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Life Examined

KCRW

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.

Location:

United States

Networks:

KCRW

Description:

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.

Language:

English


Episodes

Heartbreak and divorce: reflections on endings, healing, and self-discovery

2/18/2024
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.

Duration:00:51:57

Midweek Reset: The Art of Love

2/14/2024
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.

Duration:00:03:15

Addicted to distraction: How our world is robbing our ability to pay attention

2/11/2024
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.

Duration:00:51:59

Addicted to distraction: How our world is robbing our ability to pay attention

2/11/2024
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.

Duration:00:51:59

Midweek Reset: Negativity bias

2/7/2024
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.

Duration:00:03:30

Facing death without God: Spiritual care in the final hours of a death row inmate

2/4/2024
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.”

Duration:01:04:40

Midweek Reset: Why we hate

1/31/2024
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.”

Duration:00:03:30

Why allergies and gut health are getting worse

1/27/2024
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.

Duration:00:51:59

Midweek Reset: Ikigai

1/24/2024
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.

Duration:00:04:00

God is a verb: The mystical, existential poetry of Christian Wiman

1/20/2024
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.”

Duration:00:51:57

Midweek Reset: Radical Truth Telling

1/17/2024
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.

Duration:00:03:29

Robert Sapolsky on life without free will

1/13/2024
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.

Duration:00:51:56

Midweek Reset: The Future Happiness Trap

1/10/2024
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.

Duration:00:03:05

The wonder of water — and why we love to swim

1/6/2024
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.

Duration:00:51:56

Midweek Reset: Savoring the ordinary

1/3/2024
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.

Duration:00:04:01

Can pain and suffering sweeten our lives?

12/31/2023
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.

Duration:00:51:00

Wintering and enchantment: A pathway to healing and happiness

12/24/2023
British author Katherine May offers some (heart)warming advice on winter and explores simple ways to rediscover the joy of enchantment.

Duration:00:51:59

Midweek Reset: Tech Sabbath

12/20/2023
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.

Duration:00:03:16

Owls: What they know and what humans believe

12/16/2023
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.

Duration:00:51:57

Antarctic expedition: A treatise on climate change and motherhood

12/9/2023
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.

Duration:00:41:29