On Being Blog

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 04:05

A renowned photojournalist discusses the need to "see the humanity that exists" in conflict zones and "allow the people to touch us in some way."

Thursday, August 20, 2009 - 00:48

Katherine and hubcap prayer wheel

If you’re the type of person who gets stressed out in traffic, then the hubcap prayer wheel might help bring some calm to your day. Their brief explanation of the Sanskrit decal:

“With Om Mani Padme Hum revolving as you drive, you can help ease your karma while radiating wisdom and compassion into your life and into the world.”

I don’t think it’s going to cure road rage… baby steps, right?

Monday, August 17, 2009 - 16:19

A week-long retreat to rural Wisconsin takes us to Frank Lloyd Wright’s summer home Taliesin, and Deer Park Buddhist Center for a meditation on healing and the space we inhabit.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009 - 09:27

Krista reflects on her Irish respite and the words of John O'Donohue on beauty as "a kind of homecoming…"

Thursday, August 13, 2009 - 12:59

Our SoundSeen slideshow of James Prosek's paintings of birds and fish, coupled with his words about the myth of order.

Thursday, August 13, 2009 - 04:49

Overwhelmed by Books

Whew! It’s hard to keep up with all the books that get sent to us for consideration. The table in our office fills up quickly each week, and since our territory is “religion, meaning, ethics, and ideas” we get a little bit of everything. Some are good fits, others are too abstract; some come with thoughtful pitches about why the author would be a good guest for us, others have no relevance and I assume come just because we got on some publisher’s mass distribution list.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 - 07:19

As we focus increasingly on ourselves, who do we leave behind, abandon? Abraham Joshua Heschel's prescient words on aging and vanity from his essay "To Grow in Wisdom."

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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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