On Being Tumblr

On Being Tumblr

On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

A Twitterscript with Gordon Hempton

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Gordon HemptonOn March 7, 2012, the audio ecologist and “soundtracker” Gordon Hempton found his way to a comfy-quiet public radio studio in Seattle to speak with our host, Krista Tippett, via ISDN line. We live-tweeted some of the best verbal nuggets from this conversation. What are your favorites?


Christian Wiman: A Twitterscript

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor


Storyteller Kevin Kling: A Twitterscript

by Susan Leem, associate producer

Kevin KlingKevin Kling is “part funny guy, part poet and playwright, part wise man.” And, we here at On Being were delighted to have the playwright and storyteller in our studios to share his life lessons and experiences with us.

On February 9, we live-tweeted highlights of his  interview with Krista Tippett and have aggregated them below for those who weren’t able to follow along. Follow us next time at @BeingTweets.

For those not familiar with Kevin Kling, he is a prolific writer, performer, and a nationally recognized artist.  He may be best known for his storytelling and commentaries at National Public Radio. With humanity and wit, Kling describes life growing up in the Midwest with his congenital birth defect, and how he’s been changed after surviving a near-fatal motorcycle accident.

  1. Kevin Kling is in the room now (1pm CST - 2:30pm). Please join our live video stream and chat with us at http://bit.ly/bmE6vj [9 Feb, 1:00 PM]
  2. "I was always blessed to be around good storytellers." ~Kevin Kling http://bit.ly/bmE6vj [9 Feb, 1:11 PM]
  3. "I still think of spirit through the breath." ~Kevin Kling http://bit.ly/bmE6vj [9 Feb, 1:12 PM]
  4. "Humor is a way to establish trust." ~Kevin Kling http://bit.ly/bmE6vj [9 Feb, 1:14 PM]
  5. "For the rest of my life I will have a foot in another world." ~Kevin Kling, on living after a motorcycle accident http://bit.ly/bmE6vj [9 Feb, 1:19 PM]
  6. "Shakespeare could get pretty folksy." ~Kevin Kling http://bit.ly/bmE6vj [9 Feb, 1:20 PM]
  7. "Compassion can have a shelf life." ~Kevin Kling http://bit.ly/bmE6vj [9 Feb, 1:23 PM]
  8. "When you are born w/ loss, you grow from it. When you experience loss later in life, you grow toward it." ~Kevin Kling http://bit.ly/bmE6vj [9 Feb, 1:29 PM]
  9. "There are blessings in my curses every day, even today." ~Kevin Kling http://bit.ly/bmE6vj  [9 Feb, 1:37 PM]
  10. "[A good cry] is like an inward sauna." ~Kevin Kling http://bit.ly/bmE6vj [9 Feb, 1:39 PM]
  11. "With every discovery, a million more mysteries come up. It’s more important to find solace in a mystery." ~Kevin Kling http://bit.ly/bmE6vj [9 Feb, 1:43 PM]
  12. "Sense of humor is not only regional, it’s weather-driven." ~Kevin Kling http://bit.ly/bmE6vj [9 Feb, 1:46 PM]
  13. "We need to rewrite our stories so we can sleep at night" ~Kevin Kling http://bit.ly/bmE6vj [9 Feb, 1:58 PM]
  14. "Nobody’s an artist on purpose." ~Kevin Kling http://bit.ly/bmE6vj [9 Feb, 2:00 PM]

String Theorist S. James Gates: A Twitterscript

by Susan Leem, associate producer

S. James GatesS. James Gates is known for pioneering supersymmetry, a theory that could “explain some of the greatest mysteries of the universe, such as how elementary particles got their mass.” There’s actually a symmetry between these two fundamental entities that compose the universe, invisible partners with names like selectrons (partner of electrons) and photinos (partner of photons). Gates shares with us a scientist’s rich, connected way of looking at the universe, “where we become essential to the universe.”

We live-tweeted highlights of this 90-minute conversation and have aggregated them below for those who weren’t able to follow along. Look for our show with him in the coming weeks, and follow us next time at @BeingTweets.

