Harper’s Magazine seeks to publish a series of long, ambitious essays that will resist the current media trend toward “quick takes” and reactive commentary in favor of profound meditation on the enduring questions of human meaning.
Possible subjects for these essays might include how to sustain an interior life in the age of ubiquitous social media publicity, whether science can be a means of answering ultimate questions of human meaning, what are the essential features of human nature without which we would fundamentally stop being who we are, and whether virtual connections of the sort made online can ultimately be satisfying substitutes for physical human encounters.
Written by the world’s finest writers and thinkers, whom we would give the space and time to conduct their most ambitious work, these essays will be at once intellectually challenging and emotionally engaging. They will be of a quality to capture even the most attention-addled contemporary readers and encourage them to step back from the relentless churn of daily media for extended periods of deep contemplation.
Furthermore, we will publish the essays with enough frequency that such periods of contemplation come to seem for our readership not an occasional luxury but an essential feature of a meaningful life. In this sense, we hope the “Templeton Essays” can play a serious part in a more profound shift in our culture and its relationship to the media around it.