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HOPE: What Makes Us Human

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15,161 people completed this program


Why breathe? Why breed? Why bleed? What justifies continuing, creating, and killing lives? Seeking answers to these thorny questions, Princeton University and Tel Aviv University have joined hands to create HOPE, a unique online journey into the heart of humanity – at both its brightest and its darkest, in private and in public. Turning to existentialism for guidance, HOPE explores a dozen themes: Human/nature, identity & authenticity, freedom & liberty, reflection, happiness, death & dread, meaning, morality, truth & trust, God & religion, alienation & love, and finally – hope.

HOPE is driven by alarm – and aspiration. Alarm about a daily crime against humanity we all commit: Seeing people as puppets, pushed and pulled by forces that leave them “no choice.” Never have we been more powerful, and more prone to lose what made us so. We are an endangered species. Pandemics, climate change, environmental degradation, AI, nuclear weapons are some of the existential risks we face. But what is the point of saving human beings if we forget and forgo what it means to be human?

HOPE is a reminder, a wake-up call, and a guide, to what sets us apart and brings us together, as humans – seeking purpose for our special species. HOPE spans 44 short talks with numerous interactive, educational, tasks. It is the most media-rich online course today, including thousands of works of art, meticulously curated and with copyrights secured, including paintings, photographs, songs, as well as brief segments from tv shows and films. HOPE further introduces original animations, music clips, and videotaped interviews and panels. HOPE is profoundly interdisciplinary and requires no previous professional or academic knowledge – just curiosity about our humanity. It is suited to all ages and levels of education, and anyone can enroll. The course is offered, free of charge, in English, with captions in English, Hebrew and Arabic, and soon French and Spanish as well.

Launched in 2018, HOPE received instant global acclaim, awarded the best online course. Since then, HOPE consistently tops rankings of online courses, worldwide; it’s an all-time #1 online course in political science and philosophy, leading the social sciences and the humanities (among over 5000 courses). Tens of thousands of daily learners, academic (including leading universities) and non-academic, spanning all ages, from over 140 countries, partake in HOPE. You are very welcome to join them and begin your own journey.

  • The tenets, thinkers, and concepts of existentialism
  • What distinguishes humans from animals and machines
  • The meanings of identity and authenticity and how they impact politics
  • The nexus between liberty, freedom, bad faith, and reflection
  • Types of happiness and the point of pursuing it—privately and publicly
  • The importance of death and dread in our lives
  • How people seek meaning and legitimacy through truth, morality, and religion
  • The interplay of love and alienation, and the use of both in politics
  • What, and how much, we may hope for

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HOPE: What Makes Us Human
10 weeks
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