On Being Blog

Mariah Helgeson Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 06:52

Flannery O'Connor's prayer journal offers a rare glimpse into the life of a brilliant writer, colored by doubt and uncertainty, preoccupied with both magnificent grace and the mundane absurdity of everyday life.

Trent Gilliss Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 08:53

A reminder to pop up your head and look right a scenic overview one races right by, a centering reflection on Ramadan that doesn't focus on fasting, and a popular post calling for an Interdependence Day.

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 05:26

Parker Palmer celebrates the act of finding clarity in one's life through the poetry of Mary Oliver and listening to the trees.

Mariah Helgeson Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 09:00

Precious audio of the late great poet and memoirist Dr. Maya Angelou. She shares a memory of meeting W.E.B. Du Bois and offers words of advice to all young men and women. Take a listen. It is a treasure.

Mariah Helgeson Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 08:52

Former Black Panther party member Kathleen Cleaver on the third option. Beyond revolt and submission, there is another path, the path of self-realization.

Mariah Helgeson Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 08:31

Civil rights veteran Julian Bond on the guardianship of W.E.B. Du Bois in the efforts to move beyond the color line in the twenty-first century.

Trent Gilliss Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 06:03

With the dulcet tones of the Copenhagen Phil, commuters find a moment of unexpected musical joy in this flash mob scene. You will too.

Mariah Helgeson Monday, July 7, 2014 - 15:57

This unpublished list of books written by W.E.B. Du Bois in 1923 might be a list of favorites, or it might be a to-read list, or a list of recommendations for a friend. In any case, it's a window into the mind of a terrific writer, through the books he loved.

Ariana Tobin Monday, July 7, 2014 - 07:19

When a millennial woman hears about Buddhist teachings on overcoming anger through love, she decides to try out a meditation practice experiment on her own social media feeds.

Rick LaValley Sunday, July 6, 2014 - 07:45

A veteran outdoorsman finds comfort in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson. For this self-described river rat, nature is the circumstance which dwarfs every other circumstance.

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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.

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