On Being Blog

Jeffrey Kaplan Friday, June 27, 2014 - 05:17

With ISIS insurgent forces moving towards Baghdad, a religious historian hears the echoes of past foreign policy missteps. And, once again, he sees Sunni and Shi’ite forces preparing for war.

Heather Christensen Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 05:25

A student of agriculture applies the lessons from permaculture to our increasingly polarized political climate. Just as there are plant guilds, she writes, we can create people guilds too.

Trent Gilliss Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 07:22

A Russian ballerina's photos reveal the joy of dance in daily life. The Your Audio Selfie project is a hit. Haidt gives depth to the latest Pew research in the news. A mother reflects on her father's quiet presence.

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 05:54

Parker Palmer draws on the words of two poets to remind us that we must embrace receptivity and gratitude to live a full life.

Joshua Rae Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 06:55

Turning a camera on the staff, our recently departed intern captures a piece of the radio production process for a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to produce On Being.

Dan Collison Sunday, June 22, 2014 - 06:05

What would happen if, rather than "making an idol out of certainty" and shunning uncertainty, we leaned into it? A pastor wonders whether doubt might make us more empathic and less anxious society.

Heike Springhart Friday, June 20, 2014 - 06:05

A hero to some and heretic to others, once more the theologian Hans Küng has sparked much debate in Germany with his recent question, "How long do I want to live?"

Trent Gilliss Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 04:50

Our weekly roundup of all things curious and inspiring, including a photo series that speaks to the quiet human dramas of daily life, an inspirational story of a healer finding his calling, music from Leonard Cohen that offers solace, and an unusual and poetic meditation on loss.

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 05:26

A video with Parker Palmer discussing Lincoln's depression and how he sees the 16th U.S. President's ability to reconcile the darkness and lightness within himself as a lesson for us all in healing the heart of democracy.

Christy Shake Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 05:39

A daughter reflects on the quiet, unassuming ways of her father — and how being "rooted in the physical" helps her and her son connect without the use of words or a faith in something larger than what's in front of them.

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Latest Interviews

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.

June 5, 2014

As the daughter of Johnny Cash, singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash describes her life as "circumscribed by music." But, it's through her love of language and quantum mechanics that she's finding new sources of creativity and mathematical ways to think about the divine. The mother of five shares her perspectives on being present, Twitter as a "boot camp for songwriters," and how she wrestles with love and grief through her music.

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