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Life Examined

English, Sciences, 1 season, 234 episodes, 6 hours, 10 minutes
About
KCRW's Life Examined is a one-hour weekly show exploring science, philosophy, faith — and finding meaning in the modern world. The show is hosted by Jonathan Bastian. Please tune in Saturdays at 9 a.m., or find it as a podcast.
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Michael Pollan’s long and strange trip: shifting perspectives on food and psychedelics

Renowned writer and author Michael Pollan delves into his three-decade odyssey exploring America's food systems. With six bestselling books to his name, Pollan's pioneering inquiries have raised the fundamental question: ‘What’s in our food, and where it comes from?’ Pollan also explores plants that influence our consciousness, citing caffeine as a prime example.
4/21/202451 minutes, 59 seconds
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Midweek Reset: The lesson of Costa Rica

This week, psychology and education professor at Columbia University, Peter Coleman explains why in turbulent times at home and across the globe, Costa Rica remains peaceful and stable. In the aftermath of bloody conflicts, Coleman says, Costa Rica intentionally chose to stop war and designed their country around that vision.
4/17/20243 minutes, 11 seconds
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Laughter, leadership, and Improv: navigating the unscripted parts of your life

Neil Mullarkey, comedian, actor, and author of In the Moment: Build your confidence, creativity, and communication at work, shares his journey into comedy and writing and how he recognized the power of comedy at an early age. He’s toured the world, working with well-known comedians like Mike Myers, with whom he founded the Comedy Store Players in London. Mullarckey found that the skills he learned in his improv classes translated well into leadership and management.
4/14/202451 minutes, 58 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Mood follows action

This week, Brad Stulberg writer and author of “The Practice of Groundedness: A Transformative Path to Success that Feeds – Not Crushes – Your Soul” on behavioral action and why the best way to feel good and bring about a change in mood is to force ourselves to start or to get going, even if when we don’t feel like it.
4/10/20243 minutes, 2 seconds
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Are you in a relationship with a narcissist?

Jennifer Chatman, Professor of Management at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, looks at the role of narcissism in leadership and why CEOs of corporations “are more likely to be narcissistic than the population at large, by about 6%.” Ramani Durvasula, clinical psychologist and author of It's Not You: Identifying and Healing from Narcissistic People, provides the clinical definition of narcissism. She explains how those traits can be present in others and the harm and hurt they cause. “They're so grandiose, your simple piece of feedback can spin them out into a rage,” she says.
4/7/202451 minutes, 58 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Peace protest

This week, clinical psychologist and Buddhist teacher Tara Brach on activism and how easy it is to unintentionally absorb the hate and anger leveled at others. Brach suggests that rather than reacting with the same anger, try taking an additional step and move to a place of reflection, care and understanding. 
4/3/20244 minutes
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Freud: What he said, why he matters

Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto and the author of Psyche: The Story of the Human Mind, explores the history and controversial legacy surrounding the renowned 20th century Austrian neuroscientist Sigmund Freud. Modern psychotherapy has come a long way over the last century. Many of Freud’s bizarre theories on psychosexual development and the Oedipal complex have been debunked, yet Bloom points out that in the field of psychology, “there's no figure now [who’s] anything close to Freud, either in influence or in scope.”
3/31/202451 minutes, 58 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Authenticity trap

This week, Denis McManus, professor of philosophy at the University of Southampton reflects on authenticity and the allure of being true to ourselves and suggests that while authenticity may be having a moment, it is just one of many values we should aspire to. 
3/27/20243 minutes, 20 seconds
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Mapping the darkness; the science behind sleep

Award-winning journalist and writer Kenneth Miller delves into our long and mysterious relationship with sleep and explores the scientists who embarked on pioneering sleep research. In his book Mapping the Dark; The Visionary Scientists Who Unlocked The Mysteries of Sleep Miller posits that “for a long time, sleep was really [just] a sideline for scientists,” and sleep researchers struggled to be taken seriously in a field, which for most of the 20th century, had viewed sleep as a wasteful habit or something to be overcome. 
3/24/20246 minutes, 22 seconds
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Midweek Reset: When to Quit

This week, Yale professor of psychology Paul Bloom offers another perspective on retirement. Although leisure and free time are appealing, research indicates that a more balanced approach involving some work may be healthier, more rewarding and make us happier.
3/20/20243 minutes, 14 seconds
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Splintering: When a divorce and first child arrive together

Acclaimed writer Leslie Jamison takes us on an intimate and honest personal journey, navigating the devastating collapse of her marriage and the joy of becoming a mother for the first time. In her latest memoir, Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story, she recounts her relationships with men, her parents, her child, and herself, drawing on her own lived experiences in order “to ask about what it feels like to be alive.”
3/17/202451 minutes, 56 seconds
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Midweek Reset: The Retirement Myth

This week, Yale professor of psychology Paul Bloom offers another perspective on retirement. Although leisure and free time are appealing, research indicates that a more balanced approach involving some work may be healthier, more rewarding and make us happier.
3/13/20243 minutes, 45 seconds
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How to build community in an age of isolation

While our modern lifestyles offer many advantages and independence, they have also led to a rise in loneliness as we’ve become less reliant on the communities that once held us together. Casper ter Kuile, former Harvard divinity scholar and co-founder of the community-building project Nearness, argues that the connections and community we build with each other “is what lifes all about.”
3/10/202451 minutes, 55 seconds
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Midweek Reset: The wisdom of moss

This week, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Indigenous ecologist and author of Braiding Sweetgrass speaks about the virtues of moss and how one of the smallest and humblest plants on the planet can teach us to live more sustainably and harmoniously with the world around us.
3/7/20243 minutes, 40 seconds
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‘Re-sparkling’: The science behind embracing variety and rejecting habituation

While good habits and rituals are beneficial, brain scientists and psychologists also say the key to a fulfilling and happy life is novelty, variety, and disruption from our routines. In her book Look Again; The Power of Noticing What Was Always There, co-author and MIT neuroscientist Tali Sharot sources decades of research illustrating that greater sensitivity, appreciation, and innovation happens when we dishabituate.  
3/3/202451 minutes, 58 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Are you addicted?

This week, Anna Lembke, addiction specialist at Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, and author of “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence,” provides the clinical definition of addiction and says it’s becoming easier than ever adopt addictive behaviors but harder to spot the addiction in ourselves. 
2/28/20243 minutes, 22 seconds
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Inciting joy: Poet Ross Gay on gardening, grief, and basketball

Jonathan Bastian talks with Ross Gay, poet, essayist, and professor of English at Indiana University. Author of “The Book of Delights,” Gay’s latest collection of essays and poems is “Inciting Joy,” in which he ponders sources of joy, from caring for his father, to skateboarding, gardening, and playing pickup basketball.  “Joy is what emerges from our tending to one another through the difficulty, making it possible to survive the difficulty,’ says Gay.  “Joy emerges from that.”  Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
2/25/202450 minutes, 28 seconds
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Heartbreak and divorce: reflections on endings, healing, and self-discovery

In his article “Science can explain a broken heart. Could science help heal mine?,” Los Angeles Times columnist Todd Martens shares his story of heartbreak and explores the science behind physical and emotional suffering. Matthew Fray, relationship coach and author of This Is How Your Marriage Ends;  A Hopeful Approach to Saving Relationships, reflects on his divorce and flags some seemingly benign behaviors that over time can undermine love and trust in a relationship.
2/18/202451 minutes, 57 seconds
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Midweek Reset: The Art of Love

This week, philosopher and writer Alain de Botton says, simple as it sounds, there's nothing more enduring and attractive in a partner than being fully and completely heard and understood.
2/14/20243 minutes, 15 seconds
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Addicted to distraction: How our world is robbing our ability to pay attention

According to psychologist Gloria Mark, the average attention span is just 47 seconds. Mark, a two-decade veteran in researching attention, says our ability to focus is declining at an alarming rate and is impacting our health. Much of this increase is due to our modern, fast-paced lifestyles and technology. Mark underscores the implications for children while emphasizing the potential for behavioral reversal.
2/11/202451 minutes, 59 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Negativity bias

This week, clinical psychologist and Buddhist teacher Tara Brach on suffering, the negativity bias and why it’s a good idea not to overly fixate on the negative in our lives. 
2/7/20243 minutes, 30 seconds
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Facing death without God: Spiritual care in the final hours of a death row inmate

Devin Sean Moss, humanist chaplain, writer, and host of The Adventures of Memento Mori podcast, discusses belief, prayer, and his role as a chaplain providing spiritual care. Throughout 2023, Moss provided support and counseling to Phillip Hancock , a death row inmate, before and during his execution by the State of Oklahoma. Moss reflects on his interactions with Hancock, delving into the significance of compassion, prayer, and the unique challenges posed by Hancock's explicit rejection of the Christian faith.  “He was a fascinating human, incredibly smart,” says Moss. “He had the Bible practically memorized and I think he struggled with faith. I really do believe that he wanted to believe, but knowing what he had gone through his entire life, I can completely see why one in his position would not believe.” 
2/4/20241 hour, 4 minutes, 40 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Why we hate

This week, historian George Makari explores the powerful human emotion of hate, xenophobia and fear of the other and says some people “fall in hate, the way the rest of us fall in love.”
1/31/20243 minutes, 30 seconds
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Why allergies and gut health are getting worse

Theresa MacPhail, associate professor of science and technology studies at Stevens Institute of Technology and author of Allergic: Our Irritated Bodies in a Changing World, discusses the origins of  allergies, tracing their discovery back to British physician Charles Blackley who put hay fever on the map. Alanna Collen, evolutionary biologist and author of  10% Human: How Your Body's Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness, explores the link between our microbiomes and the likelihood of developing allergies.
1/27/202451 minutes, 59 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Ikigai

This week, Iza Kavedžija, a cultural anthropologist who lived in the Kansai region of Japan, while researching the older members of Japanese society, talks about how Japanese culture values the modest pursuit - a concept called  ikigai- small actions or interests, like making tea, that if done masterfully and with full attention provide fulfillment and meaning in life.   
1/24/20244 minutes
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God is a verb: The mystical, existential poetry of Christian Wiman

Christian Wiman, author of Zero at the Bone: Fifty Entries Against Despair, discusses life after being diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of his cancer and how preparing for death influenced his thought, faith, and poetry. Wiman, the Clement-Muehl Professor of Communication Arts at Yale Divinity School, examines anguish and despair and his “real desire to make faith more the center of my life, not to live it quietly to bring it into my work to bring it into my life.”
1/20/202451 minutes, 57 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Radical Truth Telling

This week, Anna Lembke, addiction specialist at Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, and author of “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence,” discusses the human tendency to lie and why telling the truth not only brings us closer together but is actually healthy for us. The intimacy created from being truthful, Lembke says, is a wonderful and healthy source of dopamine.  
1/17/20243 minutes, 29 seconds
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Robert Sapolsky on life without free will

Robert Sapolsky is a professor of biology, neurology, and neuro-surgery at Stanford University. He’s also a neuroendocrinology researcher and author. In his newest book Determined: A Science of Life Without Free Will,  he posits that extensive scientific research indicates that our decisions and choices in life are largely out of our control. Neuroscience, genetics, evolutionary theory, and child development are several factors that can help us understand how we act is predetermined, contrary to popular belief.
1/13/202451 minutes, 56 seconds
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Midweek Reset: The Future Happiness Trap

This week, Oliver Burkeman, journalist and author of Four Thousand Weeks; Time Management for Mortals explores our relationship with time and asks how our common belief that our ultimate happiness or contentment will only happen at some point in the future - perhaps when we’ve got a top job, house or kids- is impacting our sense of happiness and contentment day to day.  
1/10/20243 minutes, 5 seconds
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The wonder of water — and why we love to swim

Katherine May, British writer and author of Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, shares her love of the winter months, describing her physical feelings when immersed in the cold local sea as a “sensory delight.” Writer, surfer, and swimmer Bonnie Tsui shares stories from her latest book Why We Swim and explains why humans have such a long and deep connection to water.
1/6/202451 minutes, 56 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Savoring the ordinary

This week, Cassie Holmes, Professor of Marketing and Behavioral Decision Making and author of “Happier Hour: How to Beat Distraction, Expand Your Time, and Focus on What Matters Most,” suggests ways to value and savor the more ordinary moments and says when it comes to finding happiness, it helps to measure those less extraordinary moments in our lives. 
1/3/20244 minutes, 1 second
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Can pain and suffering sweeten our lives?

