The Reddit Mind: 44 Smart, Thought-Provoking Subreddits

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.

Photo Credit: dj. hughman (Creative Commons)
Photo Credit: dj. hughman (Creative Commons)

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:

Reflective Living

1. /r/InsightfulQuestions

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.

2. /r/ChangeMyView

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.

3. /r/Psychonaut

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.

4. /r/FreeThought

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.”

5. /r/IWanttoLearn

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.

Philosophy

6. /r/FuckingPhilosophy

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.

7. /r/AskPhilosophy

Ask all things related to the academic study of philosophy, and you’ll find some professionals and other sharp folks here to answer.

8. /r/Existentialism

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).

9. /r/PhilosophyOfScience

“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.

Unorthodox Lifestyle

10. /r/Permaculture

“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).

11. /r/OpenSourceEcology

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.

12. /r/WWOOF

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.

13. /r/IWantOut

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).

14. /r/Travel

Cultivate your lust for wander by perusing this worldly subreddit.

Religion & Spirituality

15. /r/TrueAtheism

Non-believers, assemble. /r/TrueAtheism is a place for respectful, thoughtful discussion of all things related to theism, atheism, religion, and the like.

16. /r/Humanism

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.

17. /r/Pantheism

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.

18. /r/Zen

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).

Human Sciences

19. /r/AskAnthropology

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!”

20. /r/AskSocialScience

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.

Cognitive Science

21. /r/Neuropsychology

Our brains want to learn about themselves. Here, they can. “Information about neuropsychology, neuroanatomy, neurodevelopment, studying neuropsychology, being a neuropsychologist, and related topics.”

22. /r/CogSci

“A community for those who are interested in the mind, brain, language and artificial intelligence.”

Planet Earth

23. /r/AntiConsumption

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).

24. /r/Environment

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).

25. /r/Nature

All things nature. Learn about this weird floating rock called “Earth”.

Activism

26. /r/ainbow

“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.”

27. /r/RedditActivism

“[/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.”

28. /r/Feminism

For promoting equality for women (and generally promoting equality for all humans). For challenging patriarchal norms, systems, and assumptions.

29. /r/RestoreTheFourth

“Restore the Fourth is a non-partisan grassroots movement demanding an end to the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance programs.”

30. /r/evolutionReddit

This subreddit is a hub for sharing and discussion of all things questionable going on in the US.

Politics

31. /r/PoliticalDiscussion

Let’s get politically correct, or something. A questions-only domain for thoughtful discussion of all things politics-related.

32. /r/ModeratePolitics

“Where redditors of differing opinions come together, respectfully disagree, and follow reddiquette.”

33. /r/WatchingCongress

A subreddit solely devoted to tracking and discussing the bills that are proposed and considered by Congress.

34. /r/Anarchism

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.

35. /r/Anarcho_Capitalism

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. 

Books

36. /r/BookClub

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.

37. /r/BookQuotes

A place to share the most delicious, titillating, and downright alluring passages from books.

38. /r/Literature

Yet another book subreddit. This is a great one, though. Deeper discussions for serious “lit-heads”, you might say.

39. /r/BookPorn

Autoerotica via literature? Nah, sorry. Just a place for aesthetically pleasing images of rare, old, and sexy books, books, books.

Miscellaneous

40. /r/ShowerThoughts

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.”

41. /r/Wikipedia

A place to share the most fascinating pages from Wikipedia, aka the eternally wonderful companion of humanity’s collective curiosity.

42. /r/Rad_Decentralization

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.

43. /r/InternetIsBeautiful

A collection of the most awesome and weird and mind-blowing and anomalous websites lurking in the dark depths of cyberspace.

44. /r/DataIsBeautiful

A compendium of gorgeous visual representations of data.

Voilà.

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.

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About Jordan Bates

Jordan Bates is a linguistic sign and the post-American writer/artist who created this place. He has a rapping alter-ego named LOSTBOYEVSKY, writes about 21st-century Asia on Beacon, and also created the music blog, UBERSOUNDS. Read the mission and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.


  • Ashlee

    Anarcho-capitalism isn’t a misnomer. They aren’t anarchists, they just call themselves that.

    • http://www.refinethemind.com/ Jordan Bates

      Did you mean to say that it *is* a misnomer (your second statement would seem to imply that you believe it is)?

      If so, I disagree. Anarcho-capitalists are, by definition, anarchists, in that they support the elimination of the state.

      • Ryan

        Pardon my ignorance, but I haven’t heard any anthropological theories of value that would make it clear how to rationalize private property with anarchism. What cultures have had private property without the state? Have any of them? I had thought that the enforcement of private property rights is done by the institution with a monopoly on legitimate violence; without a state, you can have the personal property you carry with you, but not private property in the usufructory sense because it’s just unnecessary. And markets? I mean, you’re basically screaming at the top of your lungs that you’d love to do away with the regulations that keep your living situation mostly free of hazardous wastes. It’s as if (neoliberal) capitalism is totally incompatible with anarchism; maybe because philosophies on value within anarchist and capitalist thought diverge to the point incomprehensible to one another.