On Being Blog

Trent Gilliss Friday, March 14, 2014 - 15:16

Author and poet Jennifer Michael Hecht on suicide, resilience, and community. She says, "We have secret web-like connections to each other. Sometimes when you can't see what's important about you other people can." Join the conversation here.

Peter J. Michaels Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 06:56

A lapsed Catholic takes heart in Pope Francis' words as he considers his role as a journalist and a media consumer.

Shelly R. Fredman Saturday, March 8, 2014 - 05:25

In our increasingly secular lives, we find ways to get at a purer distillation of who we are at the broken center of ourselves. A meditation on paying attention and finding prayer in quiet places and through unlikely sources.

Mariah Helgeson Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 06:43

Musicians practice absolutely unmixed attention and listening of a different kind of in the melodies of whale songs. What would we hear if we were truly listening?

Erin Dunigan Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 05:12

On Ash Wednesday, a reminder from the natural world to slow down, meander rather than rush, and allow life to sink in.

Mariah Helgeson Saturday, March 1, 2014 - 05:37

On the anniversary of Mr. Rogers' passing, a conversation about unconditional love, community, and the gentle way we learned how to be human from a quiet man in a reliable sweater.

Lily Percy Friday, February 28, 2014 - 03:33

In a breakout year for black film, "12 Years a Slave" invited both dialogue and accolade. Yet films like "Fruitvale Station," about the life of a black man today, get passed over. A contemplation on race, Hollywood, and the conversations we aren't having.

Trent Gilliss Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 06:50

A creative illustration elevates Dorothy Day's words on "how to bring about a revolution of the heart" with a t-shirt design.

Emma M. Churchman Friday, February 21, 2014 - 05:42

A Quaker chaplain offers some candid insights on being a minister to trauma. In the midst of chaos and suffering, she writes, deep shame can transform itself into hope.

Dan Collison Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 05:47

How do we fulfill the dream that was bequeathed to us? By practicing the joyful art of doing life together across racial categories without fear.

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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.