Life Examined

Life Examined

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.

Schizophrenia is a chronic neurological brain disorder that affects millions of people around the world.

The genetic component in understanding and treating mental illness

Schizophrenia is a chronic neurological brain disorder that affects millions of people around the world.

On the surface, the Galvins were the model American family. Parents Mimi and Don lived in Colorado Springs in the 1950s and 60s and had 12 children, 10 boys and two girls.

A touching account of one American family’s struggle with schizophrenia

On the surface, the Galvins were the model American family. Parents Mimi and Don lived in Colorado Springs in the 1950s and 60s and had 12 children, 10 boys and two girls.

Writer and lecturer Susan Cain explores the evolutionary reasons behind sadness in our lives and how accepting sorrow can lead to greater emotional resilience and creativity.

Bittersweet: Susan Cain on the joy of sweet sorrow

Writer and lecturer Susan Cain explores the evolutionary reasons behind sadness in our lives and how accepting sorrow can lead to greater emotional resilience and creativity.

Scientist Sandra Langeslag explains strategies for overcoming heartbreak. Writer Aimee Lutkin explores singledom and why her identity is so tied to her relationship status.

The psychology of heartbreak and strategies for singledom

Scientist Sandra Langeslag explains strategies for overcoming heartbreak. Writer Aimee Lutkin explores singledom and why her identity is so tied to her relationship status.

Science writer Florence Williams provides a personal and scientific perspective on heartbreak. She says “it’s like a death, but without the body.”

The anatomy of heartbreak

Science writer Florence Williams provides a personal and scientific perspective on heartbreak. She says “it’s like a death, but without the body.”

Author and journalist Johann Hari on the forces that are stealing our attention and focus, and what we can do individually and collectively to regain our minds.

Interrupted and distracted: Johann Hari wants you to regain your attention

Author and journalist Johann Hari on the forces that are stealing our attention and focus, and what we can do individually and collectively to regain our minds.

Professor David Yaden talks about the history of psychedelic-induced altered states of consciousness and how these spiritual and mystical experiences can positively impact well being.

Are psychedelics undergoing a spiritual and therapeutic awakening?

Professor David Yaden talks about the history of psychedelic-induced altered states of consciousness and how these spiritual and mystical experiences can positively impact well being.

Ketamine, commonly used as an anesthetic and tranquilizer, has gone from club drug to an expensive spa treatment for depression. Could it be the next Prozac?

The nature and potential of ketamine

Ketamine, commonly used as an anesthetic and tranquilizer, has gone from club drug to an expensive spa treatment for depression. Could it be the next Prozac?

KCRW looks at the multicultural and spiritual roots of games. What does the history of gameplaying teach us about ourselves?

Gaming began 5000 years ago. Why is it still appealing today?

KCRW looks at the multicultural and spiritual roots of games. What does the history of gameplaying teach us about ourselves?

KCRW talks about the beauty and purpose of gameplay, and how the “gamification” of life is shifting those values.

Appreciating the art and agency of gameplay

KCRW talks about the beauty and purpose of gameplay, and how the “gamification” of life is shifting those values.

Professor Charles Stang explains the ancient understanding of the existence of a divine double, twin, or alter-ego and explores whether the belief still persists today.

The ancient belief of the divine counterpart

Professor Charles Stang explains the ancient understanding of the existence of a divine double, twin, or alter-ego and explores whether the belief still persists today.

Author Anna Della Subin talks about the history of mortals accidentally worshiped as gods, from ancient kings to new world explorers.

Why we worship men as gods

Author Anna Della Subin talks about the history of mortals accidentally worshiped as gods, from ancient kings to new world explorers.

Author Meghan O’Rourke explains her decade-long quest for a diagnosis to a mystery illness that left her feeling like her “body was made of sand and head was full of fog.”

An unknown illness and the search for a cure

Author Meghan O’Rourke explains her decade-long quest for a diagnosis to a mystery illness that left her feeling like her “body was made of sand and head was full of fog.”

Dr. David Agus explains why autoimmune diseases are so elusive and how long COVID provides welcome research into recognizing and treating other chronic illnesses.

How long COVID is shedding light on the mystery of chronic diseases

Dr. David Agus explains why autoimmune diseases are so elusive and how long COVID provides welcome research into recognizing and treating other chronic illnesses.

Most of us live busy lives. Between emails, texts, work, family, and friends, it’s easy to get bombarded by obligations and invitations.

How and why it’s time to start saying ‘no’

Most of us live busy lives. Between emails, texts, work, family, and friends, it’s easy to get bombarded by obligations and invitations.

When we buy a new phone, bike, or car, we instinctively want all the bells and whistles.

How to solve problems and create balance by subtraction

When we buy a new phone, bike, or car, we instinctively want all the bells and whistles.

Psychology professor Laurie Santos explains how happiness works and says that “even when we choose what we think will make us feel happier, we don't often choose well.”

Why is it so hard to be happy?

Psychology professor Laurie Santos explains how happiness works and says that “even when we choose what we think will make us feel happier, we don't often choose well.”

The desire for happiness has created a whole new industry, from wearable tech to books and classes. Why is feeling happy so important? Is happiness something that can be measured?

Can happiness be measured?

The desire for happiness has created a whole new industry, from wearable tech to books and classes. Why is feeling happy so important? Is happiness something that can be measured?

How do we address the disparity of feeling sympathy for Ukrainian refugees while ignoring the plight of those fleeing conflict zones in North African or Central America?

Conflict, refugees, and racism

How do we address the disparity of feeling sympathy for Ukrainian refugees while ignoring the plight of those fleeing conflict zones in North African or Central America?

Historian George Makari explains xenophobia, likening it to a strong emotion. He says some people “fall in hate, the way the rest of us fall in love.”

How war fuels racism, fear, and xenophobia

Historian George Makari explains xenophobia, likening it to a strong emotion. He says some people “fall in hate, the way the rest of us fall in love.”