If you’ve been living in an underground cavern for the past few years, you might not know that reddit.com is a glorious forest of beauty and magic.
Reddit is a sort of community square of the Internet, a place for people from all over the world to get together, respect one another, laugh, and discuss pertinent topics. To my mind, cohesive online super-communities like Reddit are an integral step toward the sort of unified and peaceful planet that Carl Sagan once envisioned.
About a year ago, I encouraged humans to plunge deeper than the core “subreddits” (niche communities) and supplied 37 mind-broadening subreddits to expand folks’ worldviews and generally make their head game all vicious and supple.
That was a good start, but I’m back with another one this year because, well, there are just so many succulent subreddits you ought to soak up and marinate upon. Without further ado, 44 of the best, most stimulating subreddits to satiate your skull-space:
A branch of TrueReddit, this sub is what it sounds like. A place for “academic, intellectual discussions that are not necessarily genre-specific.” Question all the things.
This spectacular subreddit is based on a simple concept: users submit a view that they hold and ask others to try to change their opinion. I love this subreddit because it is a place where people voluntarily request that others challenge their perspective (Is this real life? Yes, it is.). You’ll find many a level-headed and eye-opening discussion here.
Woaahhh, groovy, dude. “Psychonautics” refers to immersing oneself in various altered states of mind through meditation, sensory deprivation, or entheogenic substances for the purpose of gaining insights into existence. This colorful subreddit is a sort of headquarters for free exploration of reality and the human experience, and it’s one of the most open, accepting communities you’ll find in the Reddit cosmos.
Cast off ye mental shackles on /r/FreeThought, a place “dedicated to rational, logical and scientific examination of culture, politics, religion, science, business and more.”
Damn, I guess some people actually want to learn things. Another simple concept: you submit something that you’d like to learn, be it soap carving or moon-walking or sandsurfing, and those who have come before you will supply tips and direct you to awesome resources.
Yo fool, philosophy can be hella dense and boring, feel me? This subreddit subverts the typical tediousness of philosophical discourse by discussing philosophy in casual language using curse words, idioms, and other slang. This mixture winds up being both hilarious and illuminating.
Ask all things related to the academic study of philosophy, and you’ll find some professionals and other sharp folks here to answer.
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Despair! The absurd! Nausea! Authenticity! A place for links and discussions related to the category of philosophy which is perhaps dearest to my heart—existentialism. (Recommended: Existential Comics).
“For science!” is a common joke strewn about the world of Reddit, but what exactly is science and how is it impacting the world? This sub explores the foundations, justifications, and social impacts of scientific examination.
“Permaculture (Permanent-Culture): A practical design philosophy intended to help us live and prosper in an environment, while working with nature in a positive way, using solutions based on careful observation of natural ecosystems and common sense. This can include food and energy production, shelter, resource management, nature conservation and community living.” (See also: Valhalla).
Open Source Ecology is an incredibly cool project with the mission of “developing open source industrial machines that can be made for a fraction of commercial costs, and sharing our designs online for free.” The vision is to create “blueprints for civilization.” This sub is comprised of people who are (interested in) building the current set of machines.
WWOOF, or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is an extraordinary program that allows participants to work almost anywhere in the world for any amount of time on organic farms. For 25-30 hours of labor per week, workers are compensated with food and housing. Friends of mine have done this program, and I’m likely going to do it as well.
Home country got you down? This is a subreddit for people who want to leave their homeland for an extended period of time. A seriously nice resource if you’re interested in heading abroad. (See also: 8 Ways to Earn a Living Abroad).
Cultivate your lust for wander by perusing this worldly subreddit.
Religion & Spirituality
Non-believers, assemble. /r/TrueAtheism is a place for respectful, thoughtful discussion of all things related to theism, atheism, religion, and the like.
Are you human? Do you care about humans? Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that affirms the value of human beings and seeks to create a more humane society. Kurt Vonnegut and Isaac Asimov are notable examples of b̶a̶d̶a̶s̶s̶e̶s̶ secular humanists. Humanists generally reject theism and ideas of supernatural entities.
