On Being Blog

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.

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 06:38

Drawing on Joseph Campbell, Parker Palmer asks: where might you turn for news that is "true and worth attending to"?

Trent Gilliss Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 20:53

The second of the great British philosopher's list of rules for living and learning. This time, on concealing evidence.

Trent Gilliss Monday, March 31, 2014 - 16:30

The first of the great British philosopher's list of rules for living and learning. This time, on certainty.

Trent Gilliss Monday, March 31, 2014 - 10:14

This week inspired a lesson from Ralph Waldo Emerson, a poetic reflection on being more than doing from Parker Palmer, a precious moment that will make you smile, and a peculiar story about a lockpicker that will make you think.

Mariah Helgeson Friday, March 28, 2014 - 05:59

A revered writer and a sand artist remind us the greatest adventures happen when we let go of ourselves and proceed into the unknown.

Betty M. Bayer Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 05:34

Has the word grace fallen out of favor? Anna Deavere Smith’s Conversations on Grace offers a way for us to think of grace as a pluralistic universe and a guide for all of us on the art of dwelling here together, in the polis.

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Latest Interviews

April 24, 2014

The idea of reciting an unchanging creed sounds suspicious to modern ears. But the late, great historian Jaroslav Pelikan illuminated ancient tradition in order to enliven faith in the present and the future. He insisted that strong statements of belief will be necessary if pluralism in the 21st century is to thrive. We take in his moving, provocative perspective on our enduring need for creeds.

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.

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