Jonathan Bastian talks with psychologist Paul Bloom about the role that hardship and pain play in living a good life. Bloom, author of  “The Sweet Spot,” explores why — from running a marathon to eating spicy food — suffering helps us to thrive and gives us satisfaction.
12/24/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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Wintering and enchantment: A pathway to healing and happiness

British author Katherine May offers some (heart)warming advice on winter and explores simple ways to rediscover the joy of enchantment.
12/24/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Tech Sabbath

This week, Harvard divinity scholar Casper ter Kuile talks about the power of ancient ritual and how incorporating a tech sabbath and switching off our phones, can help us refocus and recenter our lives.
12/20/20233 minutes, 16 seconds
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Owls: What they know and what humans believe

Carl Safina, ecologist and founding president of The Safina Center at Stony Brook University in New York, shares his experience raising a small owl. Safina recounts what he learned and why this period of his life was so joyful in his latest book Alfie and Me: What Owls Know, What Humans Believe. Writer Jennifer Ackerman, who’s written several books on birds and is author of What an Owl Knows:The New Science of the World's Most Enigmatic Birds, describes why the owl is the absolute apex predator.
12/16/202351 minutes, 57 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Wintering

This week, British author Katherine May offers a (heart) warming perspective on winter. Rather than dread or endure the cold and dark days, rediscover some of the simple ways to enjoy some of the beauty and stillness that winter offers.
12/9/20233 minutes, 30 seconds
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Antarctic expedition: A treatise on climate change and motherhood

Elizabeth Rush, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Quickening: Creation and Community at the Ends of the Earth, describes her voyage to the most remote place on earth, Antarctica, to see the Thwaites Glacier, a crumbling sheet of ice the size of Florida. It’s melting so fast that it's known as the "doomsday glacier.”  “The only thing I could think of as a metaphoric likeness was the wall in Game of Thrones,” says Rush. She shares her thoughts on individual climate action, carbon footprints, and how her experience in Antarctica framed her own dilemma on motherhood in a rapidly warming world.  “If I'm gonna wish a child into this world, I have to wish this world upon that child, so I better be part of the change,” Rush says.
12/9/202341 minutes, 29 seconds
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Distilling life on the page - the beauty of storytelling with Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li, writer and author most recently of a collection of short stories Wednesday’s Child: Stories, talks about the beauty of storytelling and how she uses stories to explore the relationship between parents and their children - including mothers, like her, who suffer the loss of a child: “That's one thing that literature does well, is to examine losses in life.” In the 20 years since Li arrived in the US from China, Li has become  a prolific writer; publishing five novels, three short story collections, and a memoir. She’s also currently director of Princeton University’s creative writing program. While achieving professional success, Li has navigated private tragedy and loss. She shares how the garden and gardening have become both sanctuary and metaphor for life - “it’s a place” - Li says, where “nothing works perfectly.” 
12/2/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Toxic positivity

This week, cognitive scientist and professor of psychology at Yale University Lori Santos explains that negative emotions are very much part of the human experience and essential to leading a happy life. Leaning into these emotions and accepting them is better for us than trying to dismiss or suppress them. 
11/29/20233 minutes, 15 seconds
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Dopamine Nation: Living in an addicted world

Jonathan Bastian talks with Dr. Anna Lembke, director and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, about the role of dopamine in the brain. She also offers advice on keeping the pursuit of pleasure in check and maintaining balance and contentment, and discusses her New York Times bestseller “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence.” “We're living in an adicto-genic world,” says Lembke. “In which almost all substances and human behaviors, even behaviors that we typically think of as healthy and adaptive, like reading, have become addicted, have become drug refined, in some way made more potent, more accessible, [and] the internet has absolutely exploded this phenomenon.”  Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
11/23/202352 minutes
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The science of spirituality — and why it’s good for our mental health

Lisa Miller, professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University and author of “The Awakened Brain; The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life,”  talks about the connections between a spiritual life and mental health, specifically what happens inside the brain when a religious or a spiritual practice are introduced. Miller, a scientist and not a theologian, talks about her personal experience, work and research to develop a “new foundationally spiritually based treatment to help awaken our natural spiritual awareness..the awakened brain.”
11/18/202351 minutes, 55 seconds
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Midweek Reset: The Power of Subtraction

This week, professor and director of the Convergent Behavioural Science Initiative at the University of Virginia Leidy Klotz explains why when it comes to solving problems or finding ways to improve our lives -  subtraction rather than addition can be the less instinctive but often the most effective solution.
11/15/20233 minutes, 30 seconds
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Time management: A guide to more sanity and less anxiety

Oliver Burkeman, journalist and author of Four Thousand Weeks; Time Management for Mortals, explores our relationship with time and the modern obsession with time management, efficiency, and making the most of this valuable resource. Depressing as it may sound, Burkeman says, the average person has about 4,000 weeks. Drawing on history and philosophy, Burkeman offers a sane and sensible approach to how we spend our time, and suggests that we “not buy into the idea that more and more efficiency, and processing more and more tasks, is the path to happiness.”
11/10/202351 minutes, 56 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Why relational conflict is good

This week, psychology and education professor Peter Coleman explains that conflicts and disagreements are not just normal in relationships but actually a good thing - we don’t learn without conflict.
11/8/20233 minutes, 49 seconds
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Living in reciprocity with nature, with Indigenous ecologist Robin Wall Kimmerer

Professor of American Indian Studies Mishuana Goeman addresses the common misconceptions about Native American land and the ties between the land and language. Indigenous ecologist and author of Braiding Sweetgrass Robin Wall Kimmerer draws on the knowledge of Indigenous peoples and speaks to the value of living in reciprocity with the natural world. A member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Kimmerer explains how our relationship with the planet can improve through a better understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture.  “Human beings are newcomers here to this earth, and our existence is entirely dependent upon the gifts of the other beings who are already here,” she says.   Mishuana Goeman (Tonawanda Band of Seneca) is a professor of Gender Studies and American Indian Studies at UCLA’s Institute of Environment and Sustainability and Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Native American and Indigenous Affairs. She says Indigenous communities held strong ties to the land, and those ties varied from tribe to tribe through language, art, and song.   Robin Wall Kimmerer is a guest speaker at UC Santa Barbara’s Arts and Lecture Series Tuesday November 14th at 7:30pm at Campbell Hall.  Learn more about this and other events at artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
11/4/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Creativity has no age

Welcome to the Midweek Reset from Life Examined, where host Jonathan Bastian takes a small pause for a new perspective.
11/1/20233 minutes, 35 seconds
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The process of dying: From hospice care to meditating monks

Doctor Sunita Puri and hospice and palliative RN Hadley Vlahos share their perspectives and first-hand experiences helping people approach the end of life. Puri, who is the Program Director for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at the UMass Chan School of Medicine, says that more and more Americans are electing to die at home. Vlahos, author of The In- Between: Unforgettable Encounters During Life's Final Moments, recounts some of the humbling and “beautiful” first hand experiences she’s had with her patients in the last stages of life. Later, biocultural anthropologist and Tibetan medical doctor Tawni Tidwell talks about some of the work she does with the Thukdam Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds and how neuroscientists are learning more about what happens to the body after death.
10/28/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Life: less itinerary - more flow

Welcome to the Midweek Reset from Life Examined, where host Jonathan Bastian takes a small pause for a new perspective.
10/25/20233 minutes, 30 seconds
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Conflict, resolution, and the human need to get along, with Peter Coleman

Psychology and education professor Peter Coleman explains that conflict is “a necessary component of the human condition.” As the Director of the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University, Coleman has worked with families, communities, and entire nations on building constructive resolutions and sustainable peace. Coleman says that humans have the ability to cooperate, resolve conflict, and solve problems together because we're “fundamentally hardwired to need each other. We don't learn without conflict.” 
10/21/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Better listening

Welcome to the Midweek Reset from Life Examined, where host Jonathan Bastian takes a small pause for a new perspective. This week, mentor and author of “Deep Listening: Impact Beyond Words” Oscar Trimboli shares his tips on how and why to become a better listener. 
10/18/20233 minutes, 28 seconds
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The agents of change: How women are altering the power paradigm

Kemi Nekvapil, executive coach and author of POWER: A Woman’s Guide to Living and Leaving without Apology, shares how women are shifting the landscape when it comes to leadership and power. Allowing for an abundance of power enables us to promote and support each other, rather than hold power over each other and compete.   “I'm not afraid of your power,” says Nekvapil. “If I have power, I will happily stand alongside you, support you, and elevate your power in the same way that you will elevate my power, because we're both standing in who we truly are in the world.” Katty Kay, journalist and coauthor of THE POWER CODE: More Joy. Less Ego. Maximum Impact for Women (and Everyone), further explores the history and meaning of power.  “Most of the studies of power and what power is, what it means, who has it, and how it should be wielded, have been drawn up by men over the centuries,” says Kay. “Understandably, they were the ones that had power.”  
10/14/202351 minutes, 58 seconds
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Midweek Reset: Sharon Salzberg and emotional balance

Welcome to the Midweek Reset from Life Examined, where host Jonathan Bastian takes a small pause for a new perspective. This week, educator and meditation specialist Sharon Salzberg shares an instruction from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition on finding a Middle Path and maintaining a healthy emotional life. 
10/11/20233 minutes, 36 seconds
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A 1000 mile trek: Lessons in fortitude and healing from distance walker Raynor Winn

Long-distance walker, writer, and author Raynor Winn describes her 1000 mile walk from Scotland to the South West of England. With tents, backpacks, and minimal supplies, their plan was to walk the 230-mile Cape Wrath Trail — some of the toughest terrain in Britain. But after they completed that trek, they kept on walking.  Winn talks about her passion for walking, how she feels “intrinsically enmeshed with the natural world,” and why she finds walking incredible distances to be transformative. Walking, Winn explains, had been the only thing that helped Moth, whose symptoms from a Parkinson’s-like disease had become increasingly dire.   “When we walked on the coast path, it had just been about a walk,” she says. “It had been about walking because we had nowhere to be, but we discovered this change in his health and we'd sort of hung onto that over the years after, because we’ve tried to keep walking as much as possible. “
10/7/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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The art of quitting: Is there wisdom in walking away?

Jonathan Bastian talks with Annie Duke, corporate speaker, former poker player, and author of “Quit: The Power Of Knowing When To Walk Away” about how poker informed her decision making. Duke sees quitting a vital skill and shares some of her tools and strategies. Whether you're an athlete, partner, or employee, Duke provides a better understanding when to quit and when to show grit. “There's no doubt that my previous life as a professional poker player, which went from 1994 to 2012, definitely informs my thinking about the importance of quitting as a skill. Because when to fold and when not to fold and being really good at that decision, is probably the single biggest thing that separates great poker players from amateurs.” Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
10/1/202352 minutes, 29 seconds
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Big life decisions and uncertainty: a toolkit

Jonathan Bastian talks with economist Russ Roberts, author of “Wild Problems: A Guide to the Decisions That Define Us,” about a variety of approaches to tackling some of life’s big decisions, and how those decisions play a part in who we are and will become. Later, Susannah Furr, entrepreneur and co-author of  “The Upside of Uncertainty: A Guide to Finding Possibility in the Unknown,” shares her life story on starting a new business and offers tips on how to move forward and deal with fear and regret.  Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
9/22/202352 minutes, 25 seconds
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Trauma, PTSD, and human resilience, with George Bonanno

Psychologist George Bonanno, author of “The End of Trauma: How the New Science of Resilience Is Changing How We Think About PTSD,” explores the history, science, and nature of trauma. He says that contrary to popular opinion, trauma plays a significant role in building human resilience and that people are overwhelmingly resilient to adversity. Trauma or traumatic events, Bonanno says, have “become an easy and convenient excuse as to why we can’t function.”
9/16/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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The language of grief, with writers Ross Gay and Chloe Honum

Ross Gay, poet, essayist, and author of Inciting Joy, shares how losing his father impacted not only his writing, but more or less everything else that he now does. Witnessing his own sorrow, Gay says, was both terrifying and a revelation: “If you can't be close to your sorrow, then you're gonna miss your life.
9/9/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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The art and science of change, with author Brad Stulberg

Brad Stulberg writes and teaches about mental health and well-being, and is author of several books, most recently Master Of Change: How To Excel When Everything Is Changing — Including You. Stulberg dives into the science and some of the ancient wisdom behind change. The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who wrote about the nature of reality and its relationship to change, famously said, “no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” “There's one tragedy that none of us can avoid, which is that the things that we love are going to change,” says Stulberg. “And yet, in spite of it, we can still trudge forward with a hopeful attitude because this is the life that we have, these are the cards that were dealt, and it serves us no good to despair.” 
9/2/202352 minutes
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A guide to self discipline and the science behind habits, good and bad

