussion featuring writer and director Peter Hinton, literary scholar Carol Tattersall and theatre director Lezlie Wade.

Download Wilde Women in a Man's World
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A book lover, his library and the Scottish Enlightenment (Encore February 22, 2018)

Two hundred and fifty years ago, a relatively remote and economically-challenged country called Scotland became the surprising host to one of the most exciting intellectual developments in the world. Magically, the best and the brightest minds were being promoted and distributed by enterprising and adventurous publishers, in places like Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. Not surprisingly, a select group of printers with rare genius rose to meet an obvious need. Beautiful books were born! Part 2 of a 3-part series.

Download A book lover, his library and the Scottish Enlightenment (Encore February 22, 2018)
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The Life Course - trauma, migration and 'renoviction' in Vancouver

PhD student Mei Lan Fang's parents survived the Cultural Revolution and immigrated to Canada with dreams of settling in a country where human rights are protected and social mobility is possible. After years of financial struggle in Vancouver, the family verged on homelessness. Mei uses her family's own experience of migration from China to help her understand the life struggles of Vancouver's marginalized seniors in a virtually impossible housing market. Her approach is known as the "life course perspective", reflecting a shift in how many social scientists view their work, and their roles.

Download The Life Course - trauma, migration and 'renoviction' in Vancouver
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Neil Turok on the invention of innovation

"Innovation is actually built into our DNA. It's who we are. It's what makes us different". This is the provocative thesis of Neil Turok, Director of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Our true evolution he argues, is the result of trial and error (with more error!) played out over centuries. In this public talk and subsequent interview with Paul Kennedy, Turok expands on what he means by innovation, and how embracing the concept can open doors for the betterment of humankind.

Download Neil Turok on the invention of innovation
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The Scottish Enlightenment: The invention of modern mind and culture (Encore Jan 25, 2018)

Approximately 250 years ago, the windswept and unwelcoming capital of a relatively insignificant northern nation became a beacon of intelligence for the entire world. Paul Kennedy walks up and down 'The Royal Mile', and through the planned streets and elegant squares of Edinburgh's 'New Town', in search of places once occupied or visited by the likes of Adam Smith, David Hume, James Boswell and Robert Burns.

Download The Scottish Enlightenment: The invention of modern mind and culture (Encore Jan 25, 2018)
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The Enright Files on Race and Racism

Decades after the civil rights era, the post-colonial movement, and the beginning of the multiculturalism project, racism that had lain in the shadows of Western democracies is out in the open and thriving. On this month's edition of The Enright Files, conversations about the history and persistence of racism and an ideology of whiteness that lies behind it.

Download The Enright Files on Race and Racism
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Is Neoliberalism destroying the world?

Deregulation. Infinite growth. Self-correcting markets. All are hallmarks of neoliberal thinking. But they're more than just assumptions about the economy. They undergird much of the most influential thinking about governance right now, and dominate political and economic thinking everywhere. The results, according to some, have been disastrous. Investigative journalist Bruce Livesey asks four experts about the rise and rule of neoliberal thought, and what it may mean for societies around the world.

Download Is Neoliberalism destroying the world?
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Shaking the snow globe: Michael Pollan on the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs

In his book "How to Change Your Mind", Michael Pollan explores how psychedelic drugs have been used to enhance spiritual experiences and treat many conditions from depression to anxiety. He speaks to IDEAS producer, Mary O'Connell.

Download Shaking the snow globe: Michael Pollan on the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs
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The Bison and the "B"

It was a simple file folder, enigmatically labelled "B". But it was the key to learning how a small secret society of key scientists in the federal government in the 1920s, thwarted an ill-conceived plan to move Plains Bison into Wood Buffalo National Park because it would have mixed incompatible species. But the "Brotherhood" did much more than that. Author and naturalist Briony Penn tells the story of the B, and how over the decades they quietly shaped the environmental movement and how we think about nature.

