On Being

On Being is a conversation about the big questions at the center of human life, from the boldest new science of the human brain to the most ancient traditions of the human spirit.

Recent Episodes

[Unedited] Stuart Brown with Krista Tippett

[Unedited] Stuart Brown with Krista Tippett This unedited interview with Stuart Brown comes from our produced show, Play, Spirit, and Character.

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.

See more at www.onbeing.org/program/play-spirit-and-character/143

Jonathan Haidt — The Psychology Behind Morality

Jonathan Haidt — The Psychology Behind Morality

The surprising psychology behind morality is at the heart of social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s research. He says “when it comes to moral judgments, 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.


[Unedited] Jonathan Haidt with Krista Tippett

[Unedited] Jonathan Haidt with Krista TippettThe surprising psychology behind morality is at the heart of Jonathan Haidt’s research. “When it comes to moral judgments,” the social psychologist 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.

See more at www.onbeing.org/program/jonathan-haidt-the-psychology-behind-morality/6341

Rosanne Cash, Time Traveler [remix]

Rosanne Cash, Time Traveler

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.


[Unedited] Rosanne Cash with Krista Tippett

[Unedited] Rosanne Cash with Krista TippettThis unedited conversation with Rosanne Cash comes from our produced show "Rosanne Cash, Time Traveler."

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.

See more at www.onbeing.org/program/rosanne-cash-time-traveler/1048

Ellen Langer — Science of Mindlessness and Mindfulness

Ellen Langer — Science of Mindlessness and Mindfulness

Social psychologist Ellen Langer's unconventional studies have long suggested what brain science is now revealing: our experiences are formed by the words and ideas we attach to them. Naming something "play" rather than "work" can mean the difference between delight and drudgery. She is one of the early pioneers — along with figures like Jon Kabat-Zinn and Herbert Benson — in drawing a connection between mindlessness and unhappiness, between mindfulness and health. Dr. Langer describes mindfulness as achievable without meditation or yoga — as “the simple act of actively noticing things.”