Writer and expert on stoic philosophy Ryan Holiday explores the history and power of self discipline. Behavioral scientist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School Katy Milkman explains the science behind forming habits.
8/25/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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Attachment styles: How knowing ourselves can lead to better, more lasting relationships

Amir Levine, associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and co-author of Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love, explains the origins and science behind attachment theory and how human bonding is a necessary element “from the moment we are born until we die.”  As infants, humans’ bond between mother or caregiver is essential, what Levine calls “a necessary element in our thriving, just as much as food and water.” When those patterns of attachment are formed, they can also carry through into adulthood and impact subsequent bonds and attachments. Attachment theory was pioneered by British psychiatrist and child development specialist John Bowlby, whose research included working with children displaced during The Blitz in WWII London.  “What they noticed [was] even though they were able to give them food and shelter, because there were so many, they didn't pay much attention to engaging with them,” Levine explains. “A lot of these very young infants and kids failed to grow properly and develop.”
8/19/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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‘What do we want in a partner?’ Relationships and how to foster deeper connections

Lori Gottlieb, relationship therapist, podcast host, and author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, shares her experience both personally and professionally with couples therapy. Gottlieb says the  de-stigmatization of mental health has helped normalize having a therapist, although its growing visibility on social media may have the opposite effect and creates a false idea of what therapy can and cannot do.  “Therapy is a relationship in and of itself,” says Gottlieb. “A safe space where you can slow things down, look at ways that you interact or move through the world in this relationship so you can change it in those outside relationships.”
8/11/202352 minutes, 27 seconds
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On blindness: Andrew Leland explores how losing his sight has expanded his world view

Andrew Leland, writer and author of “The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at the End of Sight,” shares his experience of slowly losing his sight after being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic eye disease for which there is no cure. From using a cane to learning braille and researching the history of inventions for the blind, Leland describes the accommodations he’s sometimes reluctantly made during his transition. Embracing the experience has expanded his perspective. Sometimes, he says, “the thing that seems to go wrong actually turns out to be the thing that makes it great.”
8/4/202352 minutes, 59 seconds
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ADHD in an era of distraction: Why are more adults getting diagnosed?

Anthony Rostain, Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Cooper University Health Care and co-author of “The Adult ADHD Tool Kit: Using CBT to Facilitate Coping Inside and Out,” explains that the recent rise in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnoses among adults may be connected to an increasing awareness and acceptance of mental disorders, compelling many who have suffered in silence to now seek help and get treated.  “When we look at the rates of ADHD in adults in the United States, we estimate that about 4% of the population of adults has ADHD,” Rostain says. “However, not even a quarter of them have really been assessed or treated. So there's a large number of people out there who were never diagnosed who are discovering it now.” Moira O’Connell, a BCBA (board certified behavioral analyst) from Massachusetts, shares her experience discovering that she had ADHD as an adult, and what it felt like struggling to stay focused and organized.   “I can't be organized,” says O’Connell. “My husband would talk to me and I would never listen, which I would just always attribute to, ‘I'm not a multitasker.’ I can't chew gum and walk at the same time, but what it really was was that I was having trouble focusing and attending.”
7/28/202352 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Japanese art of happiness: From ikigai, to ritual, to embracing old age

Pico Iyer, traveler writer and author of “The Half Known Life: In Search of Paradise,” Pico Iyer explores his love for Japan and why it remains, for him, the “most unique and distinctive place I've ever been.” Iyer shares why he’s drawn to the culture’s appreciation of community and elders. “In California, many of us are trying to be as young and full of energy and enthusiasm [as possible], but in Japan, which is a very hierarchical place, the older the better, because age connotes wisdom, maturity, and experience,” Iyer says.  More: In search of paradise — and why travel writer Pico Iyer says it may be within Iza Kavedžija, social and medical anthropologist at Cambridge University and author of “Making Meaningful Lives: Tales from an Aging Japan,” describes some of the principals and traditions which abound in Japanese culture and imbue a sense of meaning, purpose, and well-being into many older generations of Japanese people.  “We don't tend to think of older people as driving the processes of social change,” says Kavedžija, “but that's exactly what they were doing.”
7/21/202352 minutes, 29 seconds
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The secret lives of cats, past and present

Jonathan Losos, evolutionary biologist at Washington University and author of “The Cat's Meow: How Cats Evolved from the Savanna to Your Sofa,” explores the evolution, peculiarities, and joys of our feline friends. Long before grumpy cat memes, cats were worshiped by the ancient Egyptians, and archaeological evidence suggests they were domesticated as far back as 10,000 years ago on the island of Cyprus.  The ancestor of the domestic cat is a species called the North African Wildcat. Losos explains the evolution of the cat, their history of domestication, and how they have evolved from an ancient divine symbol to the common and loveable house cat. “Cats are consummate predators. There's this wildness to them and they are as good a predator as there is on the planet,” Losos says. “I think one of the appeals to many people of having cats as pets is that you've got a little bit of the Serengeti in your own living room.”
7/15/202351 minutes, 29 seconds
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“Til death do us part:” Hard truths on marriage and divorce with Tracy McMillan.

Tracy McMillan, TV writer and author of Why You're Not Married . . . Yet: The Straight Talk You Need to Get the Relationship You Deserve discusses how her traumatic childhood and series of failed relationships led her on a voyage of personal self discovery and “correction.”  Married and divorced three times, McMillan draws on her personal experience as well as the hundreds of couples she’s talked to on her reality TV show Family or Fiancé, which she hosts on The Oprah Winfrey Network. She dives deep into her own shortcomings, demystifies the stigma of divorce and talks about why attachment and avoidance are the key indicators as to whether a relationship will last or not.
7/8/202352 minutes, 29 seconds
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Biology’s new era: How mRNA and AI are impacting vaccines, medicine, and reproduction

Michael Specter, MIT professor, science journalist, and author of “Higher Animals: Vaccines, Synthetic Biology, and the Future of Life,” explains the enormous impact that new technologies like mRNA, CRISPR, and A.I. are having on our lives, particularly when it comes to medicine. New Yorker staff writer and author of “Future Sex: A New Kind of Free Love” Emily Witt talks about some of the latest research into reproduction and women's fertility.
7/1/202351 minutes, 58 seconds
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Becoming a Buddhist: Two renowned teachers, two stories of transformation

Tara Brach, Buddhist teacher, psychologist, podcaster, and founder and guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, talks about journey into Buddhism and the importance of meditation, mindfulness, and trusting our “inner gold.” Brach is author of “Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha” and “Trusting the Gold: Uncovering Your Natural Goodness.” Later, Sharon Salzberg, educator, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society, and author of “Real Life: The Journey from Isolation to Openness and Freedom,” shares experiences from her early life traveling to India and discovering meditation, and the “unparalleled” sense of learning she discovered while studying under S.N. Goenka and others.
6/24/202352 minutes, 58 seconds
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Estrangement: Why are adult children cutting off their parents?

Joshua Coleman, psychologist, senior Fellow with the Council on Contemporary Families, and author of “The Rules of Estrangement: Why Adult Children Cut Ties and How to Heal the Conflict,” describes firsthand his experience of family estrangement, which he says was “incredibly painful.” Coleman explains how his personal experience led to further research on family estrangement, including interviewing thousands of parents whose adult children have broken contact with them. 
6/16/202353 minutes
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Why minimalism: A history, practice and industry

Minimalism is enjoying a resurgence, but can a minimalistic lifestyle and aesthetic bring peace and calm? Does having less stuff bring happiness?
6/10/202352 minutes, 29 seconds
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Effective altruism and our collective human heritage

Philosopher Will MacAskill argues that protecting the future of humanity is the moral priority of our time. Historian Tyrone McKinley Freeman explains philanthropy’s rich tradition within the African American community.
6/3/202343 minutes, 54 seconds
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A perfect childhood, an elite education, and the horror of schizophrenia

Jonathan Rosen, writer and author of “The Best Minds: The Story of Friendship, Madness, and the Tragedy of Good Intentions,” tells the story of his childhood best friend Michael Laudor and his demonic battle with schizophrenia. The story is a cautionary tale of what can happen when good intentions lead to the worst possible outcome. Rosen describes how Michael’s life spiraled out of control, the challenges of dealing with mental illness, and addresses some of the ongoing failures to help the mentally ill.
5/27/202351 minutes, 58 seconds
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The science, language, and many dimensions of pain

University of Washington Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Mark Sullivan, co-author of “The Right to Pain Relief and Other Deep Roots of the Opioid Epidemic,” explains common misconceptions surrounding pain and what some doctors and the medical community get wrong when it comes to diagnosing pain and managing relief.   Elaine Scarry, author of “The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World,” describes the many dimensions of pain and why, when we are in pain, language and words fail us. “A key — absolutely key — feature of physical pain is the elimination of agency, the elimination of consent,” Scarry says. 
5/20/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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MDMA, Ecstasy, Molly: Coming soon to a therapist near you

LSD and Ecstasy were once the hippy-trippy illegal substances for concerts, raves, and parties. Now these psychedelics are back in the news — this time for their positive impact on trauma and depression.  Today nearly one in five American adults lives with a mental illness, and PTSD will affect an estimated 7.7 million Americans at some point in their life. That’s according to NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness.  Over the past 30 years, researchers and psychotherapists have discovered the transformative benefits of treating trauma, depression, anxiety and drug addiction in controlled therapy sessions using methylenedioxy methamphetamine (MDMA). KCRW explores how psychedelics and specifically MDMA have shifted the paradigm when it comes to the treatment of trauma, and what the de-stigmatization and medical legalization of these drugs could mean for future treatments of mental disorders.  
5/13/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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‘There is life after diagnosis’: Navigating the challenges of dementia care and support

Teepa Snow, founder of the dementia support community Positive Approach to Care and author of  “Understanding the Changing Brain: A Positive Approach to Dementia Care,” has spent 40 years working and advocating for those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.  She addresses our common misperceptions about the disease and why training is so important when it comes to care — not just for the patient but also for the caregiver. She also discusses building connections between patients and caregivers, and how one person’s experience caring for her father helped her build empathy through storytelling.
5/6/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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The future of AI: Its impact on creativity, humanity, and well being

Meghan O’Gieblyn, author of “God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning,” writes about the intersection of humanity and technology. She joins us to explore what happens when technology matches our creative, psychological, and intellectual needs — and how that impacts who we are as a species. Plus, how chatbots are evolving as a useful tool in combating loneliness, depression, and anxiety and aid in tackling our mental health crisis. 
4/29/202352 minutes, 14 seconds
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The long reach of grief: How one death on 9/11 reverberates today

Jennifer Senior, Pulitzer-prize winning essayist for the Atlantic, tells the story of mourning, love and recovery. Bobby McIlvaine died in the Twin Towers on  9/11. In her latest book “On Grief; Love, Loss, Memory” author Jennifer Senior reflects the lives of the McIlvaine family and how 20 years after the loss of their son Bobby, their unspeakable grief lingers on. Senior shares their moving personal story and insight into how the long reach of grief impacted all of their lives in very different ways.
4/22/202352 minutes, 28 seconds
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Say the right thing: DEI and the pathway to positive and constructive dialogue

Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law and the director of the Meltzer Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, provides practical tips and suggestions for a new way of having conversations about our differences that will help us get beyond cancel culture.  In his latest book, “Say the Right Thing: How to Talk About Identity, Diversity, and Justice,”  which Yoshino co-authored with David Glasgow, he argues that cancel culture has meant that important conversations about identity are being avoided as people are scared that what they say might seem offensive or be taken the wrong way. 
4/15/202352 minutes, 35 seconds
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Spiritual language for the non-believer: Jennifer Michael Hecht’s search for wonder

Poet and philosopher Jennifer Michael Hecht shares how poetry provides joy, insight, and wisdom. In her latest book, “The Wonder Paradox: Embracing the Weirdness of Existence and the Poetry of Our Lives,” Hecht ponders our need for the sacred, and says that seeking out a poem or verses that speak to our daily challenges in life can become a kind of secular replacement for faith. Later, Hecht openly talks about her bouts with depression and offers hope to those reckoning with suicidal ideation.  
4/8/202351 minutes
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Raising minors: Prioritizing our children’s future and well being

Legal scholar Adam Benforado explains how prioritizing our children’s future is the least costly and most effective way to address the major problems we face, whether that's poverty, or health or crime. Later, education reform specialist John Rogers says an increase in violent and hostile rhetoric within the public school system damages democracy and psychologist Erika Felix discusses the impact of gun violence, stress and trauma has on kids.
4/1/202351 minutes, 58 seconds
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Nature’s gifts: The hidden life of trees and the joy of animals

