On Being Blog

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 04:35

Parker Palmer offers a light-hearted vignette on the unexpected visitor and welcoming her in — all by way of a metaphor by Rumi.

Trent Gilliss Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 10:25

The ninth of the great British philosopher's list of rules for living and learning. This time, on being truthful.

Trent Gilliss Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 05:16

This week, excellent insights from Howard Thurman and the growing edge of the beginner's mind, a meditation on suffering, advice from Bertrand Russell, and a beautiful photoquote from Yiddish poet Celia Dropkin.

Peter Han Monday, April 14, 2014 - 05:24

In the debate between scientific fact and religious faith, the author wonders if we, as skeptical people living in an age of science, have the capability believing in myth. Or, do we prefer living in a meaningless world.

Shari Motro Friday, April 11, 2014 - 19:49

How does one leave home in peace? Shari Motro reflects on how we all can find our way back, using the abundant lessons of the relationship between Pharaoh and Moses in the Exodus story. On the other side of it all, forgiveness and gratitude resides.

Trent Gilliss Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 18:27

The eighth of the great British philosopher's list of rules for living and learning. This time, on intelligent dissent.

Mariah Helgeson Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 05:52

Watch this TED talk with Andrew Solomon, who breaks the silence we share around depression and asks of us profound empathy for the vitality within the struggle.

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 05:02

Parker Palmer encourages us to look with child-like imagination to better understand the world's mysteries.

Trent Gilliss Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 22:21

The seventh of the great British philosopher's list of rules for living and learning. This time, on respecting eccentricity.

Trent Gilliss Monday, April 7, 2014 - 22:20

Our executive editor Trent Gilliss brings you his weekly column on articles worth reading, visuals worth seeing, music worth hearing. Including a remarkable story of curiosity and persistence, a mesmerizing rumination on Dante's Purgatorio, lessons to live by from Bertrand Russell, and some poetic twitterings with artist Dario Robleto.

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Latest Interviews

July 10, 2014

One of the most extraordinary minds of American and global history, W.E.B. Du Bois penned the famous line that "the problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line." He is a formative voice for many of the people who gave us the Civil Rights Movement. But his passionate, poetic words speak to all of us navigating the ever-unfolding, unfinished business of civil rights. We bring Du Bois' life and ideas into relief for the 21st century — featuring one of the last interviews the great Maya Angelou gave before her death.

July 3, 2014

For the Fourth of July, a refreshing reality check about the long road of American democracy. We remember forgotten but fascinating, useful history as we contemplate how we might help young democracies on their own tumultuous paths now.

June 26, 2014

We tend to frame our cultural conversation about science and religion as a debate — two either/or ways of describing reality. With mathematician Jim Bradley and philosopher Michael Ruse, we trace a quieter evolution of science and religion in interplay — not a matter of competing answers, but of complementary questions with room for humanity, nuance, and humor.

June 19, 2014

Who knew that we learn empathy, trust, irony, and problem solving through play — something the dictionary defines as "pleasurable and apparently purposeless activity." Dr. Stuart Brown suggests that the rough-and-tumble play of children actually prevents violent behavior, and that play can grow human talents and character across a lifetime. Play, as he studies it, is an indispensable part of being human.

June 12, 2014

The surprising psychology behind morality is at the heart of social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s research. “When it comes to moral judgments," he says, "we think we are scientists discovering the truth, but actually we are lawyers arguing for positions we arrived at by other means.” He explains “liberal” and “conservative” not narrowly or necessarily as political affiliations, but as personality types — ways of moving through the world. His own self-described “conservative-hating, religion-hating, secular liberal instincts” have been challenged by his own studies.