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On Being with Krista Tippett

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Wisdom to replenish and orient in a tender, tumultuous time to be alive.

Spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, and poetry.

Conversations to live by.

Fall 2023 season now available for listening in full: on the intelligence that lives in the human body — and, beyond the hype and the doom, what is the new AI calling us to as human beings? With Kate Bowler, Kerry Washington, Nick Cave, Reid Hoffman, Latanya Sweeney, Baratunde Thurston, Sara Hendren, Matthew Sanford, Clint Smith, and Christiana Figueres.

Also: a 20-year archive of beloved, celebrated, revelatory shows, with Mary Oliver, John O'Donohue, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ada Limón, Isabel Wilkerson, Desmond Tutu. And so much more.

Explore at onbeing.org.
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Here are some experiences to which Nick Cave gives voice and song: the "universal condition" of yearning, and of loss; a "spirituality of rigor"; and the transcendent and moral dimensions of what music is about. This Australian musician, writer, and actor first made a name in the wild world of ’80s post-punk and later with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. He also underwent public struggles with addiction and rehab.Since the accidental death of his 15-year-old son Arthur in 2015, and a few years later, the death of his eldest child Jethro, he has entered yet another transfigured era, co-created an exquisite book called Faith, Hope and Carnage, and become a frank and eloquent interlocutor on grief. As a human and a songwriter, Nick Cave is an embodiment of a life examined and evolved. He sat with Krista in the On Being studio in Minneapolis, and the gorgeous conversation that followed is woven in this episode with his gorgeous music.Nick Cave is the songwriter and lead singer of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Their albums include Ghosteen, Skeleton Tree, and Push the Sky Away. Nick's recent albums with frequent collaborator Warren Ellis include Seven Psalms and Carnage. His book, which takes the form of an electric conversation with journalist Seán O’Hagan, is Faith, Hope and Carnage. He frequently writes, and answers questions from his fans, on the website The Red Hand Files.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.______Sign up for The Pause — a Saturday morning companion newsletter to the On Being podcast season, and news and invitations all year round.
A Word from Krista