German forester and author Peter Wohlleben explains how trees have a sophisticated method of communication and the ability to feel and heal. Author Susan Orlean talks about our love and relationship with animals, and what our fascination with them tells us about ourselves.  
3/25/202343 minutes, 58 seconds
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Understanding success — and why talent and ability are not always key

Hungarian-born network scientist and author of “The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success,” Albert-László Barabási, explains the disconnect between performance and success, and provides a better understanding of what success really is.
3/18/202351 minutes, 59 seconds
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Defining life and personhood: What science, philosophy, and religion have to say

Geneticist Amander Clark and religion, culture, and gender studies professor Samira Mehta discuss how science and religion define when human life begins. Later, bioethicist and philosopher Nancy Jecker reflects on the moral, ethical, and practical challenges of defining personhood.
3/11/202352 minutes, 58 seconds
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Wintering and enchantment: A pathway to healing and happiness

British author Katherine May offers some (heart)warming advice on winter and explores simple ways to rediscover the joy of enchantment.
3/4/202352 minutes, 29 seconds
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The beauty of games and the dark side of gamification

Win or lose — the art and nature of games have a deeper impact on our lives than we might imagine. What’s the appeal, and what do we learn about ourselves?
2/25/202352 minutes
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Black poetry and the unearthing of forgotten histories

Black writers and poets Quraysh Ali Lansana and Ishion Hutchinson share how their poetry is shaped by history, tradition, and the unearthing of forgotten histories.
2/18/202352 minutes, 27 seconds
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Author Brad Stulberg on peak performance strategies and overcoming OCD

Coach and author Brad Stulberg examines the science behind reaching our full potential, whether it be at work or in our personal lives. And shares his very personal story about getting diagnosed with OCD later in life.
2/11/202352 minutes, 28 seconds
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The miracle and mystery of awe: Why it’s good for mind and body

Psychologist and author Dacher Keltner shares the science and mysteries surrounding awe, and suggests we make finding awe part of our daily lives.
2/4/202352 minutes, 58 seconds
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In search of happiness: The secrets and science behind leading a good life

Dr. Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, unlocks some of the secrets discovered via 80 years of research on happiness. Later, UCLA Professor of Marketing and Behavioral Decision Making Cassie Holmes reflects on how those who make the most of their time can be happie
1/28/202351 minutes, 29 seconds
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In search of paradise—and why travel writer Pico Iyer says it may be within

Renowned travel writer and author Pico Iyer reflects on how different cultures and peoples see life and death and find their own versions of happiness and paradise.
1/21/202352 minutes, 28 seconds
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The art of travel: A vagabond’s joys, essence, and philosophy

Traveler and author Rolf Potts shares his philosophy on meaningful travel and how embracing the unexpected can change us for the better. 
1/14/202352 minutes, 59 seconds
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Why humans are kinder than at you think: The philosophy of Rutger Bregman

Historian and author Rutger Bregman examines the science and the history behind human nature and argues that the human mind is wired to be good.
1/7/202352 minutes, 29 seconds
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Poet David Whyte; on writing the unspeakable

Host Jonathan Bastian talks with David Whyte about the power of the written and spoken word. Whyte, a poet, philosopher, and speaker, discusses his latest collection of poems, “Still Possible,” in which he continues to explore vulnerability, relationships, and “the conversational nature of reality.”
12/24/202251 minutes, 26 seconds
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Playing the status game, and why we can’t hide from it

Journalist and author Will Storr explains how status influences everything we do. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we all seek to be of value and feel accepted. Author Chuck Thompson says today’s status ideals have shifted; status is not reflected in the clothes you wear, but more about what you do for society.  
12/17/202251 minutes, 59 seconds
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The science of friendship and the value of listening

Science journalist and author Lydia Denworth explains the value of friendship and what we can learn from primates about the value of social bonds. Author, public speaker, and podcast host Oscar Trimboli explains the science behind listening and provides tips on how we learn to listen well and pay attention.
12/10/202244 minutes, 14 seconds
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‘It’s just part of my identity’: Narratives and misconceptions surrounding disability

Philosopher and writer Chloé Jones explains how recognizing and appreciating moments of beauty in the world around her helped her come to terms with her own body and self-perception. Professor Shailen M. Singh says society needs to embrace a more equitable, inclusive, and humanizing approach, especially towards children with disabilities.
12/3/202251 minutes, 46 seconds
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What’s meditation really about? Specialist Sharon Salzberg explains.

Jonathan Bastian talks with Sharon Salzberg  educator, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society, and author of several best selling books including “Real Life: The Journey from Isolation to Openness and Freedom,” about her early life traveling to India and discovering meditation, and the “unparalleled” sense of learning she discovered while studying under S.N. Goenka and others. “I think back to some of those conversations, because the retreats were not completely silent in those days,” Salzberg recalls. “And the other thing was tremendous friendships, which are enduring environments to this day. Physically, it was very hard, people were getting sick, and the conditions were very tough, but it didn't matter. And that was really fascinating for a Western person to see, too.”
11/26/202251 minutes, 45 seconds
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The art of quitting: Is there wisdom in walking away?

Jonathan Bastian talks with Annie Duke, corporate speaker, former poker player, and author of “Quit: The Power Of Knowing When To Walk Away” about how poker informed her decision making. Duke sees quitting a vital skill and shares some of her tools and strategies. Whether you're an athlete, partner, or employee, Duke provides a better understanding when to quit and when to show grit. “There's no doubt that my previous life as a professional poker player, which went from 1994 to 2012, definitely informs my thinking about the importance of quitting as a skill. Because when to fold and when not to fold and being really good at that decision, is probably the single biggest thing that separates great poker players from amateurs.” Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
11/19/202252 minutes, 29 seconds
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Autism “it's not a disease, it's a different way of being”

Psychologist and Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at King's College in London Francesca Happe talks about the progress in autism diagnosis especially in women and dispels some of the myths. Podcaster and writer Lauren Ober shares the story of her own later-in-life autism diagnosis.
11/12/202251 minutes, 47 seconds
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Where does our individuality come from?

We all have characteristics unique to ourselves, from our intelligence and sexual orientation to our height, weight and food preferences. Where do these traits come from? Are we genetically pre-programmed? What can we learn from studying twins? Why do they display so many similar characteristics even when raised apart? Beyond hereditary and experience, is there also something else in the mix that makes us who we are?  
11/5/202251 minutes, 27 seconds
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Inciting joy: Poet Ross Gay on gardening, grief, and basketball

Jonathan Bastian talks with Ross Gay, poet, essayist, and professor of English at Indiana University. Author of “The Book of Delights,” Gay’s latest collection of essays and poems is “Inciting Joy,” in which he ponders sources of joy, from caring for his father, to skateboarding, gardening, and playing pickup basketball.  “Joy is what emerges from our tending to one another through the difficulty, making it possible to survive the difficulty,’ says Gay.  “Joy emerges from that.”  Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
10/29/202250 minutes, 27 seconds
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Carl Safina: Wolves, whales and the wonders of nature

Jonathan Bastian talks with Carl Safina, naturalist, marine ecologist, and founding president of The Safina Center at Stony Brook University in New York, about the beauty and wonder of the natural world. Author of several books including “Beyond Words: What Animals Think And Feel” and, most recently, “Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace,” Safina explores the inner lives of animals and the role that culture and family play in the behavior of animals.  “Wolves are animals that, by nature, live in … family groups,” Safina notes. “They hunt together cooperatively, but what they hunt and how they hunt can differ a lot from region to region. And it can even differ a lot from family to family in the same place. For instance, in Yellowstone National Park, there's really only one wolf family there, which is very skilled at hunting bison.  “For most wolves, bison are just too big and too tough. So how are they skilled? They weren't born that way. They learned it from adults who learned how to do it and taught their young ones.” Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
10/22/202251 minutes, 58 seconds
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A guide to self discipline and the science behind habits, good and bad

Writer and expert on stoic philosophy Ryan Holiday explores the history and power of self discipline. Behavioral scientist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School Katy Milkman explains the science behind forming habits.
10/15/202251 minutes, 59 seconds
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Dopamine Nation: Living in an addicted world

Jonathan Bastian talks with Dr. Anna Lembke, director and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, about the role of dopamine in the brain. She also offers advice on keeping the pursuit of pleasure in check and maintaining balance and contentment, and discusses her New York Times bestseller “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence.” “We're living in an adicto-genic world,” says Lembke. “In which almost all substances and human behaviors, even behaviors that we typically think of as healthy and adaptive, like reading, have become addicted, have become drug refined, in some way made more potent, more accessible, [and] the internet has absolutely exploded this phenomenon.”  Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
10/8/202252 minutes, 28 seconds
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Nutrition and mental health: Exploring the surprising science of food and emotion

Clinical Psychologist Julia Rucklidge discusses the role of nutrition in treating and preventing mental health disorders. Author Michael Moss talks about how food is being designed to keep us wanting more.
9/30/202252 minutes, 58 seconds
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Kieran Setiya: A philosopher’s guide to life’s hardships

Jonathan Bastian talks with Kieran Setiya, professor of philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology about some best practices when it comes to coping with pain, loneliness, loss, and failure. Setiya’s latest book is Life Is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way.  “Let's never stop acknowledging that life is hard, not in a bleak way, but I hope, in the end, a constructive way,” Setiya says. “ Try to approach the good life philosophically with attention to that, not some abstract theory” Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
9/24/202252 minutes, 28 seconds
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Alain de Botton on the complexity of modern love

Philosopher Alain de Botton shares his thoughts on love and relationships. Psychologist Tracy Dennis-Tiwary explains why  anxiety is on the rise.
9/17/202242 minutes, 14 seconds
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Effective altruism and our collective human heritage

Philosopher Will MacAskill argues that protecting the future of humanity is the moral priority of our time. Historian Tyrone McKinley Freeman explains philanthropy’s rich tradition within the African American community.
9/10/202252 minutes
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How to find a therapist — and why it can be so hard

Psychiatrist Wesley Boyd talks about the challenges of accessing mental health care. Writer Charlotte Cowles describes her own experience seeking therapy for the first time.
9/3/202252 minutes, 29 seconds
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Big life decisions and uncertainty: a toolkit

Economist Russ Roberts discusses the challenges of using rationality when facing big life decisions. Entrepreneur Susannah Furr discusses navigating and thriving with uncertainty.
8/27/202252 minutes, 29 seconds
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How culture creates emotions — and how technology decodes them

Jonathan Bastian talks with cultural psychologist Batja Gomes de Mesquita, author of “Between Us: How Culture Creates Emotions” who makes the case that emotions are not innate but are rather shaped but our surroundings and cultures, made as we live our lives together. Later, Rosalind Picard, founder and director of the Affective Computing research group at the MIT Media Lab, explains how advances in AI can help computers analyze our emotions with the ultimate goal of making human lives better. Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
8/20/202252 minutes, 29 seconds
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The search for our psyches: A new path forward in treating mental disorders

Jonathan Bastian talks with Daniel Bergner, contributing writer for the New York Times, about his brother’s struggle with bipolar disorder and how the search for a better understanding inspired his latest book, “The Mind and the Moon: My Brother’s Story, the Science of Our Brains, and the Search for Our Psyches.” “The propulsion of the book is just acknowledging and dealing with that family fear, which I know so intimately,” Bergner says. “Not preaching against medication but raising questions about the way we view our psyches, about the way we think about mental health, and about the limitations of medications.” Bergner brings readers on a journey, following three people who experience varying mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, and symptoms of psychosis. Bergner speaks with researchers and top neuroscientists asking why we are still so far behind in understanding the way the mind works, how this affects modern treatment options, and also makes the case for alternatives to biological psychiatry.Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
8/13/202252 minutes, 29 seconds
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How animal senses reveal the hidden world around us

Ed Yong explores the hidden realms and senses of the animal kingdom. David Peña-Guzmán discusses the dream world of animals and what goes on when they sleep.
8/6/202251 minutes, 59 seconds
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Global loneliness and the wonders of human touch

In the wake of the pandemic, there is much to be done to restore human connectivity, but loneliness is hardly a new phenomena. Long periods of isolated living in an increasingly virtual world is taking a toll on our health. 
7/30/202250 minutes, 31 seconds
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The philosophy of middle age: From projects to process

Jonathan Bastian talks with philosopher Kieran Setiya, author of “Midlife: A Philosophical Guide”  about the meaning and feeling of hitting midlife and how philosophy helped provide answers to Setiya’s own anxieties and perceived failures. Later, Geoff Dyer, author of “The Last Days of Roger Federer And Other Endings” examines what it means to give up something you love and why last works and best works don’t need to follow a chronological order. Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
7/23/202251 minutes, 28 seconds
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Predicting the future: The true story of the Premonitions Bureau

