On Being Blog

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008 - 14:11

We won a Peabody for this show! Read all about it here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 - 10:49


(photo: Lastexit/Flickr)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 16:47

Even though On Being producers sit within virtually an arm's length of one another, sometimes the conversation's better played out online. Check out the comment thread.

Monday, March 24, 2008 - 21:11

While conducting some research for our upcoming show on humanism, I was reminded of an amazing truth about ancient texts. Greek philosophy doesn’t come to us whole; it is an inheritance in pieces. The passage of time always edits, and of Epicurus, the ancient Greek philosopher who died in 270 BCE, barely any original writing remains.

The scarcity of original texts can be difficult in some ways. We must learn what we can about him, Epicurus, from the philosophers who wrote about him after his death, the Epicureans. The most important of these writings, and the one source for texts by Epicurus himself, is a biography by Diogenes, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, from 230 CE. It is not always easy to do research on a figure whose personal writings are so few.

Friday, March 21, 2008 - 09:45

What happens when an opportunity to trace an interesting story intersects with the rebroadcast of a popular program? Producer Colleen Scheck tells her story.

Thursday, March 20, 2008 - 15:46
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008 - 16:19

Is math a basic need we intuit like hunger, thirst, and love?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 - 16:36

Rajaa Alsanea

OK. I had begun this post with a long-winded preface about SOF’s coverage of Islam, how much I’ve learned, the good I hope it’s doing, and all the rest. Nix that.

Friday, March 14, 2008 - 13:17

We do talk about big ideas at work. But we also talk about what TV shows we are catching up on. I happen to be watching the final season of The Sopranos on DVD. I will not include a spoiler here. But I will mention a minor but significant plot element that occurrs in one episode — an Ojibwe poem I first read in the break-through anthology Technicians of the Sacred years ago. Here it is, in one of its many variant forms:

Sometimes I
I go about pitying
Myself
While I am carried by the wind
Across the sky.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 09:56

With fewer travel commitments in the coming months, we’ll have more time to set up interviews and produce programs. So, we’re currently pursuing a number of interesting voices, recording interviews, and producing shows with interviews we’ve recently completed. Which all means that in the coming weeks and months, you may be hearing shows on:

  • the resurgence of Humanism
  • the state of the Catholic Church
  • the ethics of international law and the torture issue
  • the sustainability of languages
  • a biographical program on Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • a round-table discussion with several prominent Evangelical Christians on how their political engagement has changed since the last election

A lot can change during the production process, but we are working on getting these shows on the air and on the Web. Just a little sneak peek at what’s cooking.


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Latest Interviews

July 17, 2014

Sixteen Muslims, in their own words, speak about the delights and gravity of Islam's holiest month. Through vivid memories and light-hearted musings, they reveal the richness of Ramadan — as a period of intimacy, and of parties; of getting up when the world is quiet for breakfast and prayers with one's family; of breaking the fast every day after nightfall in celebration and prayers with friends and strangers.

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.

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