Download The Bison and the "B"
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Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death (Encore Oct 4, 2016)

Paul Kennedy has his understanding of reality turned-upside-down by Dr. Robert Lanza in this paradigm-shifting hour. Dr. Lanza provides a compelling argument for consciousness as the basis for the universe, rather than consciousness simply being its by-product.

Download Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death (Encore Oct 4, 2016)
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Planet You: The mysterious world of the microbiome

There are trillions of them on -- and in -- our bodies. Microbes have existed on earth for more than three and a half billion years. Makes you wonder who's playing host to whom, and whether we humans are merely vessels for these tiny survivors. They influence everything from intestinal disorders to mental health conditions -- and we're only just beginning to understand their power over us. Contributor Stephen Humphrey journeys into the mysterious world of the microbiome.

Download Planet You: The mysterious world of the microbiome
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Taming the Beast: Are violent urges part of men's nature? (Encore May 2, 2018)

How does a just society reconcile the desire for peace, with the desire, most often by men, for violence? How much does nature stir boys, men, to fight? And to what extent can they control that stirring? Author Daemon Fairless takes IDEAS producer Mary Lynk on a road trip to try and unlock why some men are drawn to violence. They meet up with a science teacher, a MMA fighter, and a serial killer, who are profiled in his new book: Mad Blood Stirring: The Inner Lives of Violent Men.

Download Taming the Beast: Are violent urges part of men's nature? (Encore May 2, 2018)
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Panpsychism and the Nature of Consciousness

What is consciousness? Why does it even exist? It has long been treated as the byproduct of biological complexity. The more complicated the brain, the more self-aware. Other thinkers have seen consciousness as totally distinct from the body -- dualism. But maybe consciousness, like space and time, mass and energy, is just a basic characteristic of the universe. Maybe it's a fundamental property of matter. Welcome to the concept of "panpsychism". IDEAS producer Naheed Mustafa in conversation with philosopher Philip Goff.

Download Panpsychism and the Nature of Consciousness
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The Restaurant: A Table Divided (Encore May 21,2018)

There's a lot more happening at a restaurant than simply ordering from a menu and getting your food. Restaurants are sites of self-expression - spaces in which status and distinction are performed and lines between class, race, and gender are reflected and reinforced. Contributing producers Michelle Macklem and Zoe Tennant explore how we've gone from dining in to dining out, and what dining out reveals about our identities.

Download The Restaurant: A Table Divided (Encore May 21,2018)
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What can Shakespeare teach us about Donald Trump?

Political institutions in disarray, brutal behaviour on every side, narcissistic leaders lying to the public - sound familiar? It certainly was to Shakespeare. His plays reveal the toxic psychology that fuels a despot, as well as those who enable them.

Download What can Shakespeare teach us about Donald Trump?
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Creative Minds: Can art speak truth?

Truth and lies. Ideology and imagination. Politics and polarization. Novelist Salman Rushdie, performance artist Andrea Fraser, filmmaker Charles Officer, and musician Iskwé wrestle with making sense of our chaotic world through their work. This AGO Creative Minds event was recorded earlier this year at Toronto's Massey Hall, and was moderated by CBC's Anna Maria Tremonti.

Download Creative Minds: Can art speak truth?
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Michael Crummey on writing and the relationship between fact and fiction

What does a novelist owe to the past? How does a writer walk the tightrope between telling a story and accurately reflecting history and geography? Acclaimed novelist Michael Crummey reflects on these questions in the annual Henry Kreisel Lecture in Edmonton, presented by the Canadian Literature Centre at the University of Alberta.

Download Michael Crummey on writing and the relationship between fact and fiction
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Internal Hard Drive: What's lost when we forget to remember

We rely on our handy smartphones to remember everything from phone numbers to our friend's birthdays. Those sleek devices serve as a type of 'external hard drive' for our memory. Contributor Jess Shane explores what happens when the art of memorization is lost.