  1. "My understanding of the word ‘space’ is so different than my understanding of space at age 4 or age 8." -Professor James Gates 1:10 PM, 25 Jan 

  2. “I ended up at MIT which itself was a dream…a school where you studied the good stuff.” -Professor James Gates 1:14 PM, 25 Jan 

  3. "It’s about balance…we humans, it seems like we’re coded to look for symmetry." - Professor James Gates 1:19 PM, 25 Jan 

  4. "It shows up in our art and music, but if the world were perfectly symmetrical we could not exist." -Professor James Gates 1:25 PM, 25 Jan 

  5. "The Higgs particle we believe is responsible for the creation of mass for everything else in the universe." -James Gates 1:26 PM, 25 Jan 

  6. "With string theory we have a view of the universe where we become essential to the universe." -Professor James Gates 1:30 PM, 25 Jan 

  7. "We become part and parcel of what our universe is in a way I’ve never seen done in science before." -Professor James Gates 1:31 PM, 25 Jan 

  8. “In many cultures the act of naming is regarded as a very powerful thing.” –Professor James Gates 1:33 PM, 25 Jan 

  9. “If science conjures, it’s when we get a clear picture of something we didn’t know and give it a name.” -Professor James Gates 1:35 PM, 25 Jan 

  10. "Math is an extrasensory organ for those who learn to use it that way." -Professor James Gates 1:36 PM, 25 Jan 

  11.  “I’m a hidden-dimensional refusenik.” -Professor James Gates 1:38 PM, 25 Jan 

  12. "It’s almost like the equations are trying to tell you a story." -Professor James Gates 1:40 PM, 25 Jan

  13. "When you do the calculations, it seems there’s an imperative to follow the path." -Professor James Gates 1:41 PM, 25 Jan

  14. "We’re not trying to find solutions, we’re looking at the structures of the equations…like DNA." -Professor James Gates 1:47 PM, 25 Jan

  15. “Adinkras have existed in West African cultures for a very long time. They are symbols that have hidden meaning.” -James Gates 1:54 PM, 25 Jan

  16. An Adinkra: “He who does not know can become knowing by education.”
    -Professor James Gates 1:56 PM, 25 Jan

  17. “A large fraction of the fundamental science done at this point has been inward-looking.” -Professor James Gates 2:01 PM, 25 Jan

  18. "Science in my experience does not permit us the illusion of certainty." -Professor S. James Gates 2:10 PM, 25 Jan

  19. "We are forced by the structure of science to recognize human fallibility, human limits." -Professor S. James Gates 2:12 PM, 25 Jan

  20. "By embracing our limits, by embracing our fallibility we become more knowledgeable." -Professor and physicist S. James Gates 2:14 PM, 25 Jan

Photo of S. James Gates by John Consoli/University of Maryland


Meredith Monk: A Twitterscript

by Susan Leem, associate producer

Meredith MonkLast Wednesday, the artist Meredith Monk joined our host Krista Tippett for a 90-minute conversation via ISDN. We live-tweeted highlights of this interview and have aggregated them below for those who weren’t able to follow along. Look for our show with her in the coming weeks, and follow us next time at @BeingTweets.

For those not familiar with Ms. Monk, she is an American composer, performer, director, vocalist, filmmaker, and choreographer who has been creating multi-disciplinary works since the 1960s. She is best known for her vocal innovations, including a wide range of extended techniques.

Also a practicing Buddhist, she is a member of the Shambala sangha. Her most recent album, Songs of Ascension, is inspired by a Zen abbot who described Songs of Ascents — songs which Jews were believed to have sung in biblical times on pilgrimages to Jerusalem and to the top of Mount Zion.