A Word from Krista

2023-11-2102:21

A little musing on this season, the spectacular finale headed your way — and ways to stay connected in the time ahead.Subscribe to the The PauseFind our Starting PointsPeruse our LibrariesAnd on YouTube, grab a Poem to Carry in Your Pocket 
Our built world is designed around something called "normal," and yet every single one of our bodies is mysterious, and constantly adapting for better or worse — and always, always changing. This is a fact so ordinary — and yet not something most of us routinely pause to know and to ponder and work with. But Sara Hendren has made it her passion, bringing to it her varied vocations and gifts: being a painter and loving how art reveals truth not by way of simplicity, but by juxtaposition; teaching design to engineering students; parenting three beloved children, one of whom has Down syndrome. This is a conversation that will have you moving through the world both marveling at the ordinary adaptations that bodies make and asking, in Sara's words, "restless and generative questions": of why we organize the physical world as though vulnerability and needs for assistance are not commonplace — indeed salutary — forms of experience that reveal the genius of what being human is all about.Sara Hendren is an associate professor in the College of Arts, Media, and Design at Northeastern University in Boston. She previously spent nine years teaching at Olin College of Engineering. Her book is What Can a Body Do? How We Meet the Built World. You can also find some of her short pieces of writing on her website, sarahendren.com. Her newsletter is undefended / undefeated.  Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.______Sign up for The Pause — a Saturday morning companion newsletter to the On Being podcast season, and news and invitations all year round.
The ecological crisis we are standing before is at once civilizational and personal — intimately close to each of us in the places we love and inhabit, and unfolding at a species level. And as much as anyone alive on the planet now, Christiana Figueres has felt the overwhelm of this and stepped into service. She gives voice so eloquently to the grief that we feel and must allow to bind us to each other — and what she sees as a spiritual evolution the natural world is calling us to. If you have wondered how to keep hope alive amidst a thousand reasons to despair, if you are ready to take your despair as fuel — intrigued by the idea of stepping into love and immediate realities of abundance and regeneration — this conversation is for you.Christiana Figueres was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 2010-2016, and is known as the powerhouse who made the 2015 Paris Agreement possible — in which 195 nations worked with their wildly diverse conditions and points of view on the what and the when and the why, and yet made commitments in service of our hurting planet and the future of humanity. Her book, written together with Tom Rivett-Carnac, is The Future We Choose. She is founding partner of the organization Global Optimism and co-hosts the podcast Outrage + Optimism.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.______Sign up for The Pause — a Saturday morning companion to the podcast season.
This phrase recurs throughout Clint Smith's writing: "in the marrow of our bones." It is an example of how words can hold encrypted wisdom — in this case, the reality that memory and emotion lodge in us physically. Words and phrases have carried this truth forward in time long before we had the science to understand it.Clint Smith is best known for his 2021 book, How the Word Is Passed, but he is first and foremost a poet. He and Krista discuss how his various life chapters have been real-world laboratories for him to investigate the entanglement between language and the intelligence of the body — and the related entanglement between history and place. His poetic sensibility has singularly opened readers to approach a generative reckoning with American history — on whatever side of that history our ancestors stood. Clint Smith has a way of making reckoning possible at a humanizing, softening, bodily level — in the marrow, you might say, of our bones.Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. His narrative nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and many other honors. His poetry collections are Counting Descent and Above Ground.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.______Sign up for The Pause — a Saturday morning companion to the podcast season. 
Clint Smith reads his poem, “Dance Party.” This poem is featured in Clint’s On Being conversation with Krista, “What We Know in the ‘Marrow of Our Bones.’” Find more of his poems, along with our full collection of poetry films and readings from two decades of the show, at Experience Poetry.Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. His narrative nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and many other honors. His poetry collections are Counting Descent and Above Ground.
Clint Smith reads his poem, “Ode to Those First Fifteen Minutes After the Kids Are Finally Asleep.” This poem is featured in Clint’s On Being conversation with Krista, “What We Know in the ‘Marrow of Our Bones.’” Find more of his poems, along with our full collection of poetry films and readings from two decades of the show, at Experience Poetry.Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. His narrative nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and many other honors. His poetry collections are Counting Descent and Above Ground.
This phrase recurs throughout Clint Smith's writing: "in the marrow of our bones." It is an example of how words can hold encrypted wisdom — in this case, the reality that memory and emotion lodge in us physically. Words and phrases have carried this truth forward in time long before we had the science to understand it.Clint Smith is best known for his 2021 book, How the Word Is Passed, but he is first and foremost a poet. He and Krista discuss how his various life chapters have been real-world laboratories for him to investigate the entanglement between language and the intelligence of the body — and the related entanglement between history and place. His poetic sensibility has singularly opened readers to approach a generative reckoning with American history — on whatever side of that history our ancestors stood. Clint Smith has a way of making reckoning possible at a humanizing, softening, bodily level — in the marrow, you might say, of our bones.Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. His narrative nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and many other honors. His poetry collections are Counting Descent and Above Ground.This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Clint Smith — What We Know in the ‘Marrow of Our Bones.’" Find the transcript for that show at onbeing.org.______Sign up for The Pause — a Saturday morning companion to the podcast season.