Jonathan Bastian talks with Sam Knight, staff writer for the new Yorker, about his latest book, “The Premonitions Bureau: A True Account of Death Foretold.” Knight tells the true story of British psychiatrist John Barker, who after learning that several people had predicted the 1966 Aberfan disaster in Wales, became convinced that premonitions and the ability to see into the future were real. “[Barker] had this idea to call a friend of his who was a science reporter at the Evening Standard in London,” Knight says, “to put out a national call for premonitions.” Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
7/16/202250 minutes, 27 seconds
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Behind the front lines of drug legalization and harm reduction

On this week’s Life Examined, we’re teaming up with KCRW’s Bodies podcast. In “Do Less Harm,” the second episode of the new season, producer Hannah Harris Green travels to West Virginia, where despite government push back, activists are handing out clean needles and the opioid overdose medication Narcan. Host Jonathan Bastian talks with Green and Bodies creator and host Allison Behringer about their new season and Green’s experience meeting people who use drugs in rural West Virginia. We also hear from Dr. Carl Hart, Columbia University psychologist and author of  “Drug Use for Grown Ups,” on why he thinks the legalization of recreational drug use is important. 
7/9/202252 minutes, 27 seconds
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Robert Macfarlane on nature, language, and music

Jonathan Bastian talks with Robert Macfarlane, fellow at Emmanuel College at Cambridge University, about his love of the mountains and his latest fascination with the subterranean world, which is the subject of his latest book, “Underland: A Deep Time Journey.”  “I'm fascinated by where matter meets metaphor,” Macfarlane says. “The underworld is … this unbiddable, scarcely known, deep ground that we walk on every day, we walk on the crust, our feet are the things that keep us in contact with the earth, they are palms, as it were, to the ground.” Macfarlane also shares his passion for language and metaphor in nature and his latest musical project, “Lost in The Cedar Wood.” with singer/songwriter Johnny Flynn.  Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
7/2/202251 minutes, 29 seconds
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The weaponization of shame

Cathy O’Neil talks about the increase and profiteering in public shaming. Siva Vaidhyanathan asks whether shame is an effective tool against racism and to promote social justice.
6/25/202251 minutes, 57 seconds
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Is gender innate?

Primatologist Frans de Waal examines the significance of biology and culture on gendered behavior, and neuroscientist Lise Eliot debunks the theory that the male and female brains are different.
6/18/202252 minutes
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Dogs: The science behind their success

Jonathan Bastian talks with Clive Wynne, psychologist and founder of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University, about the science behind studying dogs and what makes them so unique. Wynne, also the author of “Dog is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You,” says that, “dogs, like ourselves, have a capacity, drive, and desire to have strong emotional bonds with members of other species.” Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
6/11/202252 minutes
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Understanding anxiety —and its surprising upside

Jonathan Bastian talks with Tracy Dennis-Tiwary, professor of psychology and neuroscience and director of the Emotion Regulation Lab at Hunter College, about the anxiety epidemic and her book “Future Tense; Why Anxiety Is Good for You (Even Though It Feels Bad).” “Anxiety is a feature of being human,” Dennis-Tiwary says. “It’s not a bug, it's not a malfunction. We can learn and work through it.” Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
6/4/202252 minutes, 29 seconds
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Rabbi Steve Leder: Uvalde shooting, navigating grief, and ‘ethical wills’

Jonathan Bastian talks with Steve Leder, the senior Rabbi of Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles about tragedy, grief, and the loss of a child in the aftermath of the massacre in Uvalde, Texas. Rabbi Leder also discusses his new book “For You When I Am Gone: Twelve Essential Questions to Tell a Life Story,” the legacy we leave behind when we die, and the writing of an “ethical will.” Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
5/28/202252 minutes, 28 seconds
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Schizophrenia: A new day in diagnosis and treatment

For hundreds of years, doctors and scientists have grappled with  understanding schizophrenia. It’s a mysterious mental illness characterized by delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and disorganized speech. Understanding what caused the condition remained rudimentary, and there was a period when therapists blamed parents, and especially mothers, for contributing to the condition. KCRW hears the heartbreaking yet ultimately inspiring story of the Galvin family, where six out of their 12 children developed schizophrenia. Also, mapping the human genome has ushered in a massive sea change in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders, helping put mental illness and schizophrenia in the mainstream of biomedical research. *This episode originally aired on March 12th, 2021
5/21/202252 minutes, 27 seconds
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Bittersweet: Susan Cain on the joy of sweet sorrow

Jonathan Bastian talks with writer, lecturer, and author Susan Cain about the sweet joy of sadness. Cain, author of “Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole,” reflects on the touch of sweetness that comes from sadness and despair and shares how a greater acceptance of these emotions can be beneficial and even therapeutic. Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook.
5/14/202251 minutes, 58 seconds
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The science behind heartbreak: How to move on, and is there a cure?

Jonathan Bastian talks with Florence Williams, science writer and author of “Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey,” about the pain that comes with a breakup and why it’s so hard to move on. Later, Sandra Langeslag, associate professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Aimee Lutkin, writer, performer, and the author of “The Lonely Hunter: How Our Search for Love Is Broken: A Memoir,” discuss the cure for heartbreak and misconceptions about coupledom.
5/7/202252 minutes, 29 seconds
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Interrupted and distracted: Johann Hari wants you to regain your attention

Jonathan Bastian talks with writer Johann Hari about our diminishing ability to focus. Hari, author of “Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention — and How to Think Deeply Again,” shares how our modern lifestyle, from phones and food to sleep and technology, is impacting our levels of concentration, with research showing that juggling from one task to another comes at a cost.
4/30/202251 minutes, 58 seconds
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Psychedelic spirituality: Ketamine and the future of mental health

Psychedelic drugs can induce profound spiritual and mystical connections. We explore how these experiences positively impact mental health and the therapeutic value of ketamine.
4/23/202251 minutes, 28 seconds
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The beauty of games and the dark side of gamification

Win or lose — the art and nature of games have a deeper impact on our lives than we might imagine. What’s the appeal, and what do we learn about ourselves?
4/16/202252 minutes
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Accidental gods and our desire to deify

History is full of examples of mortals unintentionally mistaken for gods. So why do we see godliness in others, and what if we had a divine counterpart within ourselves? 
4/9/202252 minutes
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Silent suffering: Living with long COVID and mystery illnesses

Jonathan Bastian talks with Meghan O’Rourke, writer, poet, and author of “The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness,” about her 11-year search to find out what was wrong with her. Later, David Agus, professor of medicine and CEO of the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine at the University of Southern California, explains autoimmune disease, long COVID, and what the future holds for diagnosis and treatment.
4/2/202252 minutes
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Less is more: The science and skills behind saying ‘no’

KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian talks with behavioral scientist Leidy Klotz about his new book ‘Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less.’ Klotz explains why we need to re-examine our human desire for more, more, more, and why it often prevents us from seeing the easier and more effective solutions. We also hear from Vanessa Patrick, professor of marketing at the University of Houston, on the art and language of saying “No.” Writer Simon Usborne reflects on how gymnast Simon Biles’ and tennis player Naomi Osaka’s decisions to say “No”  impact the world of sports and elite athletes, and ultimately, on ourselves.
3/26/202252 minutes, 27 seconds
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Looking for happiness in all the wrong places

Delve deeper into life, philosophy, and what makes us human by joining the Life Examined discussion group on Facebook. Jonathan Bastian talks with Laurie Santos, cognitive scientist and professor of psychology at Yale University and host of “The Happiness Lab” podcast about her research into the science of happiness. Later, Will Davies, professor of political economy at Goldsmiths University of London and author “The Happiness Industry” discusses why we are so interested in measuring happiness in the first place. 
3/19/202252 minutes, 29 seconds
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Xenophobia and why people love to hate

Jonathan Bastian talks with George Makari, historian and author of “Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia,” about the origins of xenophobia and why people get gratification from hate. Later, Alexis Okeowo, staff writer at The New Yorker and author of “A Moonless, Starless Sky,” and Danish documentary filmmaker Simon Lereng Wilmont discuss the reality of refugee camps and children stuck in war zones.
3/12/202250 minutes, 59 seconds
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Why do we war?

Jonathan Bastian talks with Margaret MacMillan, historian and author of “War: How Conflict Shaped Us,” about how war has defined our lives and our culture. Later, Edward Tick, psychotherapist, poet and author of “Warrior's Return: Restoring the Soul After War,” and Rabbi Steve Leder speak about the invisible wounds of war, the feeling of helplessness in the presence of evil, and building resilience.
3/5/202252 minutes, 28 seconds
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Bringing Buddhism to the therapist’s couch

Jonathan Bastian talks with Mark Epstein, psychiatrist, psychologist, and author of “The Zen Of Therapy: Uncovering a Hidden Kindness in Life,” about the role of Buddhism in his practice of psychotherapy. Modern psychotherapy, he says, has stepped into the void left by the abandonment of religious rituals.  Epstein shares stories and anecdotes about his patients, illustrating the links between Buddhism, the theories of influential British pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, and Freudian psychoanalysis.
2/26/202251 minutes, 59 seconds
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Why minimalism: A history, practice and industry

Minimalism is enjoying a resurgence, but can a minimalistic lifestyle and aesthetic bring peace and calm? Does having less stuff bring happiness?
2/19/202252 minutes, 30 seconds
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Alain de Botton and the complexity of modern day love

Jonathan Bastian talks with philosopher Alain de Botton about gaining a better understanding of love and relationships. Author of “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person,” “How Proust Can Change Your Life,”and founder of The School of Life, de Botton shares his recipe for love, fulfillment, and what dating apps get wrong when it comes to finding the ideal partner.
2/12/202252 minutes
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Jack Kornfield and Katy Butler remember Thich Nhat Hanh

Remembering the life and legacy of Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Zen master, poet, and influential peace activist.
2/5/202251 minutes, 59 seconds
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Addiction: disease or choice?

Dr. Carl Erik Fisher and journalist Shayla Martin reflect on the history and meaning of addiction and the challenges for people of color seeking recovery in AA.
1/29/202252 minutes, 31 seconds
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Outside in: Voyages beneath the skin

Jonathan Bastian talks with Dr. Jonathan Reisman about his passion for adventure and fascination with the human body chronicled in his book  “The Unseen Body: A Doctor's Journey Through the Hidden Wonders of the Human Anatomy.” Going beneath the skin, from blood and urine to the liver and kidneys, Reisman shares his unique perspective with the human body and the natural world.
1/22/202251 minutes, 58 seconds
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Prospects for optimism, with Pico Iyer and Vrajaprana

As we enter the new year, is this an opportunity to embrace some new ideas and gain a better understanding of who we are and the world around us? Jonathan Bastian talks to Buddhist scholar Pico Iyer about the prospects for optimism and what author Graham Greene has taught him about human frailty and vulnerability. And Vedanta nun Pravrajika Vrajaprana shares wisdom and hope from the writings of Swami Vivekananda.
1/15/202252 minutes, 29 seconds
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COVID: A booster shot for medicine and science

Amidst the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, two years of fighting the coronavirus has produced transformative advances in medicine, science, and the practice of healthcare. Jonathan Bastian talks with Dr. David Agus about the future of medicine and with Dr. Daniela Lamas about advanced care planning and insight into end of life care. 
1/7/202251 minutes, 59 seconds
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Awestruck: Why a daily dose of wonder might benefit your mental and physical health

On this week’s Life Examined, psychologist and co-author of “Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life” and “The Compassionate Instinct” Dacher Keltner talks about the science of awe and why we need a daily dose. We also talk with cultural psychologist Dr. Yuria Celidwen about how the practices of Indigenous communities enhance prosocial behavior, and how the appreciation of awe also helps forge community bonds.
12/27/202152 minutes, 26 seconds
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The simple wisdom of doing nothing

Jonathan Bastian talks with Josh Cohen, a psychoanalyst and professor of modern literary theory at Goldsmiths, about the cultivation of healthy aimlessness. Cohen’s recent book, “Not Working: Why We Have to Stop,” explores why doing nothing and seeking solitude — whether at home or at work — can provide balance needed for a healthy life.
12/23/202144 minutes, 31 seconds
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The most impactful ways to give back this holiday season

The season of giving upon us — but what are the best, and most impactful, ways to bestow your generosity? Jonathan Bastian talks with professor Roland Geyer about the best types of sustainable and environmentally friendly holiday gifts, and with Luke Freeman, director of charitable community “Giving What We Can,” about the most effective ways of giving.  
12/18/202151 minutes, 29 seconds
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Can pain and suffering sweeten our lives?

