Sunday, April 12, 2009

Exploring the Paths to Happiness - To the Best of Our Knowledge

I am an unabashed fan of National Public Radio. I listen to the radio only in my car so driving this Easter Sunday evening to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy I was pleasantly reminded once again of the variety of excellent public radio programming.

Wisconsin Public Radio produces a two hour weekly radio show called "To the Best of Our Knowledge". This Peabody award winning show calls itself an audio magazine of ideas and that description is as good as any. Each hour of the show is centered around a theme which is explored through intelligent thought provoking interviews.

The theme of today's first hour was "Our Peace of Mind" and had a series of wonderful conversations illuminating the idea of happiness and the persistent human quest for peace of mind. Conversations are with people as diverse as Jill Bolte-Taylor (a brain scientist who has written an interesting book about insights developed from her own stroke), Richard Davidson (a neuro-psychologist who has studied the effects of meditation on human brain by working with Buddhist monks), Satish Kumar (a former Jain monk) and a particularly interesting conversation with cultural historian Richard Schoch who is the author of "The Secrets of Happiness: Three Thousand Years of Searching for the Good Life".

You can listen to this segment of the show and see information on the various books and music in this piece here. I highly recommend it.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post! It reminded me of many a weekend afternoon spent listening to TTBOOK back in States.

I had listened to Jill Bolte-Taylor's TED talk a while ago, and I have to say that as interesting as her experience was, I find her narrative style a little too dramatic for my taste.

And oh the horror on encountering the word "Ghandi" on the website!!

Zakintosh said...

I tried to introduce 'To The Best of Our Knowledge' to some schools by providing them mp3 CDs of some selected shows. I had hoped that they would become part of the audio library and even if students don't hear them, teachers could ... and then use parts as springboards for discussions. To make the packet interesting I even had them screen-printed with very colourful labels. Bad move. I learnt that such CDs make great coasters in the library.

No wonder we are in the mess we are.

Fawad Zakariya said...

@anticargo: thanks for visiting. I felt the same horror when I saw "Ghandi" on the website. It took me back to a corporate retreat I was a part of where the organizers had printed t-shirts with the quote "we must be the change we wish to see in the world" with "Ghandi" written right below it.

@Zak: what a sad story. Whenever I am inspired by something I read or hear I always wish to share the wonder I experience. It is truly disheartening to realize that many people by lack of opportunity and/or lack of effort will never be able to experience even an iota of the beauty of great human creative accomplishments.

Yawar said...

I actually enjoyed NPR a lot. I've been to their building in DC and spoken to a lot of people who aspire to work for it.

Wish I could say the same about Radio Pakistan but the quality of programming is sad to say the least. Other FM channels though are filling in the gap.