  1. For the next 90 minutes we’ll be live-tweeting Krista’s interview with composer/vocalist/performer/ Meredith Monk —@meredith_monk 1:02 PM 11 Jan
  2. "Singing was a natural kind of language for me. I read music before I read words." —@meredith_monk 1:10 PM 11 Jan
  3. "I think of the voice as a very kinetic instrument. I think of the body and the voice as one." —@meredith_monk 1:12 PM 11 Jan
  4. "Auditions are hard on the human level…I was looking for people who could sing well, and had a radiant generosity to them." —@meredith_monk 1:14 PM 11 Jan
  5. "Auditions are hard at the human level. I like to give back to people." —@meredith_monk 1:15 PM 11 Jan
  6. "I’m really trying to do something that makes the voice universal and transcendent." —@meredith_monk 1:16 PM 11 Jan
  7. "I had the revelation that the voice could be like the body. Like the spine, it could turn, it could fall…" —@meredith_monk 1:20 PM 11 Jan
  8. "I had the sensation of something ancient, primal, visceral, preverbal expression." —@meredith_monk 1:21 PM 11 Jan
  9. "As an artist so interested in uncovering the invisible, mysterious, inexplicable, things we can’t label." —@meredith_monk 1:24 PM 11 Jan
  10. "I was thinking of the voice as the messenger of my soul." —@meredith_monk 1:24 PM 11 Jan
  11. "Performing is such an amazing template of human behavior: of generosity, sensitive to the environment and to other people." —@meredith_monk 1:28 PM 11 Jan
  12. "We’re taught to be distracted and diverted from feeling the good pain as in open-heartedness of the moment." —@meredith_monk 1:30 PM 11 Jan
  13. "I wanted to spend the rest of my life making pieces about things you can’t make pieces about." —@meredith_monk 1:34 PM 11 Jan
  14. "The act of making artwork was the act of contemplating something." —@meredith_monk 1:35 PM 11 Jan
  15. "How do we spend time on this planet? How do you do work that’s of benefit?" —@meredith_monk 1:35 PM 11 Jan
  16. "Why does worship always go up? There’s this idea of heaven going up." —@meredith_monk 1:38 PM 11 Jan
  17. "In the Buddhist tradition there’s circumambulation, that’s a different form, going around." —@meredith_monk 1:39 PM 11 Jan
  18. "I love the idea of working with strings, the bowing arm is so much like the breath." —@meredith_monk 1:40 PM 11 Jan
  19. "Maybe I should’ve called it ‘Songs of Going Up and Down’" —@meredith_monk on her new work “Songs of Ascension” 1:43 PM 11 Jan
  20. "Play is something to really think about. That sense of playfulness is another aspect of being alive, awake." —@meredith_monk 1:45 PM 11 Jan
  21. "When it comes down to it, you leave love behind…the Beatles had it right." —@meredith_monk 1: 48 PM 11 Jan
  22. "If I do use words, they’re used more abstractly…The word dissolves into pure sound." —@meredith_monk on song writing 1:55 PM 11 Jan
  23. "The older I get, the simpler the work gets…the most essential is what reaches people the most." —@meredith_monk 2:00 PM 11 Jan
  24. "Curiosity is a great antidote to fear." —@meredith_monk 2:00 PM 11 Jan
  25. "All of us as human beings are part of the world vocal family." —@meredith_monk 2:04 PM 11 Jan
  26. "The human voice is the original instrument. You’re going back to the beginnings of utterance…The memory of being a human being." —@meredith_monk 2:04 PM 11 Jan
  27. "Most of my songs deal with emotion…between the cracks of emotion." —@meredith_monk 2:10 PM 11 Jan
  28. "It was like two young children just loving each other so much" —@meredith_monk on singing for the Dalai Lama 2:16 PM 11 Jan
  29. @rosannecash - Meredith Monk (@meredith_monk) loved your interview with Krista and would love to meet you! 2:19 PM 11 Jan

Photo of Meredith Monk by Jesse Frohman.


Judy Atkinson: A Twitterscript

by Anne Breckbill, associate web developer

On August 10, 2010, Krista Tippett interviewed Australian Judy Atkinson, an expert in violence, trauma/healing, and aboriginal people. The following is the complete Twitterscript from that interview.

  1. Krista is starting to interview Australian Judy Atkinson, an expert in violence, trauma and healing, and aboriginals.
  2. Judy Atkinson talks about her history-the story of the Hornet Bank massacre, one of many in Australia during colonization http://is.gd/ecaKr
  3. "A symptom of trauma is to act out — what’s gotten into the deepest part of the soul has to come out again." — Judy Atkinson
  4. "The middle of the cyclone feels safe, but it’s still moving. You have to decide to move through it to come out the other side."
  5. "Cultural art/dance is about taking the pain of human existence and recycling it so when we emerge we become strong…" — Judy Atkinson
  6. "As I think and talk to you I’m creating a future. If I talk to you with anger, distress…then I take that into my future." — Judy Atkinson
  7. Judy Atkinson speaks of discovering Dadirri - Aboriginal deep listening, awareness, and contemplation. http://is.gd/eccs8
  8. "We have to be able to put our hands out to each other, sit with each other, and not push away the stories that need to be told." — Judy Atkinson
  9. "Respond when a person asks for help because that’s the best time you can help a person or community." — Judy Atkinson on helping others
  10. "The more we listen to each other with real intent, the more we understand the richness in our souls that we can share with others." — Judy Atkinson
  11. "It’s from the depths of our pain that we grow — it’s not when everything’s fine and hunky-dory." — Judy Atkinson on sitting with pain
  12. "As we make sense of our [pain] stories, the stories change and we transcend them." — Judy Atkinson