Jonathan Bastian talks with psychologist Paul Bloom about the role that hardship and pain play in living a good life. Bloom, author of  “The Sweet Spot,” explores why — from running a marathon to eating spicy food — suffering helps us to thrive and gives us satisfaction.
12/11/202150 minutes, 59 seconds
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Language, style, and Machiavelli for women

Despite increasing attention to equity, diversity, and inclusivity, the pay gap for women has not shifted much over the last 15 years. According to one study of the median hourly earnings for full and part time workers in 2020, women earned 84% of what men earned. Jonathan Bastian talks with NPR host and author Stacey Vanek Smith about empowering women in the workplace and how Machiavelli’s “The Prince” might serve as a much needed resource. Later, professor of linguistics Deborah Tannen and author and poet Marguerite Pigeon join to discuss projecting confidence through lingusitic style and fashion.
12/4/202151 minutes, 28 seconds
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Why humans love, use, and abuse animals

Jonathan Bastian talks with Susan Orlean about our love and relationship with animals. Orlean, staff writer for the New Yorker and acclaimed author of several books, discusses her latest collection of essays, “On Animals,” in which she explores her fascination and curiosity with all creatures, both feathered and four legged, and asks what our interaction with animals tells us about ourselves. 
11/27/202151 minutes, 27 seconds
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Natural healing: Plant-based medicines and supplement skepticism

Host Jonathan Bastian talks with ethnobotanist Dr. Cassandra Quave about the amazing medicinal potential of plants and her global search for natural compounds — long known to traditional healers — that could help save us from the looming crisis of untreatable superbugs. We also hear from Dr. Marion Nestle, New York University professor emeritus of nutrition, food studies, and public health, on the health benefits — both real and fictitious — of nutritional supplements. From probiotics to vitamins, why do we take supplements without any scientific evidence that they do any good?
11/20/202152 minutes, 26 seconds
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Poet David Whyte; on writing the unspeakable

Host Jonathan Bastian talks with David Whyte about the power of the written and spoken word. Whyte, a poet, philosopher, and speaker, discusses his latest collection of poems, “Still Possible,” in which he continues to explore vulnerability, relationships, and “the conversational nature of reality.”
11/12/202151 minutes, 28 seconds
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Workplace burnout and the Great Resignation

On this week’s Life Examined, how health organizations and employers are recognizing that workplace burnout is a real and growing problem. In 2019 the World Health Organization officially identified workplace burnout as an “occupational phenomenon.” Today burnout is reaching epidemic proportions and many employees say the pandemic has made the problem worse. Host Jonathan Bastian talks with burnout expert and author of “The Burnout Epidemic”  Jennifer Moss about why overwork has reached epidemic proportions and what employers can do about it. We also hear from Sebastian Cruz, a former hedge fund employee, who says overwork forced him to not only to quit his job but shift careers.
11/11/202151 minutes, 57 seconds
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Racism and the Great White Outdoors

On this week’s Life Examined, host Jonathan Bastian talks with avid outdoor enthusiast Jaqueline L. Scott about how she fell in love with nature and birdwatching, and her efforts to make the outdoors a more welcoming and inviting space for Black people. We also hear from Yale environmental professor and historian Dorceta Taylor about the evolution of the environmental movement and how grassroots organizations, Indigenous communities, and other minorities are shaping the conversation around climate and environmental issues.
11/6/202150 minutes, 56 seconds
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How extreme distance running can heal the mind

Host Jonathan Bastian talks with J.M. Thompson about how running has been a personal voyage of discovery and healing from severe depression. Thompson, a clinical psychologist, is author of “Running Is a Kind of Dreaming: A Memoir,” in which he explores childhood trauma, suicide, and the powerful medicine of ultra running.
10/30/202151 minutes, 58 seconds
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Vaccination status: How to have hard conversations with loved ones

This holiday season, as we finally enjoy the ability to gather in person, the question on many people’s minds is how to respond when a family member says they’re not vaccinated. Do we exclude our friends when they refuse to trust vaccines? How hard is it to change someone’s point of view? And what role does courage play when it comes to stepping up and doing the right thing?  Host Jonathan Bastian talks with psychologist and author Tania Israel about opening a dialogue with unvaccinated friends and family members. We also hear from Ryan Holiday, stoic philosopher and author of “Courage is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave,” who explains that courage isn’t just bravery, but the ability to care about others more than we do ourselves.
10/23/202151 minutes, 56 seconds
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Workplace burnout and the Great Resignation

On this week’s Life Examined, how health organizations and employers are recognizing that workplace burnout is a real and growing problem. In 2019 the World Health Organization officially identified workplace burnout as an “occupational phenomenon.” Today burnout is reaching epidemic proportions and many employees say the pandemic has made the problem worse. Host Jonathan Bastian talks with burnout expert and author of “The Burnout Epidemic”  Jennifer Moss about why overwork has reached epidemic proportions and what employers can do about it. We also hear from Sebastian Cruz, a former hedge fund employee, who says overwork forced him to not only to quit his job but shift careers.
10/16/202151 minutes, 57 seconds
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Behind the front lines of drug legalization and harm reduction

On this week’s Life Examined, we’re teaming up with KCRW’s Bodies podcast. In “Do Less Harm,” the second episode of the new season, producer Hannah Harris Green travels to West Virginia, where despite government push back, activists are handing out clean needles and the opioid overdose medication Narcan. Host Jonathan Bastian talks with Green and Bodies creator and host Allison Behringer about their new season and Green’s experience meeting people who use drugs in rural West Virginia. We also hear from Dr. Carl Hart, Columbia University psychologist and author of  “Drug Use for Grown Ups,” on why he thinks the legalization of recreational drug use is important. 
10/6/202152 minutes, 27 seconds
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The role of reason in a ‘post-truth’ world

On this week’s Life Examined, we explore why rationality matters amidst a time of mass misinformation.  Host Jonathan Bastian talks with Steven Pinker, Harvard psychologist and author of “Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters” about our ability to sort fact from fiction. We also hear from evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson about how the human species is evolving to become better caretakers of each other and the planet.
10/2/202151 minutes, 57 seconds
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Why good listening matters — and how to get better at it

At a time of disconnection and distraction in the world, have we forgotten the importance of listening? Most of us are not shy about sharing our stories or voicing our opinions. But we spend much less time truly taking in what someone else says. How can asking Having better listening skills would help us build better relationships with our friends, families, and coworkers. And asking  thoughtful questions would lead to less confusion and chaos. KCRW learns how to better hear what the world around us is saying. 
9/25/202151 minutes, 55 seconds
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The science and benefits of deep sleep and vivid dreams

Host Jonathan Bastian talks with Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett about our collective fascination with dreams and how COVID dreams have changed over the last year. Later, we hear from Dr. Rafael Pelayo, author of  “How to Sleep: The New Science-Based Solutions for Sleeping Through the Night,” about the science of sleep and why getting a good night’s sleep has become so difficult.
9/18/202152 minutes, 57 seconds
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‘Who needs God when we’ve got Google?’: Blurring the lines between technology and faith

Host Jonathan Bastian talks with Meghan O'Gieblyn, author of “God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning” about how advanced AI technologies are changing how we think about ourselves and our faith. Later, writer Linda Kinstler talks about the influential role of the tech sector on faith. And Dr. Beth Singler from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. discuses how religion is being renewed and reshaped by modern technology.  
9/11/202151 minutes, 25 seconds
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Human intelligence: Behind the brains of babies, children, and the elderly

KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian talks with cognitive scientist and philosopher Alison Gopnik about the minds of babies and children. What makes babies such avid learners, and can parents help shape who they will become? Gopnik explains that the evolutionary long human childhood results in years full of exploration and learning. On the other end of the spectrum, neuroscientist, musician, and author of “Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives” Daniel Levitin explains what the latest research shows about the mind as we age. While infants are constantly exploring and making sense of the world, by the time we reach our 70s and 80s, we've built up a whole lot of experience — enabling us to be better problem solvers. 
9/4/202151 minutes, 57 seconds
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Less is more: The science and skills behind saying ‘no’

KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian talks with behavioral scientist Leidy Klotz about his new book ‘Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less.’ Klotz explains why we need to re-examine our human desire for more, more, more, and why it often prevents us from seeing the easier and more effective solutions. We also hear from Vanessa Patrick, professor of marketing at the University of Houston, on the art and language of saying “No.” Writer Simon Usborne reflects on how gymnast Simon Biles’ and tennis player Naomi Osaka’s decisions to say “No”  impact the world of sports and elite athletes, and ultimately, on ourselves.
8/28/202152 minutes, 27 seconds
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Searching for Utopia, Part 2: Utopian societies, sects, and cults in America

This is the second in a two-part series about utopian societies, exploring community living and America’s history with utopian ideas, sects, and cults. What was the appeal back then, and how do they operate today? This week, KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian talks with religion professor Ben Zeller about the characteristics of utopian societies, including sects and cults. We also hear from Chris Jennings, author of “Paradise Now: The Story of American Utopianism,” about the utopian communities of 18th and 19th century America. And Anna Newcomb, founder and resident of a co-housing community, describes her life and the appeal of living in Blueberry Hill.
8/21/202152 minutes, 28 seconds
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Searching for Utopia, Part 1: The freedoms and failures of of an intentional community in India

This is the first in a two-part series about utopian societies exploring the benefits of community cooperation and its dark sides — how the rejection of the status quo can morph into extremism and fanaticism. This week, KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian talks with Akash Kapur about his childhood memories growing up in Auroville, a utopian community in southern India. Kapur is the author of “Becoming India: A Portrait of Life in Modern India.” His latest book, “Better To Have Gone: Love, Death and the Quest for Utopia in Auroville,” explores
8/14/202151 minutes, 58 seconds
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Awestruck: Why a daily dose of wonder might benefit your mental and physical health

On this week’s Life Examined, psychologist and co-author of “Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life” and “The Compassionate Instinct” Dacher Keltner talks about the science of awe and why we need a daily dose. We also talk with cultural psychologist Dr. Yuria Celidwen about how the practices of Indigenous communities enhance prosocial behavior, and how the appreciation of awe also helps forge community bonds.
8/7/202152 minutes, 26 seconds
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‘Taken against our will’: the damaging legacy of ‘tough love’ boot camps

Kenneth Rosen, journalist and author of “Troubled: The Failed Promise of America’s Behavioral Treatment Programs,” takes a closer look at the “tough love” industry and the damaging legacy of wilderness therapy boot camps through the eyes of four former residents — and his own personal experience being forcibly taken from his home as a teenager. Host Jonathan Bastian also talks with Will White, the author of “Stories from the Field: A History of Wilderness Therapy” and teaching lecturer at Plymouth State University, about the history and positive effects of wilderness therapy programs.
7/31/202151 minutes, 28 seconds
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From club drug to love potion, how MDMA might help build a successful relationship

Brian Earp, researcher and co-author of “Love Drugs: The Chemical Future of Relationships,” talks about the range of positive effects that MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly, have on relationships. What could de-stigmatizing MDMA mean for couples therapy? KCRW also talks with the clinical director of the Gottman Institute and founder of the Center for Relationship Wellness about the essence of a successful relationship. 
7/24/202150 minutes, 58 seconds
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Why getting old may be a thing of the past

On this week’s Life Examined, scientist and author of “Ageless: The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old” Andrew Steele talks about the race to turn back the clock on the aging process. We also talk with University of Florida Sociology Professor Monika Ardelt about the wisdom that comes with old age.  Can being wise help you age successfully? 
7/17/202152 minutes, 27 seconds
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The mental and physical benefits of healthy breathing

The average person takes about 25,000 breaths a day but the majority of us give little thought as to how the air actually goes in or goes out of our lungs. What have we misunderstood about the breath and how can healthy breathing habits help both our physical and mental well being? 
7/10/202151 minutes, 57 seconds
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Why is everyone reading the stoics?

