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.
The folk rock duo Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have been making music for over 25 years. They’re known for their social activism on-stage and off, but long before they became the Indigo Girls, they were singing in church choirs. They see music as a continuum of human existence, intertwined with spiritual life in a way that can’t be pinned down.
Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are singer-songwriters who have been making music together as the Indigo Girls for 30 years. Their latest album, "One Lost Day," was released in June 2015. Emily Saliers is also the co-author of "A Song to Sing, A Life to Live: Reflections on Music as a Spiritual Practice." Amy Ray's latest solo album, "Goodnight Tender," was released in January 2014. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Amy Ray and Emily Saliers — Music and Finding God in Church and Smoky Bars."
The philosopher Simone Weil defined prayer as “absolutely unmixed attention.” The artist Ann Hamilton embodies this notion in her sweeping works of art that bring all the senses together. She uses her hands to create installations that are both visually astounding and surprisingly intimate, and meet a longing many of us share, as she puts it, to be alone together.
Ann Hamilton is a visual artist and self-described maker. She is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Art at Ohio State University. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Ann Hamilton — Making, and the Spaces We Share." Find more at onbeing.org.
“Our world is rich,” Lisa Randall has written, “so rich that two of the most important questions particle physicists ask are: Why this richness? How is all the matter that I see related?” As one of the most influential theoretical physicists working today, she's increasingly interested in the interconnectedness between fields that have previously operated more autonomously: astronomy, biology, and paleontology. She’s pursuing a theory that “dark matter” might have created the cosmic event that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs — and hence humanity’s rise as a species. We explore what she’s discovering, as well as the human questions and takeaways her work throws into relief.
Lisa Randall is the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University. Her new book is Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe
. She's also the author of Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions
and Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World
. This interview was edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Lisa Randall — Dark Matter and the Astounding Interconnectedness of Everything." Find more at onbeing.org.
The wise and lyrical writer Adam Gopnik muses on the ironies of spiritual life in a secular age through the lens of his many fascinations — from parenting, to the arts, to Darwin. He touches on all these things in a conversation inspired by his foreword to The Good Book, in which novelists, essayists, and activists who are not known as religious thinkers write about their favorite biblical passages. Our ancestors acknowledged doubt while practicing faith, he says; we moderns are drawn to faith while practicing doubt.
Adam Gopnik is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. He is the author of several books, including "Paris to the Moon" and "Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life." He wrote the foreword for "The Good Book," edited by Andrew Blauner. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Adam Gopnik — Practicing Doubt, Redrawing Faith." Find more at onbeing.org.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and one of the world’s deep thinkers on religion in our age. He’s just released a new book, Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence. In this intimate conversation with Krista, he speaks about how Jewish and other religious ideas can inform modern challenges. Rabbi Sacks says that the faithful can and must cultivate their own deepest truths — while finding God in the face of the stranger and the religious other.
Jonathan Sacks was Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth for 22 years. He is now the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University and the Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University. He is also Professor of Law, Ethics and the Bible at King’s College London. His books include "The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning," "The Dignity of Difference," and his latest, "Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence." This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode “Jonathan Sacks — The Dignity of Difference." Find more at onbeing.org.
The organizational psychologist Adam Grant, who many know from his New York Times columns, describes three orientations of which we are all capable: the givers, the takers, and the matchers. These influence whether organizations are joyful or toxic for human beings. His studies are dispelling a conventional wisdom that selfish takers are the most likely to succeed professionally. And he is wise about practicing generosity in organizational life — what he calls making “microloans of our knowledge, our skills, our connections to other people” — in a way that is transformative for others, ourselves, and our places of work.
Adam Grant is a professor of psychology at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is the youngest tenured and highest rated professor. He is a regular contributor to The New York Times. He has consulted for numerous organizations, including Google, the United Nations, and the U.S. Army. He became known to many through his popular book, "Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success." His forthcoming book, "Originals," will be published in February, 2016. This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Adam Grant —
Successful Givers, Toxic Takers, and the Life We Spend at Work." Find more at onbeing.org.