On Being Blog

Mariah Helgeson Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 10:34

We live-tweeted our interview with the founder of StoryCorps. The takeaway? Some real gems from a life spent listening to and recording others.

Parker J. Palmer Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 16:59

The Quaker elder offers this poetic reminder on trusting that the writing process itself will help you dig into your bafflement.

Sarah Blanton Monday, March 17, 2014 - 15:00

A photo essay contemplating the Celtic concept of thin places, spaces where the veil between visible and invisible worlds are lifted — all from a quiet lake nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee.

Trent Gilliss Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 06:29

On the first anniversary of Pope Francis' election, James Martin explains how the pope's ministry has been shaped by his Jesuit identity — including the three degrees of humility.

Trent Gilliss Friday, March 14, 2014 - 15:16

Author and poet Jennifer Michael Hecht on suicide, resilience, and community. She says, "We have secret web-like connections to each other. Sometimes when you can't see what's important about you other people can." Join the conversation here.

Peter J. Michaels Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 06:56

A lapsed Catholic takes heart in Pope Francis' words as he considers his role as a journalist and a media consumer.

Shelly R. Fredman Saturday, March 8, 2014 - 05:25

In our increasingly secular lives, we find ways to get at a purer distillation of who we are at the broken center of ourselves. A meditation on paying attention and finding prayer in quiet places and through unlikely sources.

Mariah Helgeson Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 06:43

Musicians practice absolutely unmixed attention and listening of a different kind of in the melodies of whale songs. What would we hear if we were truly listening?

Erin Dunigan Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 05:12

On Ash Wednesday, a reminder from the natural world to slow down, meander rather than rush, and allow life to sink in.

Mariah Helgeson Saturday, March 1, 2014 - 05:37

On the anniversary of Mr. Rogers' passing, a conversation about unconditional love, community, and the gentle way we learned how to be human from a quiet man in a reliable sweater.

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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.