Ancient stoic wisdom is having an unexpected modern day resurgence. Whether it’s daily Instagram quotes, blogs, or good old fashioned books — the writings of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus are today enjoying something of a comeback. And their appeal is wide, including entrepreneurs, hipsters, sports figures, and even parents.
7/2/202151 minutes, 58 seconds
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Renowned psychologist Tara Brach on the power of Buddhism in modern therapy

KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian talks with renowned Buddhist teacher and psychologist Tara Brach about meditation, mindfulness, and trusting our “inner gold.” Her books include “Radical Acceptance, Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha,” “True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart,” and most recently, “Trusting the Gold: Uncovering Your Natural Goodness.”
6/26/202151 minutes, 58 seconds
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The art and historical legacy of Juneteenth

For African Americans, June 19 (Juneteenth) is both a celebration of freedom and an occasion of somber remembrance. It marks the day in 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Texas learned that they were free — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Until recently, only a handful of states, including Texas, have acknowledged June 19 as a historical date that’s just as significant as Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day. How should we embrace and celebrate America’s not so glorious past, and could Juneteenth change the way we think about our nation? Artist and poet Sybil Roberts Williams shares her way of celebrating Juneteenth and why the arts are so important in shaping the future self-identification of African Americans. We also talk about how Black people still need to be fully acknowledged in U.S. history books — with University of Texas history professor Austin Peniel Joseph.
6/19/202152 minutes, 27 seconds
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The human history and relationship to music

Music has always played an important role in cultures across the globe and across the millenia. The discovery of a  40,000-year-old bone flute in a German cave showed that hominids, our prehistoric ancestors, could use a tool to produce sound. Technology continues to impact the history and evolution of music, from the lyres depicted in the art of ancient Greece to the orchestras, synthesizers, and electronics used today. Music professor and author Michael Spitzer traces our history of and relationship to music, and tracks the impact music has had on our lives, from Mozart and jazz to Beyonce and hip-hop. Harvard psychiatrist David Silberswieg also discusses how listening to music enhances brain function.  Could listening to music help with depression and Parkinson’s disease?
6/12/202151 minutes, 55 seconds
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The science of friendship and its lessons for post-pandemic life

Friendship is one of the most important components and predictors for emotional and physical well being. A good friendship can last a lifetime, but it’s never too late to make new friends, as long as we devote time and energy to that effort. As we re-engage with one another after a year of isolation, who will we choose to interact with, and why does hanging out with our friends feel so good? On this week’s “Life Examined,” science journalist and author Lydia Denworth explains the science and evolution behind friendship and what primates can teach us about the value of social bonds. She says that “a good friendship is as important to our health as diet and exercise.” We’ll also hear from journalist Kate Murphy about why the pandemic has provided us with a useful opportunity to drop the friends that drain and drag you down.
6/5/202152 minutes, 26 seconds
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What trees teach us about community and collaboration

Trees and forests have long been a source of inspiration for art and poetry. The modern environmental movement says forests and trees are on the front lines of fighting climate change by absorbing CO2 and cooling the planet with their leafy canopies. But trees may be far more evolved than their passive exteriors would lead us to believe.   We explore the healing power of trees and why a good forest bath might be the best way to de-stress your life.  German forester and author Peter Wohlleben explains how trees have a sophisticated method of communication and collaboration, and even have memories. We also hear from naturalist and forest therapy guide Ana Ka’ahanui, who describes how slowing down and being still among the trees might be far more beneficial than taking a rigorous hike.
5/29/202151 minutes, 58 seconds
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Does having children really make us happier?

The decision to have a child is quite possibly the most daunting and consequential any of us can make. But recent data and research on the well-being of parents may give some would-be parents reason to press pause. A child does provide meaning and purpose but does having children make us happier? Also how will the climate crisis and the COVID pandemic impact the decision on whether or not to have kids?
5/22/202151 minutes, 55 seconds
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MDMA, Ecstasy, Molly: Coming soon to a therapist near you

LSD and Ecstasy were once the hippy-trippy illegal substances for concerts, raves, and parties. Now these psychedelics are back in the news — this time for their positive impact on trauma and depression.  Today nearly one in five American adults lives with a mental illness, and PTSD will affect an estimated 7.7 million Americans at some point in their life. That’s according to NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness.  Over the past 30 years, researchers and psychotherapists have discovered the transformative benefits of treating trauma, depression, anxiety and drug addiction in controlled therapy sessions using methylenedioxy methamphetamine (MDMA). KCRW explores how psychedelics and specifically MDMA have shifted the paradigm when it comes to the treatment of trauma, and what the de-stigmatization and medical legalization of these drugs could mean for future treatments of mental disorders.  
5/15/202151 minutes, 54 seconds
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What prison writing teaches us about US justice system and each other

Repentance and reflection was once the utopian ideal of the penitentiary system. Back then, the ideal was not to punish but to provide a solitary space or sanctuary from the evils of the outside world in which to repent. Today, that ideal has been swallowed by a massive prison industrial complex, but despite being overcrowded and underfunded, some prisons do offer educational programs like writing classes. KCRW explores how poetry and writing have provided meaning for formerly and currently incarcerated people, plus how prison writing serves as a window  into life inside America’s incarceration system.
5/8/202151 minutes, 55 seconds
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Preparing for the apocalypse

Throughout history, there have always been a small group of people who prepare for doomsday.  Today, according to a YouGov poll conducted in 2020, roughly one in five Americans feel that an apocalypse is coming. So what’s the obsession with the end of times, and do America’s historical roots inspire survivalism? KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian learns about the lives and mindsets of  people who think the apocalypse is around the corner. Journalist Mark O’Connell crosses the globe in search of preppers and shares his experiences. We also explore the psychology and religious beliefs of preppers, and examine whether the Book of Revelations offers an alternative way to understand apocalyptic moments with Williams College Professor Jaqueline Hiligo and Yale University Professor Yii- Jan Lin.
5/1/202151 minutes, 26 seconds
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What does it mean to be authentic?

Authenticity is a quality many of us admire and aspire to, but what does it mean to be truly yourself? Philosophers both ancient and modern have struggled with the question of authenticity and whether we do the right thing because we judge it to be so, or because others praise our deeds. KCRW learns about what it means to be genuine and whether we have more than one inner self. We also explore the challenge of fitting in, and how imposter syndrome disproportionately impacts women of color and minorities.   
4/24/202152 minutes, 26 seconds
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The failings and malleability of memory

For much of the 20th century, the consensus was that our memories are fixed and stored in the brain as literal recordings of past events. Modern research, however, has given us a better understanding. Memories constantly change. They expand, shrink, and expand again. Our memories can also be manipulated and altered by suggestion. KCRW learns about the failings and malleability of memory, and the controversy when it comes to witness testimony in court. We also learn how nostalgic memories can help us cope in difficult times.
4/17/202151 minutes, 56 seconds
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Why good listening matters — and how to get better at it

At a time of disconnection and distraction in the world, have we forgotten the importance of listening? Most of us are not shy about sharing our stories or voicing our opinions. But we spend much less time truly taking in what someone else says. How can asking Having better listening skills would help us build better relationships with our friends, families, and coworkers. And asking  thoughtful questions would lead to less confusion and chaos. KCRW learns how to better hear what the world around us is saying. 
4/10/202151 minutes, 55 seconds
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In a year of grief and stress, one writer discovers that her pen is her most valuable tool

KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian talks with acclaimed nature writer Terry Tempest Williams about the art and beauty of language, rebirth, and rediscovery. Her books include “Finding Beauty in a Broken World”  and “The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks.” Williams’ latest collection of essays is called “Erosion: Essays of Undoing.”   
4/3/202151 minutes, 27 seconds
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Moments of Serenity: Music

Hosted by KCRW DJ and iconic voice of Los Angeles, Garth Trinidad, and written & produced by KCRW On-Air Promo Director Adria Kloke; the Moments are your snack-sized invitation to a serene space.
3/27/202130 seconds
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Moments of Serenity: Sleep

Hosted by KCRW DJ and iconic voice of Los Angeles, Garth Trinidad, and written & produced by KCRW On-Air Promo Director Adria Kloke; the Moments are your snack-sized invitation to a serene space.
3/27/202130 seconds
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Moments of Serenity: Gratitude

Hosted by KCRW DJ and iconic voice of Los Angeles, Garth Trinidad, and written & produced by KCRW On-Air Promo Director Adria Kloke; the Moments are your snack-sized invitation to a serene space.
3/27/202130 seconds
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Moments of Serenity: Pets

Hosted by KCRW DJ and iconic voice of Los Angeles, Garth Trinidad, and written & produced by KCRW On-Air Promo Director Adria Kloke; the Moments are your snack-sized invitation to a serene space.
3/27/202130 seconds
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Food: The history, addiction, and ritual

From hunter gatherers and agrarian societies to colonialism and corporate conglomerates, the need to eat has played a pivotal role in shaping our evolution. It has driven human history and shaped our past. But is the instinct that helped our ancestors survive being manipulated today? Is our food being deliberately designed and marketed to be more addictive?  Also, simple rituals and slowing down may help us better connect with our food, ourselves, and nature.
3/27/202152 minutes, 28 seconds
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Moments of Serenity: Tea

Hosted by KCRW DJ and iconic voice of Los Angeles, Garth Trinidad, and written & produced by KCRW On-Air Promo Director Adria Kloke; the Moments are your snack-sized invitation to a serene space.
3/27/20211 minute
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Moments of Serenity: Do Nothing

Hosted by KCRW DJ and iconic voice of Los Angeles, Garth Trinidad, and written & produced by KCRW On-Air Promo Director Adria Kloke; the Moments are your snack-sized invitation to a serene space.
3/27/202130 seconds
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Moments of Serenity: Ocean

Hosted by KCRW DJ and iconic voice of Los Angeles, Garth Trinidad, and written & produced by KCRW On-Air Promo Director Adria Kloke; the Moments are your snack-sized invitation to a serene space.
3/27/202130 seconds
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Moments of Serenity: Stretch

Hosted by KCRW DJ and iconic voice of Los Angeles, Garth Trinidad, and written & produced by KCRW On-Air Promo Director Adria Kloke; the Moments are your snack-sized invitation to a serene space.
3/27/202130 seconds
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Moments of Serenity: Calm in Chaos

Hosted by KCRW DJ and iconic voice of Los Angeles, Garth Trinidad, and written & produced by KCRW On-Air Promo Director Adria Kloke; the Moments are your snack-sized invitation to a serene space.
3/27/202130 seconds
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How to stop worrying and learn to break the anxiety loop

Worry and anxiety are common problems for most of us, especially during a global pandemic. Stress produced by lockdowns, working from home, and caring for children and the eldery has caused a spike in anxiety and depression. But according to one psychiatrist and researcher, anxiety is also a bad habit we can learn to control. KCRW also speaks with another researcher about neuroscience and promising new treatments for mental disorders. Could electric brain stimulation rewire our brains to help with conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s?
3/20/202151 minutes, 56 seconds
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Schizophrenia: A new day in diagnosis and treatment

For hundreds of years, doctors and scientists have grappled with  understanding schizophrenia. It’s a mysterious mental illness characterized by delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and disorganized speech. Understanding what caused the condition remained rudimentary, and there was a period when therapists blamed parents, and especially mothers, for contributing to the condition. KCRW hears the heartbreaking yet ultimately inspiring story of the Galvin family, where six out of their 12 children developed schizophrenia. Also, mapping the human genome has ushered in a massive sea change in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders, helping put mental illness and schizophrenia in the mainstream of biomedical research. 
3/13/202152 minutes, 27 seconds
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Global loneliness and the wonders of human touch

In the wake of the pandemic, there is much to be done to restore human connectivity, but loneliness is hardly a new phenomena. Long periods of isolated living in an increasingly virtual world is taking a toll on our health. 
3/6/202150 minutes, 31 seconds
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Death with Dignity legislation offers compassion and control

Nine states, including California, have enacted Medical Aid in Dying legislation, allowing those who are terminally ill to end their lives peacefully by taking doctor-prescribed medication. The process of qualifying for this legislation is rigorously managed — few people fit the criteria and even fewer decide ultimately to follow through. So what’s the importance of control in how we face death? Why do endings matter, and not just for those who die?
2/27/202151 minutes, 56 seconds
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The role of land and landownership in shaping our history

From Bronze Age farmers to New World colonialists, land ownership has been prized, sought after, inherited and fought over. The hunger for land has resulted in wars, class structure, persecution and the displacement of thousands of Indigenous tribes. Today, financial security and adulthood is still marked by owning a house on a plot of soil but is owning private property a sign of a civilized or uncivilized society? Is it time for governments and communities to finally consider how the native people, who originally shepherded the land thoughtfully and soundly, might once again be considered its rightful “owners.”
2/20/202151 minutes, 58 seconds
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How the work world will change post the pandemic?