Download Internal Hard Drive: What's lost when we forget to remember
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Yuval Harari: Hacking Humanity

Yuval Harari is a global intellectual. And the internationally bestselling author is worried: our brains are getting hacked. Artificial intelligence, biotechnology and ever-sophisticated algorithms are tapping into our values, habits, tastes, desires and the very thought patterns that define us - all to control how we shop, what we read, and whom we vote for. The notion of free will is defunct. And the grand project of liberalism, with its focus on the individual, is worn out. But in this exclusive interview with Paul Kennedy, he explains why he remains cautiously optimistic about humanity's future.

Download Yuval Harari: Hacking Humanity
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The Enright Files on the state of democracy in 2018

These are anxious times for liberal democracy's true believers. They've seen the rise of strongman autocrats and xenophobic populists across a full spectrum of democratic countries, not to mention the disruptive force of Donald Trump. Cyber attacks, big data, social media, and voter indifference, anger and disillusionment all seem to leave the future of liberal democracy looking rather uncertain. On this month's edition of The Enright Files we explore the state of democracy in 2018.

Download The Enright Files on the state of democracy in 2018
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The Politics of the Professoriat: Political diversity on campus (Encore September 8, 2017)

Universities are supposed to be dedicated to the exchange of ideas. But according to social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, campuses now skew so far to the left that they've become "political monocultures".

Download The Politics of the Professoriat: Political diversity on campus (Encore September 8, 2017)
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The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures: In Search of a Better World, Q&A (Encore April 2, 2018)

How can we fix our broken world? And what does it actually mean to love your neighbour? Those are some of the questions raised by Payam Akhavan in the 2017 CBC Massey Lectures - on air, and on tour. We also invited you, our listeners, to send us your questions. In this episode, we hear excerpts from the audience discussions after the five lectures, along with Payam Akhavan in conversation with Paul Kennedy answering questions sent in by our listeners.

Download The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures: In Search of a Better World, Q&A (Encore April 2, 2018)
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The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures: In Search of a Better World, Lecture 5 (Encore November 10, 2017)

In his final lecture, Payam Akhavan looks through the eyes of a suicide bomber to chart the rise of extremism and the decline of 'basic human dignity'. He concludes the series explaining how we can end hate and see how interconnected we all are.

Download The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures: In Search of a Better World, Lecture 5 (Encore November 10, 2017)
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It's Alive! - Frankenstein at 200 (Encore April 16, 2018)

In 1818, the world was introduced to an entirely new kind of monster. Mary Shelley published Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus and for two centuries her creation has stalked the stage, then the screen; inspired art, and filled the pages of countless sequels and comic books. Frankenstein's creature has become the most famous monster of the modern era.

Download It's Alive! - Frankenstein at 200 (Encore April 16, 2018)
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Can we save Rosemary's Baby? (Encore March 15, 2018)

It's a horror classic from the 1960s that still unnerves us. It's influenced generations of filmmakers. It's part of the exclusive Criterion Collection of world cinema. And it turns 50 this year. But director Roman Polanski is a convicted rapist. Film experts and cultural historians explore good and evil in Rosemary's Baby, discover eerie parallels between 1968 and 2018, and debate the movie's surprising treatment of women, all to answer the question: can we save Rosemary's Baby?

Download Can we save Rosemary's Baby? (Encore March 15, 2018)
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Canada's original promise: Still waiting to be realized (Encore June 30, 2017)

As Canada turned 150, the final talk brought the series back home, with Indigenous education advocate Roberta Jamieson. Roberta was the first woman chief of Six Nations of the Grand River, the first Indigenous woman to earn a law degree in Canada, and she holds an astounding twenty-five honorary degrees. She believes Canada is at a make-or-break moment where it has a chance to recast its historically troubled relationship with First Nations for the next 150 years. She sees the hope for that renewal in the very moment of contact between settler Europeans and her ancestors: "Our people consciously decided to share. And we had a choice. We were the majority then. And we made a conscious decision to share. And to help people survive. So I think we still have that choice as Canadians. And I'm very optimistic and very hopeful -- and I'm going to work very hard to see that we live up to that promise."

