On Being Blog

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 05:54

Parker Palmer draws on the words of two poets to remind us that we must embrace receptivity and gratitude to live a full life.

Joshua Rae Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 06:55

Turning a camera on the staff, our recently departed intern captures a piece of the radio production process for a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to produce On Being.

Dan Collison Sunday, June 22, 2014 - 06:05

What would happen if, rather than "making an idol out of certainty" and shunning uncertainty, we leaned into it? A pastor wonders whether doubt might make us more empathic and less anxious society.

Heike Springhart Friday, June 20, 2014 - 06:05

A hero to some and heretic to others, once more the theologian Hans Küng has sparked much debate in Germany with his recent question, "How long do I want to live?"

Trent Gilliss Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 04:50

Our weekly roundup of all things curious and inspiring, including a photo series that speaks to the quiet human dramas of daily life, an inspirational story of a healer finding his calling, music from Leonard Cohen that offers solace, and an unusual and poetic meditation on loss.

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 05:26

A video with Parker Palmer discussing Lincoln's depression and how he sees the 16th U.S. President's ability to reconcile the darkness and lightness within himself as a lesson for us all in healing the heart of democracy.

Christy Shake Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 05:39

A daughter reflects on the quiet, unassuming ways of her father — and how being "rooted in the physical" helps her and her son connect without the use of words or a faith in something larger than what's in front of them.

Trent Gilliss Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 10:06

The best of the week — including an invitation to our studios, a lesson in the uniqueness of humans, sage words from Parker Palmer on paradox, and an arresting collection of images that captures everyday life in Africa.

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 04:30

Some thoughts on Leonard Cohen, our small and imperfect contributions to solving big problems, the "potluck supper approach to social change," and how the light gets in.

Mariah Helgeson Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 07:49

The writer's words from 1955 resonate even more profoundly today in an era of technological ubiquity. A meditation on the gifts of solitude, loneliness, and silence.

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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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