On Being Blog

Eliza Moore Friday, February 14, 2014 - 06:57

A musician serendipitously gets reacquainted with an old track while listening to physicist Brian Greene talk about our lack of free will.

Lily Percy Sunday, February 9, 2014 - 06:01

The daughter of an evangelical pastor finds comfort in the questions of an Orthodox rabbi — and his ability to change his mind on women's issues because of his relationship with his daughter.

Martin E. Marty Friday, February 7, 2014 - 07:19

Can something positive appear on a popular TV comedy show? An analysis of the "edgy Catholic Sunday School teacher and TV host as a catechist who can teach other catechists much."

Trent Gilliss Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 11:01

Don't tweet. No problem. A compilation of our tweets of a wandering conversation with a maker on language, time, and life as a maker.

Kevin Douglas Grant Monday, February 3, 2014 - 06:30

Rather than leave her Orthodox tradition, Tova Hartman creates a community that acknowledges the "feminine side of prayer" and the difference of others.

Garrett Fugate Sunday, February 2, 2014 - 09:00

A former orthodox Christian and now queer-identifying Muslim graduate student reflects on the challenge of restoring wholeness in the broken landscape of orthodoxy and homosexuality.

Stephen Greene Friday, January 31, 2014 - 16:21

With folk-legend Pete Seeger's passing, a scholar reflects on the fragmented history of American music. He envisions a new path for unity: a beloved community of musical voices allied in song.

Trent Gilliss Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 05:52

Our interview with physicist and author brought about this fun and wide-ranging set of time-shift tweets. He brings an infectious excitement to the conversation about the frontiers of modern physics and how vital science is to understanding the nature of life and reality.

Trent Gilliss Monday, January 27, 2014 - 02:46

Happiness. A word that gets bandied about quite a bit lately, and for good reason. An infographic that jogs a host of questions and insights.

Mariah Helgeson Friday, January 24, 2014 - 16:58

There's something magical about the way Ann Hamilton inhabits space. This video will transport you to an extraordinary world of ordinary life observed by a maker.

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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.