On Being Blog

Trent Gilliss Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 05:55

Wandering about offers signs about honor and honesty, sunset yoga on the Ganges, ways to live and uncover an undivided life, and behind-the-scenes looks of our work. Our look into this week's gems and delights.

Jason Anthony Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 07:38

In this final installment of a four-part meditation on the interior emptiness of the East Antarctic ice cap, the author and explore reflects on the impossibility of intimacy in the presence of impermanence.

Jason Anthony Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 07:24

In this third essay from a four-part meditation on the interior emptiness of the East Antarctic ice cap, the author and explorer navigates the inner life, an elusive and meandering journey, as he contemplates the solipsistic continent.

Jason Anthony Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 17:28

The second of a four-part meditation on the interior emptiness of the East Antarctic ice cap. In "Absence," a reflection on how emptiness feeds a strange beauty, an oblivion of white.

Jason Anthony Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 06:00

The first of a four-part meditation on the interior emptiness of the East Antarctic ice cap. In "Arrival, the author explores the dance between ice and idea, wondering how the ice cap "challenges our notions of place and self."

Trent Gilliss Friday, April 25, 2014 - 18:07

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

Trent Gilliss Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 06:14

The beloved German theologian offers these words of encouragement (and admonishment) on the sacred duty of listening.

Parker J. Palmer Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 06:30

When we live behind a mask, how do we connect and establish trust with one another? Parker Palmer on reclaiming our identity and integrity.

Mariah Helgeson Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 15:04

A compilation of tweets from our conversation on the legacy of Gershom Scholem. It overflows with gems of wisdom you'll be glad you read!

Trent Gilliss Monday, April 21, 2014 - 20:51

This week held many surprises, including a lovely take on the story of Mary Magdalene, our first live event in our new studios, a scene from the Boston Public Library, and chopping wood with, yes, a Finnish axe.

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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.