Joanna Brooks: a Twitterscript

by Susan Leem, associate producer

Joanna BrooksJoanna Brooks describes herself as an unorthodox Mormon who continues to practice her faith from inside the tradition. She’s a literature professor, journalist at Religion Dispatches, and blogger at Ask Mormon Girl. And Politico named her as one of "50 politicos to watch" as many Americans experience this so-called “Mormon moment” of national politics. 

We live-tweeted highlights of this 75-minute conversation and have aggregated them below for those who weren’t able to follow along. Follow us next time at @BeingTweets and starting Thursday, October 20th, look for the produced show via our podcast or on your local public radio station:

  1. "My ancestors, my father’s mother was an Okie who went to pick cotton in Arizona, where they found the church. " -Joanna Brooks 1:04 PM Oct 6th
  2. "Mormonism was my whole world, my whole imagination, (it) profoundly shaped what my goals should be as a human being." -@askmormongirl 1:05 PM Oct 6th
  3. "Our bibles are fatter! We’re taught to memorize, study and underline, pursuit of knowledge…an important part of Mormon culture."-J.Brooks 1:12 PM Oct 6th
  4. "It’s important to understand that the roots of Mormonism are firmly embedded in American Protestantism." -Joanna Brooks @askmormongirl  1:13 PM Oct 6th
  5. “We (Mormons) were an exceptionally innovative strand of a desire to revive and restore Christianity.” -@askmormongirl Joanna Brooks 1:16 PM Oct 6th
  6. “Mormons view the family as the model for our eternities.” -@askmormongirl Joanna Brooks 1:25 PM Oct 6th
  7. "As we gain experience here on Earth the goal is to learn enough to become peers with God." -Joanna Brooks 1:26 PM Oct 6th
  8. "We are each responsible for receiving inspiration to guide our lives." -Joanna Brooks @askmormongirl 1:31 PM Oct 6th
  9. "Not all of us are correlated Mormons, and experience this tradition the same way." -Joanna Brooks @askmormongirl 1:36 PM Oct 6th
  10. “The church hasn’t excommunicated people since the early 90s…(but) it was chilling.” -Joanna Brooks @askmormongirl 1:37 PM Oct 6th
  11. "There are so many people hungry to claim a place they can feel good about in this rich, powerful religious tradition." -@askmormongirl 1:39 PM Oct 6th
  12. "There are many of us [non-Orthodox Mormons] who run the tapes of our excommunications in our heads." ~Joanna Brooks (@askmormongirl) 1:43 PM Oct 6th
  13. "The experience of reexamining the foundations of your faith can be nurturing.” -Joanna Brooks @askmormongirl 1:44 PM Oct 6th
  14. "Mormonism is capable of sustaining nuance." -Joanna Brooks 1:44 PM Oct 6th
  15. "Marriage has a very specific theology in Mormonism. My choice to marry outside the faith was devastating to my parents." @askmormongirl 1:47 PM Oct 6th
  16. "Every parenting decision has the weight of God-hood on it." -Joanna Brooks @askmormongirl 1:48 PM Oct 6th
  17. "Write anything about Mormonism for the public and at least 30 commentators are going to say underwear, underwear underwear!"~@askmormongirl 1:57 PM Oct 6th
  18. "How many jokes will they make about Mormon underwear on late night television?"~Joanna Brooks @askmormongirl on 2012 Presidential coverage 2:00 PM Oct 6th
  19. "My people were scraping by in Southern Idaho - theirs were at the center." @askmormongirl on Romney and Huntsman’s elite Mormon roots. 2:04 PM Oct 6th
  20. "There’s a lot of flavors of Judaism. Mormonism - allegedly you’re either in or your out." ~Joanna Brooks (@askmormongirl) 2:08 PM Oct 6th
  21. "Obedience and conscience are issues that every thoughtful Mormon has to deal with." ~Joanna Brooks (@askmormongirl) 2:09 PM Oct 6th
  22. "No one ever asks to have a writer in their family." ~Joanna Brooks (@askmormongirl) 2:10 PM Oct 6th
  23. "Mormons love to cry…Mormons are really waterworks." ~Joanna Brooks (@askmormongirl) 2:16 PM Oct 6th
  24. An absolute pleasure, Joanna! RT @askmormongirl thanks for having me, krista. Thanks for making real space for the humanity of Mormonism. 2:33 PM Oct 6th

