I stopped being curious about a number of topics a couple of years ago. Instead I discovered that I was periodically clinging tightly to rigid opinions and mentally shutting down during difficult conversations. When I realized this, I started seeking out additional viewpoints, whether through conversations, reading, videos or podcasts.
That’s where the radio program To the Best of Our Knowledge saved me! While I don’t always agree with the ideas being offered, this program encourages me to be curious — and to ponder different angles of a big topic.
Taking a Deep Dive into Topics
I stumbled upon this show on my local NPR station one Sunday morning and it’s been on my to-do list ever since. The podcast also can be found on Stitcher, iTunes and other streaming avenues (including To the Best of Our Knowledge’s website) in case you miss a show or it doesn’t air in your area.
This nationally syndicated radio show is ambitious in scope. “We look for guests who can give us a deeper perspective on the world we’re living in,” the show’s website states. “We like being hauled back from the day’s headlines to think about the long sweep of history that led to this moment in time. We like grappling with perennial questions.”
A Safe Way to Be Curious About Difficult Subjects
What I love about this radio program is the diversity of opinions around a single topic that are offered in a single show. The wealth of information is amazing and you get to explore fresh – and sometimes difficult — ideas in the safety of your own home.
For instance, To the Best of Our Knowledge recently aired a show on terrorism. One segment focused on a discussion of the psychology of terrorism while another explored the history of a white supremacist who single-handedly killed nearly 70 Norwegian teenagers in 2011. However, the segment I found most interesting was an interview featuring Mubin Shaikh of Canada. The former jihadist describes his own conversion to radical Islam and then how his ideas about jihad changed again. He also takes the bold step of suggesting that terrorists believe they have rational reasons for committing what they consider acts of political violence. That one idea shook up my world view and that segment alone is definitely worth a listen!
Another recent segment looked at privilege due to skin color, gender, class or sexual orientation. I found this particular show to be very relevant to our current civic discourse – or lack thereof — in a number of areas, including Black Lives Matter, women, homosexuals, Hispanics and Muslims.
Another show took on the topic of bullying. Moderators talked to individuals who had been bullies as well as those who had been bullied. One segment looked at empathy while another explored a late-blooming friendship between a bully and his childhood target. Another segment – one that I found especially thought-provoking – suggests that bullying is part of the culture in many U.S. corporations.
New Ideas to Stretch Wonder
Not all of the shows cover such somber topics. For instance, To the Best of Our Knowledge has made me curious about topics ranging from the universe, photojournalism, collections, making art, barbecue and Wonder Woman.
This podcast – which won the 64th Annual Peabody Award for Radio Programming — is a great resource on so many topics and serves as a multipotentialite’s dream podcast. I hope you’ll check it out. I bet you’ll find that it’s in your podcast queue and that each segment really piques your curious nature.
Other Posts You Might Like: