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Listen to 10+ years of in-depth conversations. Receive a new episode – with rich, intelligent production – every Thursday. Create a list of episodes for later listening – on topics including physics, theology, parenting, neuroscience, health, meditation, spirituality, technology, and much more. Share your favorite episodes by text, email, Facebook, and Twitter.
On Being is broadcast 499 times on over 400 public radio stations nationwide, reaching 650,000 weekly listeners.
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There is no such thing as closure. Family therapist Pauline Boss says that the idea of closure in fact leads us astray — it’s a myth we need to put aside, like the idea we’ve accepted that grief has five linear stages and we come out the other side done with it. She coined the term “ambiguous loss,” creating a new field in family therapy and psychology. And she has wisdom for the complicated griefs and losses in all of our lives and in how we best approach the losses of others — including those very much in our public midst right now.
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.
The emerging science of implicit bias is one of the most promising fields for animating the human change that makes social change possible. The social psychologist Mahzarin Banaji is one of its primary architects. She understands the mind as a “difference-seeking machine” that helps us order and navigate the overwhelming complexity of reality. But this gift also creates blind spots and biases, as we fill in what we don’t know with the limits of what we do know. This is science that takes our grappling with difference out of the realm of guilt, and into the realm of transformative good.
It was supposed to be a discussion about "culture and conscience" with two social scientists, as part of a public gathering of the Center for Humans and Nature at the American Museum of Natural History. But Jonathan Haidt is studying the relationship between capitalism and moral evolution, and our conversation took off from there in surprising directions. The liberal view of capitalism as essentially exploitative may remain alive and well, Haidt says. But the ironic truth of history is that capitalism actually generates liberal values as it takes root in societies. Our conversation preceded this American cultural-political season but offers provocative perspective on it.
A singular writer and thinker, Rebecca Solnit celebrates the unpredictable and incalculable events that so often redeem our lives both solitary and public. She searches for the hidden, transformative histories inside events we chronicle merely as disasters, in places like post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. She writes that, so often, "when all the ordinary divides and patterns are shattered, people step up to become their brothers' keepers. And that purposefulness and connectedness bring joy even amidst death, chaos, fear, and loss."