On Being Blog

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.

Trent Gilliss Monday, April 7, 2014 - 18:01

The sixth of the great British philosopher's list of rules for living and learning. This time, on the opinions of others.

Susan Cooke Kittredge Sunday, April 6, 2014 - 08:14

With the recent news about the universe's origins, why are we struck dumb with awe and the nature of magnificence? A guest commentary on our deepest impulses.

Trent Gilliss Friday, April 4, 2014 - 06:50

The fifth of the great British philosopher's list of rules for living and learning. This time, on the authority of others.

Trent Gilliss, Mariah Helgeson Friday, April 4, 2014 - 06:10

Musing on the hidden lives and legacies of objects and how "heaven is being a memory to others," our Twitter recap of a spacious conversation between philosopher-artist Dario Robleto and Krista Tippett.

Trent Gilliss Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 21:53

The fourth of the great British philosopher's list of rules for living and learning. This time, on overcoming opposition.

Lily Percy Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 05:32

A documentary about an intrepid and curious man inspires this reflection on failure, giving up too soon, and pursuing curiosity rather than success.

Trent Gilliss Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 19:55

The third of the great British philosopher's list of rules for living and learning. This time, on discouraging thinking.

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Latest Interviews

April 17, 2014

"The soul is contained in the voice."

StoryCorps founder David Isay and Krista Tippett have an intimate conversation about their shared love of listening — and the importance of creating spaces to tell our stories to each other. For him, the spaces where two people ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask of each other are sacred. Listening, he’s learned, is an act of love. Eliciting and capturing our stories is a way of insisting that every life matters.

April 10, 2014

With a master of midrash as our guide, we walk through the Exodus story at the heart of Passover. It's not the simple narrative you've watched at the movies or learned in Sunday school. Neither Moses or Pharaoh, nor the oppressed Israelites or even God, are as they seem. As Avivah Zornberg reveals, Exodus is a cargo of hidden stories — telling the messy, strange, redemptive truth of us as we are, and life as it is.

April 3, 2014

An astrophysicist who studies the shape of the universe, Janna Levin has also explored her science by writing a novel about two pivotal 20th-century mathematicians, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing. Both men pushed at boundaries where mathematics presses on grand questions of meaning and purpose. Such questions, she says, help create the technologies that are now changing our sense of what it means to be human.

March 27, 2014

"Your staying alive means so much more than you really know or that anyone is aware of at this moment."

Philosopher, historian, and poet Jennifer Michael Hecht has traced how Western civilization has at times demonized those who commit suicide, at times celebrated it as a moral freedom. She proposes a reframed cultural conversation, based not on morality or rights but on our essential need for each other.

March 20, 2014

"There's no question about the reality of evil, of injustice, of suffering, but at the center of this existence is a heart beating with love."

South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on how his understanding of God and humanity has unfolded through the history he's lived and shaped.