For Pantheists, God and existence are one in the same thing. Basically, nothing is held to be supernatural, but the harmony and beauty of the universe is deserving of a sort of spiritual reverence. God is in the pizza. Really, though, tremendous value here. Alan Watts and Albert Einstein were pantheists.
Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism, which, like Taoism, emphasizes aligning oneself with the natural flow of things and holds that our true identity is a state of oneness with the entire cosmos (you are everything, man). Worth it. (See also: The Way of Zen by Alan Watts).
Ask me about my humanity. “Have you ever wanted to know why humans have been so successful as a species? How societies function without governments, laws, or money? What life was like ten thousand years ago? This is the place to ask!”
The place to ask about the academic study of human relations: According to Wikipedia, social science “includes anthropology, economics, political science, psychology and sociology. In a wider sense, it may often include some fields in the humanities such as archaeology, history, law, and linguistics.”
Note: subreddits exist for virtually every academic discipline imaginable. Seek and ye shall find.
Our brains want to learn about themselves. Here, they can. “Information about neuropsychology, neuroanatomy, neurodevelopment, studying neuropsychology, being a neuropsychologist, and related topics.”
“A community for those who are interested in the mind, brain, language and artificial intelligence.”
If you haven’t noticed, we humans have vast swaths of stupid and unnecessary bullshit. This subreddit is for interrogating the current norms of materialism and consumerism and considering the benefits of owning less. (See also: Story of Stuff).
Who cares about planet Earth, right? If you happen to, you might want to check out this sub for news, issues, and information related to environmental preservation (or lack thereof).
All things nature. Learn about this weird floating rock called “Earth”.
“A free area for the discussion of issues facing those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and all other sexual or nonsexual orientations and/or gender identities.”
“[/r/]RedditActivism is the place to go to keep an eye on all the things happening on Reddit with regards to activism, and to even start dialogue about these movements and how they interact with one another and in the real world.”
For promoting equality for women (and generally promoting equality for all humans). For challenging patriarchal norms, systems, and assumptions.
“Restore the Fourth is a non-partisan grassroots movement demanding an end to the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance programs.”
This subreddit is a hub for sharing and discussion of all things questionable going on in the US.
Let’s get politically correct, or something. A questions-only domain for thoughtful discussion of all things politics-related.
“Where redditors of differing opinions come together, respectfully disagree, and follow reddiquette.”
A subreddit solely devoted to tracking and discussing the bills that are proposed and considered by Congress.
ANARCHY! I don’t define myself as an anarchist, but I also don’t really have a firm stance on political philosophy. I do like contemplating the merits of various approaches, though, and I think anarchism is an important position. Edward Abbey was an anarchist.
Like anarchism, anarcho-capitalism is a branch of political thought that supports the elimination of the state. However, anarcho-capitalists have the additional attribute of supporting a stateless society with private property and open markets.
Just what it sounds like. New books featured for discussion every month. People are encouraged to post about current or previous selections. A place for thoughtful discussion about mankind’s legacy of literature.
A place to share the most delicious, titillating, and downright alluring passages from books.
Yet another book subreddit. This is a great one, though. Deeper discussions for serious “lit-heads”, you might say.
Autoerotica via literature? Nah, sorry. Just a place for aesthetically pleasing images of rare, old, and sexy books, books, books.
If you want to get a lot smarter in a hurry, use Blinkist. They condense entire books into potent 15-minute reads.
A truly splendid subreddit. Often stimulating and chuckle-worthy. “A subreddit for you to share all those thoughts, ideas, or philosophical questions that race through your head when in the shower.”
A place to share the most fascinating pages from Wikipedia, aka the eternally wonderful companion of humanity’s collective curiosity.
An interesting space focusing on the modern “macro-trend of decentralization”, which refers to a radical transformation of various sectors of society—media, energy, food production, etc. Essentially, what used to be controlled by the few is rapidly becoming controlled by the many, and it’s changing the world in exciting and empowering ways.
A collection of the most awesome and weird and mind-blowing and anomalous websites lurking in the dark depths of cyberspace.
A compendium of gorgeous visual representations of data.
I hope this list was the substance of dreams, or at least pretty neat. Be sure to hop over to my original list of 37 mind-broadening subreddits if you want more. Cheers, humans.