Twitterscript of Jane Gross, a “Dear Abby” of Caregiving

by Susan Leem, associate producer

Krista brought Jane Gross to our attention at our weekly Monday staff meeting as someone who knows aging intimately from the “far shore of caregiving.”

This Pulitzer-nominated journalist developed her expertise on caregiving and aging not just vocationally, but through living this experience with her elderly mother in her final years.

She started The New Old Age blog for The New York Times and shared her most joyful moments and unexpected insights from role reversals of “becoming my mother’s mother” to learning how to collaborate with her adult sibling. She also has a book called A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents and Ourselves.

Putting words around end-of-life issues is such a difficult task that, even in our tweets, it became difficult to substitute the words “death,” “dying,” or “aging”  literally when she used demonstratives like “this” and “that” to represent those ideas in conversation.

We live-tweeted highlights of this 90-minute conversation, which we’re aggregating and reposting for those who weren’t able to follow along. Follow us next time at @BeingTweets:

  1. @Janegross settling in at the mic as Krista begins her interview! 15 Jun
  2. "I don’t even remember SEEING old people when I was growing up." -author Jane Gross 15 Jun
  3. "Very few people tell you along the way that just because you CAN fix X or Y doesn’t mean that you should." -Jane Gross 15 Jun
  4. "My mother and I had a difficult relationship. I didn’t race to the loving caregiver’s role with an open heart." -author Jane Gross 15 Jun
  5. "It kicks up all the dust of childhood, everyone becomes who they were when they were 10." -Jane Gross on the stress of caregiving 15 Jun
  6. "(My brother and I) thought the faster we moved, the faster we could get back to what our lives were like before." -Jane Gross 15 Jun
  7. "Most of us are more afraid of the process (of dying) than the fact." -author Jane Gross 15 Jun
  8. "The idea of how to get through this by yourself makes my hair stand up." -Jane Gross 15 Jun 
  9. "It’s pretty likely gonna be a friend (to take care of me at the end of my life)." -Jane Gross 15 Jun
  10. "My only personal solution to this is to be very conservative on the financial side. I don’t have children to pick up the slack."-J.G. 15 Jun
  11. "I’m not sure it’s as bad when it actually happens than to watch it happen." -Jane Gross on aging. 15 Jun
  12. "Rather than squeeze your eyes shut, you decide that there’s something interesting about it in the kind of spiritual life cycle sense."-JG 15 Jun
  13. "One of the great gifts of being a journalist is you get to poke around at ‘these’ things before they’re your things."-Jane Gross 15 Jun
  14. "I have seen what courage can be when there is no hope." -May Sarton in Jane Gross’s "Bittersweet Season" 15 Jun
  15. "You find out what you’re made of. If there’s any advantage to having a long slow dying its the time to get things right."-Jane Gross 15 Jun

Photo by Michael Lionstar.


A Twitterscript of Lord Martin Rees Interview

by Susan Leem, associate producer and Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Lord Martin ReesProfessor Rees gives The Reith Lectures 2010 (photo: The Reith Lectures/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)

Early Monday morning, Krista interviewed eminent astronomer Lord Martin Rees, who TED describes as one of the “key thinkers on the future of humanity in the cosmos.”

Rees’ calls for peaceful coexistence between believers and non-believers has made waves among atheists. He raised more hackles recently by accepting this year’s Templeton Prize (joining the ranks of past winners Mother Teresa, John Polkinghorne, and Billy Graham). He has one foot in each world as an atheist who is devoted to the cultural, “tribal” experience of attending church.

