Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living
Tippett calls herself a person who listens for a living: this is her distillation of several decades worth of wisdom gleaned from probing interviews with a wide array of guests. She hones in on five "raw materials" for living well: words, flesh, love, faith, and hope, and hopefully explores how they can be channeled toward compassion, forgiveness, and love. If it all sounds a bit esoteric, you can trust that the same curiosity that makes her show On Being so addictive serves her well in this format. Deep, thoughtful, profound: Even if you're the sort who usually finishes a book in a few days' time, this would be wonderful read a few pages a day, all summer long. Pair with The Light of the World. Published April 5 2016.
“The discourse of our common life inclines towards despair. In my field of journalism, where we presume to write the first draft of history, we summon our deepest critical capacities for investigating what is inadequate, corrupt, catastrophic, and failing. The ‘news’ is defined as the extraordinary events of the day, but it is most often translated as the extraordinarily terrible events of the day. And in an immersive 24/7 news cycle, we internalize the deluge of bad news as the norm—the real truth of who we are and what we’re up against as a species. But my work has shown me that spiritual geniuses of the everyday are everywhere. They are in the margins and do not have publicists. They are below the radar, which is broken.”
“I’m not sure there’s such a thing as the cultural ‘center,’ nor that it’s very interesting if it exists. But left of center and right of center, in the expansive middle and heart of our life together, most of us have some questions left alongside our answers, some curiosity alongside our convictions. This book is for people who want to take up the great questions of our time with imagination and courage, to nurture new realities in the spaces we inhabit, and to do so expectantly and with joy.”
In Becoming Wise, Krista Tippett has created a master class in living for a fractured world. Fracture, she says, is not the whole story of our time. The enduring question of what it means to be human has become inextricable from the challenge of who we are to one another. She insists on the possibility of personal depth and common life for this century, nurtured by science and “spiritual technologies,” with civility and love as muscular public practice. And, accompanied by a cross-disciplinary dream team of a teaching faculty, she shows us how.
Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and National Humanities Medalist Krista Tippett has interviewed the most extraordinary voices examining the great questions of meaning for our time. The heart of her work on her national public radio program and podcast, On Being, has been to shine a light on people whose insights kindle in us a sense of wonder and courage. Scientists in a variety of fields; theologians from an array of faiths; poets, activists, and many others have all opened themselves up to Tippett’s compassionate yet searching conversation.
In Becoming Wise, Tippett distills the insights she has gleaned from this luminous conversation in its many dimensions into a coherent narrative journey, over time and from mind to mind. The book is a master class in living, curated by Tippett and accompanied by a delightfully ecumenical dream team of teaching faculty.
The open questions and challenges of our time are intimate and civilizational all at once, Tippett says – definitions of when life begins and when death happens, of the meaning of community and family and identity, of our relationships to technology and through technology. The wisdom we seek emerges through the raw materials of the everyday. And the enduring question of what it means to be human has now become inextricable from the question of who we are to each other.
This book offers a grounded and fiercely hopeful vision of humanity for this century – of personal growth but also renewed public life and human spiritual evolution. It insists on the possibility of a common life for this century marked by resilience and redemption, with beauty as a core moral value and civility and love as muscular practice. Krista Tippett’s great gift, in her work and in Becoming Wise, is to avoid reductive simplifications but still find the golden threads that weave people and ideas together into a shimmering braid.
One powerful common denominator of the lessons imparted to Tippett is the gift of presence, of the exhilaration of engagement with life for its own sake, not as a means to an end. But presence does not mean passivity or acceptance of the status quo. Indeed Tippett and her teachers are people whose work meets, and often drives, powerful forces of change alive in the world today. In the end, perhaps the greatest blessing conveyed by the lessons of spiritual genius Tippett harvests in Becoming Wise is the strength to meet the world where it really is, and then to make it better.