From Krista: I loved being interviewed by Dan Harris as much as I've ever enjoyed being on the other side of the microphone (as the saying goes). He drew things out of me I didn't know I had to say. And I'm so impressed with him as a human being, and what he's created with Ten Percent Happier. I hope you might enjoy this!Listen to Ten Percent Happier in all the podcast places: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast______The host of On Being shares lessons learned from 20 years of interviews, including: how to live with open questions, counterprogramming against your negativity bias, and getting over the God question.In this episode we talk about:Getting over the God question when it comes to contemplating religionWhy Western culture has such a dearth of ways to talk about loveWhy she thinks the core of relationships is not about agreeing but about navigating differencesTuning in to our generative agencyHer definition of a wise life as distinct from a knowledgeable or accomplished oneWhy she believes it is as important to know what you love as it is to know what you hateLearning to love big open questions instead of rushing to answersWhy the things we get paid to do may not define whether we're living a worthy life And getting our intentions straight and then trying not to tie them too tightly to our goals
You may not know Latanya Sweeney's name, but as much as any other single person — and with good humor and grace as well as brilliance — she has led on the frontier of our gradual understanding of how far from anonymous you and I are in almost any database we inhabit, and how far from neutral all the algorithms by which we increasingly navigate our lives.In this conversation with Krista, she brings a helpful big-picture view to our lives with technology, seeing how far we've come — and not — since the advent of the internet, and setting that in the context of history both industrial and digital. She insists that we don't have to accept the harms of digital technology in order to reap its benefits — and she sees very clearly the work that will take. From where she sits, the new generative AI is in equal measure an exciting and alarming evolution. And she shares with us the questions she is asking, and how she and her students and the emerging field of Public Interest Technology might help us all make sense.This is the second in what will be an ongoing occasional On Being episode to delve into and accompany our lives with this new technological revolution — training clear eyes on downsides and dangers while cultivating an attention to how we might elevate the new frontier of AI — and how, in fact, it might invite us more deeply into our humanity.Latanya Sweeney is the Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and Technology at the Harvard Kennedy School, among her many other credentials. She’s founder and director of Harvard’s Public Interest Tech Lab and its Data Privacy Lab, and she’s the former Chief Technology Officer at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.______Sign up for The Pause — a Saturday morning companion to the podcast season, and a way to stay on top of all On Being happenings across the year.
You may not know Latanya Sweeney's name, but as much as any other single person — and with good humor and grace as well as brilliance — she has led on the frontier of our gradual understanding of how far from anonymous you and I are in almost any database we inhabit, and how far from neutral all the algorithms by which we increasingly navigate our lives.In this conversation with Krista, she brings a helpful big-picture view to our lives with technology, seeing how far we've come — and not — since the advent of the internet, and setting that in the context of history both industrial and digital. She insists that we don't have to accept the harms of digital technology in order to reap its benefits — and she sees very clearly the work that will take. From where she sits, the new generative AI is in equal measure an exciting and alarming evolution. And she shares with us the questions she is asking, and how she and her students and the emerging field of Public Interest Technology might help us all make sense.This is the second in what will be an ongoing occasional On Being episode to delve into and accompany our lives with this new technological revolution — training clear eyes on downsides and dangers while cultivating an attention to how we might elevate the new frontier of AI — and how, in fact, it might invite us more deeply into our humanity.Latanya Sweeney is the Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government and Technology at the Harvard Kennedy School, among her many other credentials. She’s founder and director of Harvard’s Public Interest Tech Lab and its Data Privacy Lab, and she’s the former Chief Technology Officer at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Latanya Sweeney — On Shaping Technology to Human Purpose." Find the transcript for that show at onbeing.org.______Sign up for The Pause — a Saturday morning companion to the podcast season, and a way to stay on top of all On Being happenings across the year.
A wondrous, buried treasure from the 20-year On Being archive, with renowned yoga teacher Matthew Sanford. Be prepared, as you listen to what follows, to take in subtleties and gracefulness you've never before pondered — or tried to feel in yourself — in the interplay between your mind and your body.Matthew has an immensely energetic physical presence. He has been paralyzed from the chest down since a car accident in 1978. But he likes to say that his experience is only more extreme, not so different, from that of everyone else. He's written, "We are all leaving our bodies — this is the inevitable arc of living. Death cannot be avoided; neither can the inward silence that comes with the aging process." Matthew’s intricate knowledge of that "inward silence," which he was forced to befriend after the noisy connections which most of us take for granted were severed — it’s revelatory. So is his insistence that it’s not possible to live more deeply in your body — in all its grace and all its flaws — without becoming more compassionate towards all of life. And: if you do yoga, you will never think about what it is affecting inside you in the same way again.Krista sat with Matthew Sanford in 2006, just after he'd published his beautiful book Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence.Matthew Sanford is the founder and president of Mind Body Solutions. He teaches yoga for all kinds of bodies, including adaptive yoga classes weekly, and holds regular virtual gatherings with people around the world. A video library of his teaching methods for yoga teachers is freely available. His book is Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.______Sign up for The Pause — a Saturday morning companion to the podcast season.
Baratunde Thurston is a comedian, writer, and media entrepreneur. He has eyes open to the contradictions, strangeness, and beauty of being human. He looks for learning happening even amidst our hardest cultural tangles. And he intertwines all of this, innovatively and searchingly, with his lifelong joy in the natural world. The kaleidoscopic view of life and love and the world that is Baratunde's builds and builds in this conversation Krista had with him around the edges of the 2023 Aspen Ideas Festival — towards an exuberant glimpse of how we can all be more fully human and socially creative.Baratunde Thurston's latest adventure is hosting the fascinating PBS series America Outdoors. He's been Director of Digital at The Onion, produced The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and advised on digital strategy at The White House. He's a founding partner of the media start-up Puck, and creator and host of the podcast How To Citizen. He's the author of several books, including How To Be Black.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.______Sign up for The Pause — a Saturday morning companion to the podcast season.