As a highly credentialed scientist, Lord Rees has studied and pondered the mysteries of black holes and separate universes, but what placed him on our radar is his concern for science’s impacts on human beings. He is a rare individual in that his sense of mystery and wonder for distant worlds and other forms of life doesn’t eclipse his awe of humankind.

He argues that even science is not unassailable, and its truths can be quite difficult to grasp. In fact, the mere questions that scientists ask today could not have even been imagined 30 years ago.

We live-tweeted highlights of this 90-minute conversation, which we’re aggregating and reposting for those who weren’t able to follow along. Follow us next time at @BeingTweets:

Read More


A Twitterscript with Sherry Turkle, Founder of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self

by Susan Leem, associate producer

MIT Professor Sherry TurkleFor 20 years Sherry Turkle has asked unusual questions about the human side of technology. She wants to know how our relationship with devices affects our psychology, and why it is that “we no longer care if we are among life.” She’s referring to our love of gadgets, robots, and the way we obsess over email and smart phones, ultimately giving them highest priority in our social interactions.

Professor Turkle is the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of the Social Studies of Science and the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. Her latest book is Alone Together.

We live-tweeted highlights of this 90-minute conversation, which we’re aggregating and posting here for those who weren’t able to follow along. Check out our Twitter stream next time at @BeingTweets.

  1. "There’s a phenomenon where people feel their phone ringings when they’re not. It’s called the phantom ring." - @STurkle 1:09 PM 22 Feb
  2. "Just because we grew up with the internet we think that the internet is all grown up." @STurkle 1:13 PM 22 Feb
  3. "I get very discouraged that we don’t seem to have a taste for stopping and asking how can we make this work for us?"-@STurkle on technology 1:14 PM 22 Feb
  4. "What is intimacy without privacy, what is democracy without privacy?" - @STurkle, author of “Alone Together” - http://bit.ly/cJxjOQ 1:16 PM 22 Feb
  5. "If you don’t teach your children how to be alone, they’ll only always know how to be lonely."-saying in psychology via @STurkle 1:28 PM 22 Feb
  6. "You don’t want to be alone because you can’t think by yourself, you can’t feel by yourself." - @STurkle on growing up with texting, etc. 1:30 PM 22 Feb
  7. "It’s teenagers who say ‘My parents text at the dinner table.’" @STurkle on how children also want sacred spaces. 1:34 PM 22 Feb
  8. @STurkle on rules for adults to create sacred spaces in family- put down the phone at dinner, moment of school pickup and on the playground. 1:40 PM 22 Feb
  9. "The greatest gift you can give your child is to walk out of the house without your phone. Show your child what that looks like!" @STurkle 1:41 PM 22 Feb
  10. "We have to ask ourselves what is served by having an always on, always on you, open to anyone who wants to reach us, way of life."@STurkle 1:43 PM 22 Feb
  11. "I love uses of technology that are positive and hopeful and exciting." - Professor @STurkle author of “Alone Together.” 2:01 PM 22 Feb
  12. "In a human conversation I’m talking to another person who understands the arc of a human life cycle." -@STurkle  2:14 PM 22 Feb
  13. "I don’t need to be right, but I do need to feel as though people understand what I’m trying to communicate." -@STurkle on conversation. 2:16 PM 22 Feb
  14. "Whether or not we want robots caring for our elderly will be one of the most humanistic conversations we’re going to have." -@STurkle 2:17 PM 22 Feb
  15. "This is a corporation, it isn’t your mother, and I think people forget that." -@STurkle on Facebook 2:21 PM 22 Feb
  16. "There’s a whole kind of robotics that’s really going to change the way people see the world." -MIT professor @STurkle  2:23 PM 22 Feb

About the image: Sherry Turkle (photo: Peter Urban)


A Twitterscript with Terrorism Expert Scott Atran

by Susan Leem, associate producer

Scott AtranKrista first heard terrorism expert Scott Atran on the BBC and knew she wanted to book him as a guest. He interviews jihadis to understand what makes them want to live or die for a cause. Through the lens of psychology and culture, he also does extensive field work in both the Arab and Israeli Middle East. In fact, minutes before his interview with Krista, he had an extensive phone conversation with a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and shared his thoughts with us about uncertainty and hope surrounding the uprising in Egypt.

