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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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What Is the Path to Integrating Technology into Robust, Meaningful Living?

by Krista Tippett, host

We’ve been paying attention to Sherry Turkle for some time, as a thinker and observer on technology in terms of the human self, spirit, and identity. I love the philosophically witty title of one of her books: Simulation and Its Discontents. She is a social scientist through and through, an immensely serious researcher into what she calls the “subjective” side of technology. For over three decades, she’s been analyzing the inner effects of the digital tools that are transforming our days — how they affect our attention and relationships, our sense of reality, and even of “aliveness.”

Alone Together by Sherry TurkleEarlier this year, she made waves with her book Alone Together. That title itself has become a catchword for the ironic capacity of communications technologies to alienate us from one another. Alone Together was reviewed in that vein as well — as a call to unplug our tablets and phones, our players and laptops. And yet, as I read Sherry Turkle and listen to her speak, I hear her saying something far more thought-provoking and indeed hopeful:that each of us can find practical and meaningful ways to shape technology to our purposes, towards honoring what we hold dear in life.

Disarmed the thunder's fires.

I once heard Sherry Turkle insist to an interviewer, with some exasperation: “I’m not saying, ‘unplug.’ I’m saying, ‘reflect.’ I’m saying, ‘converse.’” And here is the starting point for the conversation she would encourage all of us to have within ourselves, within our workplaces, and especially within our families: just because we’ve grown up with the Internet doesn’t mean the Internet is grown up. The reality check is that we are meeting the glorious communications technologies of this century in their infancy. It is up to us to mature them, to direct them to the best of human potential, and to develop wise habits for living deliberately and sustainably with them.

Of all the perspectives she sheds on this challenge, none is more sobering than the fact that the adults she’s studied are at least as culpable as any teenagers in giving their lives over unthinkingly to digital gadgets. Far too often, she says, it is parents who are on their BlackBerries at the dinner table, parents responding to email and therefore failing to look up and meet their children’s eyes when they pick them up from school, parents failing to be present with and for their children in ordinary moments that make up the memories of a childhood — on playgrounds, on a nature walk.

Sherry Turkle puts arresting words around what is at stake. On a very deep level, for example, we can fail to teach our children the rewards of solitude — of being able to be at peace in our own company. This is an enduring human challenge. Yet the possibilities for missing it are perhaps more abundant and seductive in this generation. And, as Sherry Turkle reminds us, “If you don’t teach your children to be alone, they’ll only always know how to be lonely.”

Since speaking with Sherry Turkle and taking in some of her strategies, I’ve been more deliberate (not yet perfect) at drawing lines with email between work and home. I’ve taken an idea she offers — of selectively declaring “sacred spaces” like the dinner table as off limits for technology. And while my children grumble, they too are embracing this. I’ve started regularly printing out emails that are substantive or special in some way and putting them in boxes like I did once upon a time far more naturally with letters or thoughts written in the first place on paper.

And as I talk about this in my circles of family and friends, I’m hearing about all kinds of strategies others are devising to make the technologies we love more humanly compatible and even nourishing. With this show, we’re hoping to spark a lively and useful exchange of such ideas among listeners. Tell us and other listeners if you’ve created strategies to lead an examined digital life — to shape it to honor what matters. Please join in!

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Using social media produces a solid, double-digit increase in oxytocin.
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Paul Zak, author of Moral Markets: The Critical Role of Values in the Economy, says people who release more oxytocin tend to be happier.

We actually interviewed the professor of economics for our show "The Science of Trust" a couple of years ago. It’s well worth a listen. 

(via curiositycounts)

~reblogged by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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The internet is nothing but software fabric that connects the interactions of human beings. Every piece of software is going to transformed by this primacy of people and this shift.
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Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior vice president and Google+ project manager in Wired

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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Friday Video Snack: Will You Be the English National Opera’s Friend?

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Well, today’s feature is so darned clever and funny and, of course, British. The video works — and on so many levels: part promotion, part comedy, part social commentary, part man-on-the-street-doing-ridiculous-things. I won’t give away the ending but…

(Big thanks to Brian Newhouse for the heads-up!)

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What is the Path to Integrating Technology into Robust, Meaningful Living?

by Krista Tippett, host

Sherry TurkleWe’ve been paying attention to Sherry Turkle for some time, as a thinker and observer on technology in terms of the human self, spirit, and identity. I love the philosophically witty title of one of her books: Simulation and Its Discontents. She is a social scientist through and through, an immensely serious researcher into what she calls the “subjective” side of technology. For over three decades, she’s been analyzing the inner effects of the digital tools that are transforming our days — how they affect our attention and relationships, our sense of reality, and even of “aliveness.”

Earlier this year, she made waves with her book Alone Together. That title itself has become a catchword for the ironic capacity of communications technologies to alienate us from one another. Alone Together was reviewed in that vein as well — as a call to unplug our tablets and phones, our players and laptops. And yet, as I read Sherry Turkle and listen to her speak, I hear her saying something far more thought-provoking and indeed hopeful: that each of us can find practical and meaningful ways to shape technology to our purposes, towards honoring what we hold dear in life.

I once heard Sherry Turkle insist to an interviewer, with some exasperation: “I’m not saying, ‘unplug.’ I’m saying, ‘reflect.’ I’m saying, ‘converse.’” And here is the starting point for the conversation she would encourage all of us to have within ourselves, within our workplaces, and especially within our families: just because we’ve grown up with the Internet doesn’t mean the Internet is grown up. The reality check is that we are meeting the glorious communications technologies of this century in their infancy. It is up to us to mature them, to direct them to the best of human potential, and to develop wise habits for living deliberately and sustainably with them.