In this season of On Being and those to come, we are going to train the core human questions on the emerging “generative AI.” Beyond the hype and the doom, what is this new technology calling us to as human beings? What is our agency to shape it to human purpose, and how might it bring us — literally — to our senses? This inaugural conversation with Reid Hoffman is a wide and deep beginning foundation. He and Krista venture into unexpectedly relevant places, like the nature of friendship in human life, and what it would mean to create “contained, boundaried AI” — and Reid's use of words like “delightful” and “elevating” as qualities we can impart to this technology which, as we're hearing again and again, is going to change everything.Reid Hoffman is co-founder and former executive chairman of LinkedIn, and a partner at the venture capital firm Greylock Partners. He's known by some as the philosopher of Silicon Valley. He is currently on the board of Microsoft and was an early investor in OpenAI, which brought ChatGPT into the world. His latest book, which he co-wrote together with GPT-4, is Impromptu: Amplifying Our Humanity Through AI. His newest venture is Inflection AI, the creator of Pi — “a supportive and empathetic conversational AI.” He is a host on the podcasts Masters of Scale, Greymatter, and Possible, which will launch its second season this fall. Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.______Sign up for The Pause — a Saturday morning companion to the podcast season.
“Becoming other people” for a living, as Kerry Washington likes to describe her craft, turns out to be a revelatory lens on the high drama that is the human condition. As a “learning actor,” a kind of actor/anthropologist, she has brought elegance and moral rigor to all kinds of roles: as the uber-glamorous, tough-as-nails Olivia Pope on Scandal; as the wife of Idi Amin and the wife of Ray Charles; from Little Fires Everywhere to Django Unchained. Just after Scandal ended seven triumphant seasons, she starred on Broadway as Kendra, a jeans-clad mother in a Miami police station waiting to hear what has happened to her beloved son. Krista was in that audience, and saw how Kerry attended not just to her role on stage but to bringing a beautifully racially mixed audience to participating and reflecting together. So this conversation has been a while in coming. It is rich with grace and surprising angles of insight — on the roles we all learn to play in the stories of the lives that we are given, and the evolution that is possible in how we assume those characters and leave them behind and grow them up. This episode of On Being was produced with consideration of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike and with external legal guidance. In distributing this episode, we attest to our belief that no statements made involve promotion of struck work in violation of the SAG-AFTRA Strike Order.Kerry Washington is the author of a new memoir, Thicker Than Water, and founder of the production company Simpson Street. Her many credits include the television series Little Fires Everywhere, the Broadway play — and Netflix film — American Son, and the film Django Unchained. She starred as Olivia Pope on seven seasons of the hit TV series Scandal. Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.______Sign up for The Pause — a Saturday morning companion to the podcast season.
We love the theologian Kate Bowler's allergy to every platitude and her wisdom and wit about the strange and messy fullness of what it means to be in a human body. She's best known for her 2018 book Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I've Loved) — a poetic and powerful reflection on learning at age 35 that she had Stage IV colon cancer. From a reset on how to think about aging, to the new reality in our time of living with cancer as a chronic illness, to the telling of truths to our young, this beautiful conversation is full of the vividly whole humanity that Kate Bowler singularly embodies. (Also, as you'll hear, if she hadn't become a theologian, she might have been a stand-up comedian.)Krista and Kate spoke as part of the 2023 Aspen Ideas Festival.Kate Bowler's beloved books include Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved) and most recently, The Lives We Actually Have: 100 Blessings for Imperfect Days. She is an associate professor at Duke Divinity School and made an early name in her field of American religious history with her 2013 book Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel. She also hosts the podcast Everything Happens.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org._____Sign up for The Pause — a Saturday morning companion to the podcast season.
This blessing is featured in Kate’s conversation with Krista, “On Being in a Body.” It's published in her book The Lives We Actually Have: 100 Blessings for Imperfect Days. Kate Bowler's beloved books include Everything Happens for a Reason (And Other Lies I’ve Loved) and most recently, The Lives We Actually Have: 100 Blessings for Imperfect Days. She is an associate professor at Duke Divinity School, and made an early name in her field of American religious history with her 2013 book Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel. She also hosts the podcast Everything Happens.
A big conversation to live by starting NEXT WEEK — every Thursday — from September 21. Loss — and love. AI — and the intelligence that lives in our bodies. Kerry Washington, Kate Bowler, Reid Hoffman, Latanya Sweeney, Nick Cave, Baratunde Thurston … and more.Subscribe, tell your friends, and buckle your (metaphorical) seatbelts.
From Krista: I have been texting this exquisite poem from our archives to my beloveds. Perhaps it will touch you — hold you — as it is touching and holding me.ON ANOTHER PANEL ABOUT CLIMATE, THEY ASK ME TO SELL THE FUTURE AND ALL I'VE GOT IS A LOVE POEMTo call the young Pakistani-American poet, Ayisha Siddiqa, a "climate activist" feels too simple. She describes herself as a storyteller and human rights and land defender. She is a climate advisor to the U.N. Secretary General, and was a 2023 TIME Woman of the Year. The poem is read by the also extraordinary young marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, from her On Being conversation with Krista, What If We Get This Right?
Hello friends, it is a joy to introduce the new season of Poetry Unbound, which is underway. As Krista shares at the top, this episode has everything in it that makes Poetry Unbound such a gift in a noisy podcast world.If you enjoy this episode, subscribe to Poetry Unbound for new episodes every Monday and Friday through July — and stay tuned for a new season of On Being this fall. We’re pleased to offer Benjamin Gucciardi’s poem, “The Rungs,” and invite you to connect with Poetry Unbound throughout this season.
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Comments (54)