Scott Atran is presidential scholar in sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, a visiting professor of Psychology and Public Policy at the University of Michigan, and research director in Anthropology at the National Center for Scientific Research in France. He has briefed Congress and national and homeland security staff at the White House on his research into terrorist groups. His latest book is called Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists.

We live-tweeted highlights of this 90-minute conversation, which we’re aggregating and reposting for those who weren’t able to follow along. Check out our Twitter stream next time at @BeingTweets.

  1. Krista is about to start conversing with Scott Atran - an expert on communicating with, and understanding, terrorists. http://bit.ly/hhb106 1:00 PM Feb 1st
  2. "I’m always interested in those people who are as different from me as possible." - Scott Atran on his interest in Jihadis 1:17 PM Feb 1st
  3. "If I can understand what moves these people, I can better understand what it means to be human." - Atran on his interest in terrorists 1:18 PM Feb 1st
  4. "The greatest predictor is if they belong to a soccer club or some other active group of friends." - Atran on who is a terrorist 1:19 PM Feb 1st
  5. "You too can cut off the head of Goliath with a papercutter." -Atran on the powerful message which attracts some to the Jihadi movement 1:25 PM Feb 1st
  6. "The young people…are trying to build a way forward that’s… idealistic, that talks to their hopes and dreams and is realizable." -Atran 1:36 PM Feb 1st
  7. "You really want to know who’s involved in a plot? Find one of the guys…Look at what he eats…and you’ll find the others." -Atran 1:49 PM Feb 1st
  8. "War…it is a violent attitude toward someone else because their thinking of the world is different than your own." -Scott Atran 2:03 PM Feb 1st
  9. "The principle of enmity: human beings are most mobilized when we have enemies. Can we lessen conflict without having enemies?" -S. Atran 2:20 PM Feb 1st
  10. "Wars are only won in two ways — you destroy your enemy or you make them your friends." -Scott Atran 2:22 PM Feb 1st
  11. "I recall Maximilien Robespierre, ‘No one loves armed missionaries.’" -Scott Atran 2:30 PM Feb 1st

About the image: Scott Atran stands in front of Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron (photo courtesy of Scott Atran).


Interview with Terry Tempest Williams: A Twitterscript

by Susan Leem, associate producer

Terry Tempest WilliamsThis past Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Krista interviewed Terry Tempest Williams for an upcoming show slotted for release on February 3rd. An author and environmentalist, Tempest Williams’ writing and storytelling is imbued with her experience growing up in the American West.

As a wilderness activist who grew up in Utah and teaches at the University of Utah, she bridges the worlds of the oil industry she questions and the members of her family who have made oil their livelihood. We are especially interested in how Tempest Williams navigates these two realms with civil language and an effort to stay at the dinner table, as she puts it.

We live-tweeted highlights of this 90-minute conversation, which we’re aggregating and reposting for those of us who weren’t able to follow along. Krista’s comments follow “KT” and Terry’s follow “TTW, TTWilliams, and @ttwillet.” Follow us next time at @BeingTweets.