Download Canada's original promise: Still waiting to be realized (Encore June 30, 2017)
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Generation Mars, Part 2 (Encore October 27, 2016)

The day might well be approaching when humans set foot on Mars. Stephen Humphrey and a crew of authors, astronauts and Mars scholars confront the hazards and challenges of getting humans to Mars, and then of surviving - and living - on the Red Planet.

Download Generation Mars, Part 2 (Encore October 27, 2016)
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The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures: In Search of a Better World, Lecture 4 (Encore November 9, 2017)

Payam Akhavan's fourth Massey Lecture focuses on how the world can move forward after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the implosion of Afghanistan and the deadly 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Download The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures: In Search of a Better World, Lecture 4 (Encore November 9, 2017)
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The Self-Taught Philosopher: How a 900-year-old Arabic Tale Inspired the Enlightenment (Encore May 16 2017)

Naheed Mustafa tells the story of philosopher-physician Ibn Tufayl who wrote the first Arabic novel "Hayy ibn Yaqzan". It may be the most important story you've never heard.

Download The Self-Taught Philosopher: How a 900-year-old Arabic Tale Inspired the Enlightenment (Encore May 16 2017)
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World on fire: What wildfires teach us about living in the forest and a challenging climate (Encore May 16, 2016)

They're bigger, faster and hotter than before, torching more of our world: wildfires, like those now ravaging British Columbia, the one that ripped through Fort McMurray in 2016, or through Slave Lake, Alberta in 2011, leveling a third of that community. What's fuelling this increase in fire power? Adrienne Lamb explores the factors altering how we have to live with wildfire. New technology and new ways to think about fire and its behaviour could save lives.

Download World on fire: What wildfires teach us about living in the forest and a challenging climate (Encore May 16, 2016)
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A Peasant vs The Inquisition: Cheese, Worms and the Birth of Micro-history (Encore March 21 2017)

Celebrated historian Carlo Ginzburg uncovers the past by telling the stories of the marginalized, the forgotten, and the suppressed.

Download A Peasant vs The Inquisition: Cheese, Worms and the Birth of Micro-history (Encore March 21 2017)
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Fighting at the table: Conflict as successful integration (Encore June 29, 2017)

Sociologist Aladin El-Mafalaani sees anti-immigrant cries to build walls, and hate-fuelled politics counter-intuitively: a sign that integration is working. Conflict, he argues, is the necessary consequence of new arrivals at a metaphoric dinner table

Download Fighting at the table: Conflict as successful integration (Encore June 29, 2017)
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Generation Mars, Part 1 (Encore October 20, 2016)

The day might well be approaching when humans set foot on Mars. Stephen Humphrey and a crew of authors, astronauts and Mars scholars confront the hazards and challenges of getting humans to Mars, and then of surviving - and living - on the Red Planet.

Download Generation Mars, Part 1 (Encore October 20, 2016)
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:58]


The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures: In Search of a Better World, Lecture 3 (Encore Nov 8, 2017)

In his third Massey Lecture, Payam Akhavan revisits the genocide in Rwanda, talks about the work he did there, and what can be done to prevent such abuses from happening again.

Download The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures: In Search of a Better World, Lecture 3 (Encore Nov 8, 2017)
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Precarious Work: David Weil on the disappearing company job (Encore December 5, 2017)

For most of the 20th century, everyone, from the janitor on up to the CEO, was employed by the company. But now large corporations are outsourcing work to small companies. A lecture and interview with scholar and former Obama appointee David Weil.

Download Precarious Work: David Weil on the disappearing company job (Encore December 5, 2017)
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Into the Gray Zone with neuroscientist Adrian Owen (Encore March 12, 2018)

We've usually thought that people in comas or 'vegetative' states are completely cut off from the world. But groundbreaking work shows that as much as 20 per cent of patients whose brains were considered non-responsive, turn out to be vibrantly alive, existing in a sort of twilight zone. Neuroscientist Adrian Owen guides Paul Kennedy into that "gray" zone, in conversation and in a public talk.