57527543SG009_family_policy
(photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Of all the perspectives she sheds on this challenge, none is more sobering than the fact that the adults she’s studied are at least as culpable as any teenagers in giving their lives over unthinkingly to digital gadgets. Far too often, she says, it is parents who are on their BlackBerries at the dinner table, parents responding to email and therefore failing to look up and meet their children’s eyes when they pick them up from school, parents failing to be present with and for their children in ordinary moments that make up the memories of a childhood — on playgrounds, on a nature walk.

Sherry Turkle puts arresting words around what is at stake. On a very deep level, for example, we can fail to teach our children the rewards of solitude — of being able to be at peace in our own company. This is an enduring human challenge. Yet the possibilities for missing it are perhaps more abundant and seductive in this generation. And, as Sherry Turkle reminds us, “If you don’t teach your children to be alone, they’ll only always know how to be lonely.”

How Letters Used to BeSince speaking with Sherry Turkle and taking in some of her strategies, I’ve been more deliberate (not yet perfect) at drawing lines with email between work and home. I’ve taken an idea she offers — of selectively declaring “sacred spaces” like the dinner table as off limits for technology. And while my children grumble, they too are embracing this. I’ve started regularly printing out emails that are substantive or special in some way and putting them in boxes like I did once upon a time far more naturally with letters or thoughts written in the first place on paper.

And as I talk about this in my circles of family and friends, I’m hearing about all kinds of strategies others are devising to make the technologies we love more humanly compatible and even nourishing. With this show, we’re hoping to spark a lively and useful exchange of such ideas among listeners. Tell us and other listeners if you’ve created strategies to lead an examined digital life — to shape it to honor what matters. Please join in!

About the images: top, portrait of Sherry Turkle (photo: Jean-Baptiste Labrune/Flickr); bottom, Is the age of the handwritten letter over? (photo by papertrix/Flickr)

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French Buddhist Community Plums the Depths of Social Networking for Mindfulness Seekers
by Shubha Bala, associate producer
A year after Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village started its social media plan, the French Buddhist community reflects on what they have accomplished and what are their next steps. I found it particularly interesting that, using Facebook and Twitter, an entirely new demographic has become exposed to the practice of mindfulness:

"The online audience for the Thich Nhat Hanh branded accounts grew in ways that were unexpected, and it grew fast. The initial demographics represented groups not typical of those who came to retreats. Many more young people and also a more equal balance of male and female followers."

Appropriately, we discovered this article through Thich Nhat Hanh’s Twitter feed.
In the photo above, Sister Chan Khong is trained on writing a blog at Plum Village in France. (photo: Geoff Livingston)

French Buddhist Community Plums the Depths of Social Networking for Mindfulness Seekers

by Shubha Bala, associate producer

A year after Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village started its social media plan, the French Buddhist community reflects on what they have accomplished and what are their next steps. I found it particularly interesting that, using Facebook and Twitter, an entirely new demographic has become exposed to the practice of mindfulness:

"The online audience for the Thich Nhat Hanh branded accounts grew in ways that were unexpected, and it grew fast. The initial demographics represented groups not typical of those who came to retreats. Many more young people and also a more equal balance of male and female followers."

Appropriately, we discovered this article through Thich Nhat Hanh’s Twitter feed.

In the photo above, Sister Chan Khong is trained on writing a blog at Plum Village in France. (photo: Geoff Livingston)

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A Good Book Goes Better with a PintTrent Gilliss, Online Editor
SOF Observed uses Tumblr as its blogging platform. It’s free, it’s easy to use for all our staff members, and it’s reliable. And one of Tumblr’s benefits we’re exploring more and more is its own built-in community, which enables us to follow other Tumblogs seamlessly within our dashboard. That way you can read and “like” others posts, and effortlessly reblog them too. At the end of a long day and upon my return home, I came across this photo and couldn’t help but smile and spread the love.
Thanks beenthinking:

Taking myself on a little date. Raspberry ale and mac and cheese.
Tonight is a night for rejuvenation. For peace and pulse slowing. For self pampering. And for carbs.

A Good Book Goes Better with a Pint
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

SOF Observed uses Tumblr as its blogging platform. It’s free, it’s easy to use for all our staff members, and it’s reliable. And one of Tumblr’s benefits we’re exploring more and more is its own built-in community, which enables us to follow other Tumblogs seamlessly within our dashboard. That way you can read and “like” others posts, and effortlessly reblog them too. At the end of a long day and upon my return home, I came across this photo and couldn’t help but smile and spread the love.

Thanks beenthinking:

Taking myself on a little date. Raspberry ale and mac and cheese.

Tonight is a night for rejuvenation. For peace and pulse slowing. For self pampering. And for carbs.

Comments

SOF Facebook Group Reaches 1,000 Members

Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

The SOF Facebook group has hit its first milestone of 1,000 members. I’ll admit that we haven’t devoted as much time as we’d like to nurturing and gleaning content ideas from participants in this space. And yet, it grows.

In the coming new year, I’d like to dedicate more time to this bunch of fans. For now, it’s a great opportunity to invite all of you who are members to Krista’s events and inform you of other things on the radar.
But, there’s so much more we could do to engage this audience. One of the immediate questions that comes to mind is whether we should migrate to a fan page set-up. We wouldn’t delete the SOF group, but let it live on in ways yet undetermined.

I’m sure you have suggestions. Feed me, Seymour (yes, LSOH lives on). How do you live on Facebook? What would you find helpful?

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