Change happens incrementally, yet in our modern era things are changing faster than ever. The demarcation between home and work life has all but dissolved, as has the line between our public and private selves. In this week’s cover story (available to subscribers here), TIME looks at 10 big ideas that will shape our lives, beginning with Eric Klinenberg’s fascinating research on the rise of solitary living. In 1950, Americans who lived alone made up only 9% of households; today they make up 28% of all households. Contrary to our fears, Klinenberg shows that solo dwellers are not lonely souls. Living alone allows us to do what we want, when we want and on our own terms and, paradoxically, might be exactly what we need to reconnect with others.
Also in this issue, TIME Ideas columnist Judith Warner looks at how the trappings of high status actually increase our levels of stress. “Research indicates that as you near the top, life stress increases so dramatically that its toxic effects essentially cancel out many positive aspects of succeeding,” Warner writes. Annie Murphy Paul, also a columnist on TIME Ideas, looks at how outsourcing our memory to Google is actually changing our cognitive habits. What else is in our future? Food that lasts forever, the end of nature, black irony and a new religion of no religion. Read the full cover story here.