On Being

On Being

United States

On Being with Krista Tippett takes up the big questions of meaning with scientists and theologians, artists and teachers — some you know and others you'll love to meet. Updated every Thursday, a new discovery about the immensity of our lives.

Episodes

Eula Biss — Let's Talk About Whiteness  

Could we learn to talk about whiteness? The writer Eula Biss has been thinking and writing about being white and raising white children in a multi-racial world for a long time. She helpfully opens up words and ideas like “complacence,” “guilt,” and something related to privilege called “opportunity hoarding.” To be in this uncomfortable conversation is to realize how these words alone, taken seriously, can shake us up in necessary ways — but also how the limits of words make these conversations at once more messy and more urgent.

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[Unedited] Eula Biss with Krista Tippett  

Eula Biss is a professor in the English Department at Northwestern University. Her writing includes "On Immunity: An Inoculation" and "Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays." This conversation was inspired by her New York Times article “White Debt.” This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Eula Biss — Let’s Talk About Whiteness." Find more at onbeing.org.

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Anil Dash — Tech’s Moral Reckoning  

A wildly popular blogger, tech entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley influencer, Anil Dash has been an early activist for moral imagination in the digital sphere — an aspiration which has now become an urgent task. We explore the unprecedented power, the learning curves ahead, and how we can all contribute to the humane potential of technology in this moment.

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[Unedited] Anil Dash with Krista Tippett  

Anil Dash is the CEO of Fog Creek Software. He also founded Makerbase, Activate, and the non-profit Expert Labs, a research initiative backed by the MacArthur Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which collaborated with the Obama White House and federal agencies. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Anil Dash — Tech’s Moral Reckoning." Find more at onbeing.org.

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Maria Popova — Cartographer of Meaning in a Digital Age  

She has called Brain Pickings, her invention and labor of love, a “human-powered discovery engine for interestingness.” What Maria Popova really delivers, to hundreds of thousands of people each day, is wisdom of the old-fashioned sort, presented in new-fashioned digital ways. She cross-pollinates — between philosophy and design, physics and poetry, the intellectual and the experiential. We explore her gleanings on what it means to lead a good life — intellectually, creatively, and spiritually.

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[Unedited] Maria Popova with Krista Tippett  

Maria Popova is the creator and editor of brainpickings.org and is an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Maria Popova — Cartographer of Meaning in a Digital Age." Find more at onbeing.org.

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Gordon Hempton — Silence and the Presence of Everything  

Silence is an endangered species, says Gordon Hempton. He defines real quiet as presence — not an absence of sound, but an absence of noise. The Earth, as he knows it, is a "solar-powered jukebox." Quiet is a "think tank of the soul." We take in the world through his ears.

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[Unedited] Gordon Hempton with Krista Tippett  

Gordon Hempton is founder and vice president of The One Square Inch of Silence Foundation, based in Joyce, Washington. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Gordon Hempton — Silence and the Presence of Everything." Find more at onbeing.org.

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Eugene Peterson — Entering Into What Is There  

"Prayers are tools not for doing or getting, but for being and becoming." These are words of the beloved biblical interpreter, teacher, and pastor Eugene Peterson. Frustrated with the unimaginative way he found his congregants treating their Bibles, he translated it himself and that translation has sold millions of copies around the world. Eugene Peterson’s down-to-earth faith hinges on a love of metaphor and a commitment to the Bible’s poetry as what keeps it alive to the world.

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[Unedited] Eugene Peterson with Krista Tippett  

Eugene Peterson served as a pastor for 29 years. He is the author of over 30 books including "Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer," "The Pastor: A Memoir," and "The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language." This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Eugene Peterson — Entering Into What Is There." Find more at onbeing.org.

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Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman — Meeting Our Enemies and Our Suffering  

Two legendary Buddhist teachers shine a light on the lofty ideal of loving your enemies and bring it down to earth. How can that be realistic, and what do we have to do inside ourselves to make it more possible? In a conversation filled with laughter and friendship, Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman share much practical wisdom on how we relate to that which makes us feel embattled from without, and from within.

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[Unedited] Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman with Krista Tippett  

Robert Thurman and Sharon Salzberg helped bring Buddhism to America in the 1970s. She became a beloved meditation teacher; he became a leading scholar of Buddhist philosophy and psychology. They shine a light on the lofty ideal of loving your enemies and bring it down to earth. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman — Meeting Our Enemies and Our Suffering." Find more at onbeing.org.

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Alice Parker — Singing Is the Most Companionable of Arts  

Singing is able to touch and join human beings in ways few other arts can. Alice Parker is a wise and joyful thinker and writer on this truth, and has been a hero in the universe of choral music as a composer, conductor, and teacher for most of her 90 years. She began as a young woman, studying conducting with Robert Shaw at Juilliard, and collaborated with him on arrangements of folk songs, spirituals, and hymns that are still performed around the world today.

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[Unedited] Alice Parker with Krista Tippett  

Alice Parker is the artistic director of the non-profit Melodious Accord and is the author of "Melodious Accord: Good Singing in Church." She collaborated with the Robert Shaw Chorale for 20 years and has composed operas, cantatas and suites for chamber ensembles, as well as hundreds of anthems and songs. CDs of her compositions and arrangements include "My Love and I" and "Take Me to the Water." This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Alice Parker — Singing Is the Most Companionable of Arts." Find more at onbeing.org.

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James Martin — Finding God in All Things  

Before Pope Francis, James Martin was perhaps the best-loved Jesuit in American life. He’s followed the calling of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order, to “find God in all things” — and for him that means being a writer of books, an editor of America magazine, and a wise and witty presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. To delve into Fr. Martin's way of being in the world is to discover the "spiritual exercises" St. Ignatius designed to be accessible to everyone more than six centuries ago.

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[Unedited] James Martin with Krista Tippett  

James Martin is a Jesuit priest and editor-at-large of "America" magazine. He’s the author of several books including "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything," "Jesus: A Pilgrimage," and most recently "Seven Last Words." Before Pope Francis, James Martin was perhaps the best-loved Jesuit in American life. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "James Martin — Finding God in All Things." Find more at onbeing.org.

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Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn — Truth, Beauty, Banjo  

They are partners in music and in life — recovering something ancient and deeply American all at once, bringing both beauty and meaning to what they play and how they live. Béla Fleck is one of the greatest living banjo players in the world. He’s followed what many experience as this quintessential American roots instrument back to its roots in Africa and taken it where no banjo has gone before. Abigail Washburn is a celebrated banjo player and singer, both in English and Chinese. Nashville Public radio brought us together at the Belcourt Theater in their hometown.

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[Unedited] Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn with Krista Tippett  

Béla Fleck is one of the greatest living banjo players in the world. Abigail Washburn is a celebrated banjo player and singer, both in English and Chinese. Their first full album collaboration, "Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn," was awarded the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn — Truth, Beauty, Banjo." Find more at onbeing.org.

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Isabel Wilkerson — The Heart Is the Last Frontier  

Go to the doctor and they won't begin to treat you without taking your history — and not just yours, but that of your parents and grandparents before you. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson points this out as she reflects on her epic work of narrative non-fiction, The Warmth of Other Suns. She's immersed herself in the stories of the Great Migration, the diaspora of six million African Americans to the north of the U.S. in the 20th century. It's a carrier of untold histories and truths that help make sense of human and social challenges newly visible at the heart of our life together.

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[Unedited] Isabel Wilkerson with Krista Tippett  

Isabel Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of "The New York Times" and was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in 2016. Her book "The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration," won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Isabel Wilkerson — The Heart Is The Last Frontier" Find more at onbeing.org.

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