For the thousands of workers not on the front lines of COVID-19, the pandemic has ushered in a new era, not only in how we work but how we approach the jobs we do.  Will we ever return to the office; the rows of desks and the 9-5 work day? Also author and journalist Sarah Jaffe on why we should expect a lot more from our jobs and not just pay.
2/13/202152 minutes, 26 seconds
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The history of marriage and other forms of intimate relationships

When it comes to intimate relationships one size does not fit all. Marriage and monogamy have a long history dating back thousands of years and even today value the emotional and financial security that comes with “tying the knot.” Research suggests however that happiness is not exclusive to those who are in monogamous relationships. Some people are happiest single and others choose many lovers. Polyamory or consensual non-monogamy is under increased scrutiny offering couples new ways to redefine their relationship.
2/6/202151 minutes, 27 seconds
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What octopus and shrimp can tell us about workings of the animal mind

If you go back far enough in time our common ancestor might be a cuddle fish or an octopus. Though evolution has taken us on different paths, there is still much that connects us to the animal world and to the thoughts and experiences that give it shape. Philosopher and scientist Peter Godfrey-Smith explores the oceans and provides some illuminating insight on the origins of the mind and the nature of consciousness. Also poet and author Aimee Nezhukumatathil on how observing the natural world may mean more than we realize for our physical and mental health.
1/30/202151 minutes, 27 seconds
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Why is everyone reading the stoics?

Ancient stoic wisdom is having an unexpected modern day resurgence. Whether it’s daily Instagram quotes, blogs, or good old fashioned books — the writings of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus are today enjoying something of a comeback. And their appeal is wide, including entrepreneurs, hipsters, sports figures, and even parents.
1/23/202151 minutes, 58 seconds
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How the Church views a woman’s place in society

Historically men have been the figureheads of our religious institutions but it has been women who have played a fundamental role in establishing and sustaining them. How has religion shaped the way we think about gender? Is it time for a more expansive vision for women from within the church? 
1/16/202152 minutes, 38 seconds
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Making sense of an unpeaceful transition of power

The peaceful transition of power for the first time in US history appeared to hang in the balance this week. Americans around the country witnessed the breakdown of an assumptive world and the violation of the US Capitol left many saddened, confused and angry. How should we make sense of what has happened without normalizing what we have seen? What happens to ferment this type of extremist behaviour?
1/9/202151 minutes, 58 seconds
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Finding meaning in an impermanent world

The novel coronavirus pandemic is a daily reminder of how quickly life can change. Theoretical physicist Brian Greene joins KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian  and discusses the meaning of impermanence and living in the here and now. Poet and essayist Jane Hirshfield explains why poets treasure pondering life’s abysses and how words and imagery disseminate the world around us. 
1/2/202151 minutes, 55 seconds
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‘Death reveals the depths of our love.’ Rabbi Steve Leder on dying and grieving

KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian talks with Rabbi Steve Leder  the Senior Rabbi of Wilshire Boulevard Temple and author of the upcoming book “The Beauty of What Remains: How Our Greatest Fear Becomes Our Greatest Gift”
12/26/202050 minutes, 27 seconds
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Indoor spaces; are they good for our health and creativity

Modern humans are an indoor species. In normal times, the majority of us spend nearly 90% of our time shuttling between our homes, schools, stores, restaurants, and gyms. Yet unlike the great outdoors, we know relatively little about the indoor world in which we live. Just how much is our productivity and well being influenced by our indoor space? Can a small space nurture the creative process?
12/19/202052 minutes, 27 seconds
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Vaccines and the history behind their discovery

Infectious diseases have long shaped human history, from the 14th century Black Death and the 1918–19 influenza pandemic to today’s emergence of the COVID-19. As new vaccines are getting ready to be administered against this latest pandemic, what’s the long history behind their discovery? And why are they still hotly debated despite their many global public health successes in eradicating deadly diseases like smallpox and polio.
12/12/202051 minutes, 28 seconds
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What’s driving the rise in atheism?

Many people yearn to feel connected to something larger than life. For some that’s a belief in God and religion, but that number is starting to dramatically decline. According to a 2019 Pew Research survey, a quarter of the US population today say they have no religious affiliation. Secularism has skyrocketed over the last three decades in America and added to that equation, there’s also an increase in self-described atheists, those who completely reject any form of supernatural deity. So why are Americans turning away from God and what does it mean to be an atheist in today’s America?
12/5/202051 minutes, 58 seconds
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‘Manhood has never been more beleaguered or more challenged’ says author Nicole Krauss

KCRW’s Joanthan Bastian talks with author Nicole Krauss. Her latest collection of short stories is titled “To be a Man”
11/28/202051 minutes, 58 seconds
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The myth and dark side of meritocracy

Most people say merit-based success is the result of hard work and dedication. Those who achieve success typically enjoy the rewards: a better income, praise and recognition. Less talked about is the role of luck — like a natural born talent or timing and class. How do we reckon with a meritocratic society that is actually heavily stacked against those who are less fortunate? And in today’s society, if you want to compete and win in the global economy you need to go to college, but is the mantra “education, education, education” misplaced? Does a college degree further divide Americans into winners and losers? 
11/21/202051 minutes, 58 seconds
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What makes men, men?

Over the last 50 years, our notion of masculinity has been steadily changing. Feminism and the shift in gender roles has seen increasing parity between the sexes and culturally we’re embracing a diverse array of sexual identities. So how are these changes impacting our perceptions of what it means to be a man and can men unlearn the old models of sexism, patriarchy and aggression? And are men today actually much happier in more egalitarian relationships at work and more emotionally connected with family?
11/7/202051 minutes, 58 seconds
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Building bridges across America’s political divide

Americans today are deeply divided politically and even with an election around the corner that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. So what’s the solution to bridging the gap? How do we learn to talk to each other even when we vehemently disagree? Is there any value to taking the time to understand why people think differently, hear differing perspectives and experiences rather than arguing opinions and debating facts? Is, as Abraham Lincoln famously said, the “best way to destroy an enemy to make him a friend” and to recognize that what divides us politically also can unite us. 
10/31/202051 minutes, 32 seconds
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The rich history and promising future of psychedelic therapy

Psychedelics have been used for thousands of years but in a provocative new book “The Immortality Key” author Brian Muraresku explores their impact on early Western civilization. Were the ancient Greeks, Romans and early Chrisitians influenced in their religious practices by psychedelics? Psilocybin, known by many as magic mushrooms, is being used to treat an array of mental disorders, from anxiety and depression to addiction and end of life issues with profound effects for patients. Today, the medical community is once again embracing research into the therapeutic benefits of hallucinogens.
10/24/202052 minutes, 27 seconds
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Politics, religion and the role of public discourse in our democracy.

Just weeks away from a historic election, what role will religion play in influencing the candidates and getting out the vote? KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian talks with Randall Balmer, professor of religion at Dartmouth University and an episcopal priest who explains that the influence of religion in today’s political landscape is a relatively new phenomena in America’s history. Later we’ll ask two ministers whether leaders of faith should use their platforms to express their political points of view  or should they stay silent?   
10/16/202051 minutes, 57 seconds
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Astrology and our relationship to the cosmos

Astrology has been used for centuries to provide meaning and guidance. How does that translate in 2020? Science dismisses the practice as silly and lightweight but today’s millennials are embracing astrology in record numbers and social media and smartphone apps have turned it into a booming business. What’s the appeal and why are young people turning away from traditional organized religion?
10/3/202052 minutes, 28 seconds
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Why the climate emergency is rapidly shifting emotional and physical landscape

The recent fires and extreme heat waves had a devastating impact on much of the west coast of America. In California, Oregan and Washington State thick smoke blanketed the region, confining millions of people to their homes for days. Will our rapidly changing climate impact not just how but where we chose to live? Is extreme weather impacting our emotional well being? And is there a better way to talk about climate change that’s less wonky and more relatable?
9/26/202051 minutes, 58 seconds
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A place for religion whether we believe or not

At times of loss and crisis many of us turn to God, whether we believe or not. For some, the Gospels of the Bible provide wisdom and prayer comfort to recenter their lives but increasingly, everyday rituals at home and at work are providing that guidance. Are fitness classes and spiritual consultants filling the void in our spiritual lives?
9/12/202051 minutes, 58 seconds
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Unlocking the mysteries of the brain

The most advanced technology ever discovered is the three pound organ encased inside our skulls. In his latest book, “Livewired” neuroscientist David Eagleman describes why our brains are constantly changing: the more the brain absorbs the more it adjusts. How has the pandemic impacted this amazing brain circuitry? And what are the impacts on children's brains, stuck at home with extended hours of screen time?
9/5/202051 minutes, 57 seconds
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Technology’s impact on human relationships

For millennia, machines and innovation have transformed our society including our most intimate relationships with one another. The plow, washing machine, chatbots and Artificial Intelligence have shaped relationships in the past and continue to impact how we interact with each other today and into the future. Will new advances in technology diminish the need for human to human interaction?
8/29/202051 minutes, 32 seconds
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Does having children really make us happier?

The decision to have a child is quite possibly the most daunting and consequential any of us can make. But recent data and research on the well-being of parents may give some would-be parents reason to press pause. A child does provide meaning and purpose but does having children make us happier? Also how will the climate crisis and the COVID pandemic impact the decision on whether or not to have kids?
8/22/202051 minutes, 55 seconds
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The mental and physical benefits of healthy breathing

The average person takes about 25,000 breaths a day but the majority of us give little thought as to how the air actually goes in or goes out of our lungs. What have we misunderstood about the breath and how can healthy breathing habits help both our physical and mental well being? 
8/15/202051 minutes, 57 seconds
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How surfer Britt Merrick found his ‘spiritual home’ among the waves

For those who love to surf, the act of riding the waves is both a physical and spiritual experience. But for some,it is also a religious one. Britt Merrick, surfer and former lead pastor of Reality Ministries in Carpinteria talks with KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian about surfing and its interconnection with his Christian faith. 
8/8/202051 minutes, 57 seconds
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Is there a way to prepare for a good death?

The pandemic has placed death and the acknowledgement of our mortality front and center in our consciousness and yet when it comes to dying, we understand little and do even less to prepare for it. Is there a good way to die? How do the funeral rights and bereavement rituals in other cultures provide solace and comfort?
8/1/202051 minutes, 57 seconds
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Theology and Black Lives Matter

Professor Yolanda Pierce, Dean of the Howard University School of Divinity,  talks with KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian about the history and the legacy of the Black church and its connection with the Black Lives Matter movement.
7/25/202051 minutes, 58 seconds
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A pilgrim’s journey: Reconnecting with faith through the pilgrimage

Author Timothy Egan talks with KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian about walking the Via Francigena and how his experiences walking the pilgrim’s trail gave him a greater understanding of Christianity, life and faith. 
7/18/202052 minutes, 22 seconds
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Finding strength, hope, and truth through poetry

Award-winning poet and essayist Jane Hirshfield joins KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian to talk about her latest collection of poems, "Ledger," Buddhism and the importance of words and imagery in times of great upheaval.  
5/30/202051 minutes, 22 seconds
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How the global pandemic has impacted our dreams?

Deirdre Barrett, dream researcher and assistant professor of psychology at Harvard University, joins KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian to discuss how the prolonged global pandemic has impacted the way we dream. Why are we having such vivid dreams at this time  — and why are so many of us dreaming about bugs and jail cells? 
5/23/202050 minutes, 42 seconds
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How the global pandemic has impacted our dreams?

Deirdre Barrett, dream researcher and assistant professor of psychology at Harvard University, joins KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian to discuss how the prolonged global pandemic has impacted the way we dream. Why are we having such vivid dreams at this time  — and why are so many of us dreaming about bugs and jail cells? 
5/18/202050 minutes, 56 seconds
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Grieving the loss of the world we once knew

Deepak Chopra, renowned wellness expert and author of “Metahuman: Unleashing your infinite potential,” joins KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian and offers his perspective on the current global pandemic. He says we are grieving an old way of life. Now is the moment to reevaluate our lives, habits and existence. Also, grief expert David Kessler explains why grief is an emotion that arises out of unwanted change.
5/16/202051 minutes, 6 seconds
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Finding meaning in an impermanent world

The novel coronavirus pandemic is a daily reminder of how quickly life can change. In his latest book, “Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe,” theoretical physicist Brian Greene talks about processing those changes, explores the meaning of impermanence, and explains the importance of living in the here and now. 
5/9/202050 minutes, 50 seconds
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Trauma and healing during COVID-19

California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris talks about the latest science behind trauma, and how toxic stress can literally change our brains, our immune systems and our genes. Also an imam and rabbi share how their faith, teachings, and prayer provide comfort and healing from trauma.
5/2/202051 minutes, 25 seconds
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Contemplation in isolation

The debut episode of KCRW’s show Foxhole features author Pico Iyer, who shares how these unusual times can be an opportunity for inner-growth. And a Hindu nun and Tibetan Buddhist teacher offer advice for how to quiet our minds when we’re alone and anxious. 
4/25/202049 minutes, 11 seconds