Download Into the Gray Zone with neuroscientist Adrian Owen (Encore March 12, 2018)
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The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures: In Search of a Better World, Lecture 2 (Encore Nov 7, 2017)

In his second Massey Lecture, Payam Akhavan details just how hard it is to punish war criminals, recalling his time with the UN as a prosecutor at The Hague and on the streets of Sarajevo, among other conflict zones.

Download The 2017 CBC Massey Lectures: In Search of a Better World, Lecture 2 (Encore Nov 7, 2017)
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Less work and more leisure: Utopian visions and the future of work (Sept 27, 2018)

Technological change has always provoked both utopian and dystopian visions of the future. Part 3 of Jill Eisen's series on the future of work looks at the promise of technology - how it can lead to a world that's environmentally sustainable and one in which we have the time and the financial security to do what really matters to us.

Download Less work and more leisure: Utopian visions and the future of work (Sept 27, 2018)
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2017 CBC Massey Lectures: In Search of a Better World, Lecture 1 (Encore Nov 6, 2017)

In the first of his CBC Massey Lectures, human rights lawyer and scholar Payam Akhavan describes how fleeing Iran and watching his homeland from afar helped him discover human rights. This lecture is called "The Knowledge of Suffering".

Download 2017 CBC Massey Lectures: In Search of a Better World, Lecture 1 (Encore Nov 6, 2017)
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Platform capitalism, digital technology and the future of work (Encore Sept. 20/17)

Digital platforms have been well received by customers, but for workers, they often have a dark side. And they present a major challenge for governments who are grappling with how to regulate them. Part 2 of a 3-part series.

Download Platform capitalism, digital technology and the future of work (Encore Sept. 20/17)
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Decoding Death: The science and significance of near death experiences (Encore Dec 7/16)

People have reported "near death experiences", or NDE's, over centuries and across cultures. The nature of them has historically been the territory of religion and philosophy. But now science has staked its claim in the discussion. And the questions are profound: where is consciousness produced, in the brain, or somewhere else? Can consciousness continue to exist even after the heart and brain have stopped working? Contributor Ashley Walters explores the science and the meaning of near death experiences.

Download Decoding Death: The science and significance of near death experiences (Encore Dec 7/16)
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How filmmakers and fishers saved Fogo Island (Encore December 14, 2017)

A little over fifty years ago, the friendly folks on Fogo Island - most of whom were fishers - were ordered to abandon their homes and resettle in larger communities on the larger island of Newfoundland. Memorial University's Extension Department invited the National Film Board of Canada to visit Fogo, and interview people about their future. At the end of what is now called The Fogo Process, they voted to stay put, form a cooperative, and take over the fish plant. It became a model for alternative democracy around the world.

Download How filmmakers and fishers saved Fogo Island (Encore December 14, 2017)
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Artificial intelligence, robots and the future of work (Encore Sept 13, 2017)

AI and robots seem to be everywhere, handling more and more work, freeing humans up -- to do what? Contributor Jill Eisen takes a wide-angle lens to the digital revolution happening in our working lives. What will happen when robots and algorithms surpass what our brains can do? Some say digital sweatshops -- repetitive, dull, poorly paid and insecure jobs -- are our destiny. Others believe that technology could lead to more fulfilling lives.

Download Artificial intelligence, robots and the future of work (Encore Sept 13, 2017)
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Making a better world with a culture of 'citizen eaters' (Encore Dec 1, 2017)

Michael S. Carolan is the author of No One Eats Alone: Food as a Social Enterprise. He gave a public talk in Toronto in the autumn of 2017, and made the following provocative argument: we can change our relationship to food - how's it's made, distributed and even consumed - by changing our relationships with each other, and maybe open up the possibility of creating a better world.

Download Making a better world with a culture of 'citizen eaters' (Encore Dec 1, 2017)
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