Alexander Boulton

Institutional desolation. It has a good ring to it, no?

Dec 20th
Reply

Alexander Boulton

I think the term "abolition" is harmful because it seems to imply that there must be change, and it must be both immediate and absolute, consequences be damned; it jumps to a hardline conclusion and leaves no room for nuance or strategy. Especially when used as a demand, it seems off-putting, because you're getting rid of an institution that may do good things. It doesn't just imply absence; it implies termination.

Dec 20th
Reply

Alexander Boulton

"Organized abandonment" might also be called something like societal desertion or something like that.

Nov 29th
Reply

Ch Salman

I appreciate how modern lightweight binoculars don't compromise on performance. They still provide crystal-clear optics and a wide field of view. https://howtousebinoculars.com/best-binoculars-for-hiking/

Jun 27th
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Gail Klugman

I have just got back to listening on being and I didn't realize how much I missed the wisdom. thanks for being here for me

Mar 10th
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ID24358571

It's all in the last quote

Mar 2nd
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Noah Spurs

On Being is back!!! 👏👏👏

Feb 3rd
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Sheon McLeod

good good goodnight

Jan 25th
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Sheon McLeod

Cate Blanchett Sexy Naked

Jan 10th
Reply

Martha Morrison

I read the title of this & wondered what it meant. Now I read it as, Seeing the *Generative* story of our time. I understand it with focus on generative. It was helpful to hear that focus on trouble & scariness is a natural function of problem solving. Makes me feel better about it, & I can go about practicing taking in the Good.

Nov 14th
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Martha Morrison

I couldn't find on being on Instagram. What is the name, there?

Nov 1st
Reply

ID24358571

You must let It find you . . .

Oct 22nd
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Jesse Burgardt

Art and voice and kindness and decency collide

Jun 27th
Reply

Jeramy Jasmann

I loved, loved, loved this show and will follow up with reading Wintering by Katherine May. I choose to raise my family in Colorado and love the change that comes with snow here each year. #wintering #onbeing

Jan 11th
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Mahtab Na

deeply insightful

Nov 15th
Reply

Kate Pruitt

I think you will find this heartening!

Oct 24th
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melania trump

castbox awersome idea example here cafefeedback

Jul 28th
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Bill Stankiewicz

Thank you for sharing the great podcast, played it for 43 students this afternoon. Regards, BILL STANKIEWICZ , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBu5urd-8fM

Mar 24th
Reply

James Wheeler

So helpful. Thankyou!

Jan 15th
Reply

it

wow, amazing poetry, thought, feel

Oct 4th
Reply (1)
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