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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.
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How do we prime our brains to take the meandering mental paths necessary for creativity? New techniques of brain imaging, neuroscientist Rex Jung says, are helping us gain a whole new view on the differences between intelligence, creativity, and personality.

"With intelligence, there’s the analogy I’ve used is there’s this superhighway in the brain that allows you to get from point A to point B. With creativity, it’s a slower, more meandering process where you want to take the side roads and even the dirt roads to get there."

One of our most popular interviews in which Dr. Jung unsettles some old assumptions — and suggests some new connections between creativity and family life, creativity and aging, and creativity and purpose.

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Sketchnotes of On Being interview with wildlife conservationist Alan Rabinowitz. 
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"A Voice for the Animals" explores the thoughts and life of Alan Rabinowitz. A profound stutterer as a child left him virtually unable to communicate with people. When he’d get home, he’d hide in his closet and talk to his pet turtle. It was the animals that helped him reenter the world of humans.

And now he’s one of the world’s leading conservationists. He’s called the “the Indiana Jones of wildlife conservation” by The New York Times and fights for some of the world’s biggest cats in some of the world’s last wild places. He offers extraordinary insight into both animals and the human condition:

"I not only wanted to go out and challenge myself against the environment, against odds, and explore wild places, I also wanted to be a voice for the animals. I did want to save wildlife. I always appreciated science more than any other course I studied because to me science was its own language. Science was a language of truths that would be there apart from whether human beings were on this earth or not. Science presented certain facts and certain realities. It allowed me to delve into a world that didn’t have to do with speech or anything else like that, that was human-centric but had a life of its own."
~Trent Gilliss, senior editor
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We had to cut quite a few stellar moments from Krista Tippett’s conversation with theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss for the radio show and podcast. He’s a devoted atheist who has some provocative things to say about religion, the Higgs field, our country’s literacy about science and how it should be talked about in the same way as we discuss film or the arts.

Our unedited interview with him allows for the fullest listening, and it’s definitely worth your time.

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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We get a fair number of people asking us to include more overt atheists in our weekly public radio program and podcast. If you’re one of those listeners, this week’s conversation with theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss will be right up your alley.

He’s an energetic, witty thinker in the New Atheist movement who takes aim — fairly or unfairly — at religious believers. But, more importantly, his way of thinking about science as an integral part of our cultural formation and how many of us are let off the hook all-too-easily when we don’t know basic scientific principles.

His latest book is A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing. And if you’re at all a sci-fi fan, then The Physics of Star Trek is a great read for you.

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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A reframed, redemptive conversation about same-sex marriage with the subject before the Supreme Court. Coming to the gay marriage debate from two, predictable opposing directions, David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch both have an equal desire to strengthen the institution of marriage. They’re now showing all of us another way forward in grappling with the future of marriage.

This live event is part of On Being's continuing series, The Civil Conversations Project. Check it out. We are addressing all types of difficult topics, taking them head-on but from an angle.

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On this sad day commemorating 45 years since MLK’s death, a reminder that his message of nonviolence and the beloved community lives on in the work of one of his closest friends and confidants, Congressman John Lewis.

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An hour with the extraordinary humanity of Congressman John Lewis. The civil rights movement he helped animate was — as he tells it — love in action. He opens up the art and the discipline that made nonviolence work then — and that he offers up for our common life even today. John Lewis so gives voice to the meaning of Passover and Holy Week.

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Krista Tippett interviews civil rights legend and Congressman John Lewis in Montgomery, Alabama during the Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Amazing man!

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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Do the Heagle.
Our technical director Chris Heagle does a lot of dancing in the minutes before the interview when the host and guest take their seats. Mic positioning, sound checks, water ready… just a few of the things our resident expert makes perfect in a quiet, frenzied pace before Krista Tippett sat down with poet Marie Howe at the College of Saint Benedict.
~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Do the Heagle.

Our technical director Chris Heagle does a lot of dancing in the minutes before the interview when the host and guest take their seats. Mic positioning, sound checks, water ready… just a few of the things our resident expert makes perfect in a quiet, frenzied pace before Krista Tippett sat down with poet Marie Howe at the College of Saint Benedict.

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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We release the unedited interviews of all our produced one-hour shows. Time constraints are often a good thing, helping us prune the tree to a more perfect form. But, it doesn’t come without a cost.

Sometimes we have to kill our darlings, and leave them strewn on the cutting room floor. And this conversation with Maria Tatar is a great example of editorial decisions made with a direction in mind. Listen to this unedited interview, and I think you’ll find it an entirely additive experience.

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On Saturday, Krista Tippett interviewed New York poet laureate Marie Howe in the beautiful old library at the College of Saint Benedict under the watchful eyes of the Virgin Mary (Salve Regina). Can’t wait to produce this show for On Being.
Photo by Trent Gilliss

On Saturday, Krista Tippett interviewed New York poet laureate Marie Howe in the beautiful old library at the College of Saint Benedict under the watchful eyes of the Virgin Mary (Salve Regina). Can’t wait to produce this show for On Being.

Photo by Trent Gilliss

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This week’s show came about in the best possible way — while browsing illustrated books about classic literature at a quaint children’s book shop in Minneapolis (The Wild Rumpus). I pitched the brilliant folklorist Maria Tatar as a guest who could talk about why all these timeless stories are infusing our culture in fresh ways these days. The popularity of Game of Thrones and The Vampire Diaries is a testament to the great, inventive work being done.

The result? "The Great Cauldron of Story: Why Fairy Tales Are for Adults Again."

Fairy tales don’t only belong to the domain of childhood. These stories’ overt themes are threaded throughout hit TV series like True BloodGrimm, and Once Upon a Time too. These stories survive, says Maria Tatar, by adapting across cultures and history. They are carriers of the plots we endlessly re-work in the narratives of our lives — helping us work through things like fear and hope.

I think you’re going to dig this conversation. If so, spread the word: reblog, tweet, post on your own site, you name it.

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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With the abundance of coverage of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican, here’s our show about a Jesuit priest who’s living a life of Christian service that flies under the radar. Father Greg Boyle’s gang intervention programs in Los Angeles are becoming more well-known, but his ideas behind them often get short shrift.

He makes winsome connections between service and delight, and compassion and awe. He heads Homeboy Industries, which employs former gang members in a constellation of businesses. This is not work of helping, he says, but of finding kinship. The point of Christian service, as he lives it, is about “our common calling to delight in one another.”

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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Esoteric teachings on reincarnation and consciousness; simple teachings on compassion and ethics. Geshe Thupten Jinpa is a man who finishes the Dalai Lama’s English sentences. This On Being interview with the philosopher and former monk, now a husband and father of two daughters, is a meditation on what happens when the ancient tradition embodied in the Dalai Lama meets science and life.

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