Weapons of Reason Turns Four

Just over four years ago we were sat at SXSW watching Al Gore deliver a speech on the impact of climate change. Truth be told we’d always found that the endless cycle of digital news made environmental and social issues rocky ground to navigate. But watching Al break his argument down into simple, relatable terms, we realised that complex, sometimes overwhelming information, could be relayed in a manner that made it clearer, simpler and easier to grasp.

Inspired by this struggle to better understand the world around us, we launched Weapons of Reason as a platform to explore the biggest and most important challenges of our generation — to communicate complex issues clearly and simply, making these topics accessible to new audiences and providing suggestions on how to take action.

We began by determining eight themes that seemed essential to the current state of the world: conflict, economics, environment, health, population, society, sustenance and technology — broad areas through which we could investigate and uncover detailed stories and respond to real-time changes in the world. Those changes have not been ones we could have predicted; our lives are now besieged by stories with an impact that is undeniable, but seldom positive. At a time when lobbyists control the political narrative and fact gives way to post-truth, we as communicators have found ourselves in the crucial position of taking that which is intangible, and clarifying it for everyone.

The new issue of Weapons of Reason focuses on examining the web of global power, and this time round we’re exploring new ways to make the intangible tangible. Alongside our print edition we’ve teamed up with digital consultancy Univers Labs to create an interactive exploration of global power structures, that highlights the links between the world’s most powerful corporations, financial institutions, multilaterals, governments and media groups.

Our intention is not to uncover any scandalous revelations, but rather to make use of publicly available information to highlight the fact that a small group of interlinked organisations exert a disproportionate grasp over global power.

This interactive data-visualisation introduces many of the themes of our latest issue, in which we attempt to understand how the world’s hierarchical structures materialised, their current shape, and how they might evolve or collapse in years to come.

So far Weapons of Reason has explored The Arctic, Megacities, Ageing and Power — four themes we expect to be instrumental in understanding our future. We’ve spoken to explorers, politicians, gerontologists, marine biologists, statisticians, data journalists and of course the people whose lives have been affected by these issues. We’ve sent reporters to the front line of the Ukrainian conflict, to investigate early-onset Alzheimer’s in a sleepy Colombian backwater, and to analyse the tribal factors complicating the Syrian civil war. In doing so we hope to have clarified some of the complexity surrounding these issues, but we’ve also learned a lot for ourselves along the way.

Which means the next four issues should be our best yet, taking a look at topics including sustenance, technology, economics and conflict. Although we don’t know through which prism we’ll be viewing these themes, we promise to bring the same level of research and analysis to each.

To celebrate this mid-point in the Weapons of Reason story, we’re inviting our readers to subscribe to our final four issues, meaning they’ll show up on your doorstep as soon as we publish, before they hit store shelves or become available on our own website. And of course it makes things cheaper for you too. By signing up now you’ll help us get the next issue rolling, allowing us to make it bigger and better than ever without having to fill pages with advertising.

We look forward to having you on board for the second half of our journey!”

Subscribe to Weapons of Reason and order issue #4: Power, 
on our site.