On Being Blog

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.

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 05:00

In our busy lives, a reminder from Parker Palmer that what matters most is not our ability to produce but our ability to love, and to just be. With a poem by Lynn Ungar.

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Latest Interviews

July 17, 2014

Sixteen Muslims, in their own words, speak about the delights and gravity of Islam's holiest month. Through vivid memories and light-hearted musings, they reveal the richness of Ramadan — as a period of intimacy, and of parties; of getting up when the world is quiet for breakfast and prayers with one's family; of breaking the fast every day after nightfall in celebration and prayers with friends and strangers.

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.