  1. Happy MLK day. Having a day off? Join a live tweet of Krista’s interview at 11 am CT w/Terry Tempest Williams. http://bit.ly/2m3aak 10:44 AM Jan 17th
  2. Pre-interview chat as we check for levels focuses on science and religion. Monday, January 17, 2011 11:02:13 AM
  3. TTWilliams: In the American west we see vitriol more than elsewhere, perhaps. Monday, January 17, 2011 11:04:11 AM
  4. TTW: when Brigham Young said this is the place, my family was right there with him. Monday, January 17, 2011 11:05:31 AM
  5. TTWilliams: I come from generations of pipeline workers. They built the infrastructure of the west. The land is spiritual and practical. Monday, January 17, 2011 11:07:07 AM
  6. @TMahady Let’s use #civility. Her name is too long. Monday, January 17, 2011 11:15:27 AM in response to TMahady
  7. TTW: Sense of community is not just human, also rocks, plants, animals. This reflects mystic roots of Mormonism. Monday, January 17, 2011 11:08:52 AM
  8. TTW: the word I play over & over is vitriol. What is it really? It is produced by sulphur dioxide, used to refine petroleum. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:14:07 AM
  9. TTW: I taught writing in Wyoming. Students wanted to create public readings about oil & gas, a big part of the economy. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:18:24 AM
  10. TTW: Drill rigs look like Eiffel towers. Movers & shakers in the coal industry came. We stayed up at these readings till 1 am. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:20:56 AM
  11. @TMahady Thanks for that handle. Monday, January 17, 2011 11:21:46 AM in response to TMahady
  12. @ttwillet: When we tell a story it tells us what it means to human. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:23:33 AM
  13. @ttwillet: how do we build trust in our communities? Often small gestures. Tell a different story. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:25:13 AM
  14. @ttwillet: I understand my neighbor Ray because I grew up with my brothers, held a rifle at 16. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:27:14 AM
  15. @ttwillet: If we can speak of what we are afraid of, we can create a different kind of communion. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:28:22 AM
  16. @ttwillet: 24th anniversary of mother’s death. We are ‘down-winders.’ Nuclear fall- out caused this. Turn anger into sacred rage. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:31:00 AM
  17. @ttwillet: How can I take anger and not become a polemic? How can I heal rather than wound? #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:32:50 AM
  18. KT: You have written about finding comfort in change. Often, change creates fear. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:34:43 AM
  19. @ttwillet: Civil discourse is not enough. It’s not enough to get a smile from your enemy. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:35:45 AM
  20. @ttwillet: I want to know what you really think. We need more than opinion, we need ideas. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:37:46 AM
  21. KT: Where we start again is as neighbors, if our institutions, as you have written, have failed us. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:39:13 AM
  22. @ttwillet: The boundaries we have counted on are dissolving. It is frightening. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:40:49 AM
  23. @ttwillet: When we talk about 9 mill. acres of wilderness, my e. coast friends don’t track. Issues are same. Scale is different. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:48:49 AM
  24. @ttwillet: Writing is solitary. But I write to create community. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:51:16 AM
  25. KT: Your book Finding Beauty In a Broken World : a mosaic is a conversation about what is broken. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:53:08 AM
  26. KT: Maybe in wake of Arizona, mosaic is a good metaphor for what we can be. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:54:04 AM
  27. @ttwillet : A mosaic is a collaborative process. Collaboration creates community. In community anything is possible. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:55:22 AM
  28. Beauty is not optional. It is a strategy for survival. - @ttwillet #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:57:07 AM
  29. KT : In American life where are you looking for beauty? #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 11:58:45 AM
  30. @ttwillet : It begins and ends in the land. The sky as I drove to the studio. After looking at the Gulf oil spill, we saw dolphins mating. Monday, January 17, 2011 12:00:55 PM
  31. They survived. There is an inherent resilience. We can trust that. &mdash @ttwillet #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 12:01:57 PM
  32. In London I saw a Victorian artifact&mdash it collected the tears of mourners. How can we create a container for our sorrow? @ttwillet #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 12:04:24 PM
  33. Krista asks if there is something else @ttwillet wishes to talk about. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 12:12:02 PM
  34. @ttwillet: What do we do? How can I be a better neighbor? The oil that I saw for miles is me, my family’s livelihood. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 12:13:25 PM
  35. I want to be present. And useful. -@twillet #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 12:14:42 PM
  36. I worry that we are losing literacy. Who knows the green winged Teal? So how will we know our losses? -@ttwillet #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 12:19:09 PM
  37. Empathy is rooted in action. When someone dies my father goes to that house the next day. He doesn’t call. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 12:20:30 PM
  38. @ttwillet : We need just enough light to shine on the next step, to show the way. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 12:22:06 PM
  39. My mother left me her journals when she died. -@ttwillet All of the journals were empty. What is ‘voice?’ #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 12:23:48 PM
  40. That concludes our live-tweet. @ttwillet tells Krista to take care, she recognizes there is a cost to Krista’s listening. #civility Monday, January 17, 2011 12:26:16 PM


This post has been revised to reflect the following correction on January 28, 2011: An earlier version of this article misstated that Terry Tempest Williams currently teaches at the University of Wyoming. It is the University of Utah.


Twitterscript with Frances Kissling

by Shubha Bala, associate producer

We interviewed Frances Kissling on December 20, 2010. A longtime force in the abortion debate, Kissling is searching for new ways to talk to each other, not past each other, about our deepest disagreements.

We live-tweeted gems from the 90-minute conversation, which we’re reposting here in case you don’t use Twitter, or just missed it. Make sure to follow us next time. at @BeingTweets.