On Being Blog

Trent Gilliss Monday, April 7, 2014 - 18:01

The sixth of the great British philosopher's list of rules for living and learning. This time, on the opinions of others.

Susan Cooke Kittredge Sunday, April 6, 2014 - 08:14

With the recent news about the universe's origins, why are we struck dumb with awe and the nature of magnificence? A guest commentary on our deepest impulses.

Trent Gilliss Friday, April 4, 2014 - 06:50

The fifth of the great British philosopher's list of rules for living and learning. This time, on the authority of others.

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.

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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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