Finding Meaning in Desperate Times

lady among viruses

Photo Illustration by Mark Riechers. Original images by Elena Mozhvilo, Makeo and the CDC.

Listen nowDownload file
Embed player
Original Air Date: 
May 23, 2020

We’ve all been changed by the experience of living through a pandemic. We figured out how to sanitize groceries, mute ourselves on Zoom and keep from killing our roommates. But we’re also tackling bigger, existential questions — how can we, individually and collectively, find meaning in the experience of this pandemic?

Window man
Articles

David Kessler is one of the foremost experts on death and grieving. He’s written many books on the subject, and worked with Elizabeth Kubler Ross on famous five stages of grief. He recently added a sixth: finding meaning.

Length: 
11:35
Tyrone  Muhammad
Articles

Tyrone Muhammad, also known as "Muhammad the Mortician," is the funeral director at Newark’s Peace and Glory Home for Funerals. He spent decades trying to stop the epidemic of gun violence in the black community he serves, but nothing prepared him for a pandemic.

Length: 
9:59
flowers
Audio

The poet Nikki Giovanni, reading her poem "One Ounce of Truth Benefits Like a Ripple on a Pond."

Length: 
2:22
light in the dark
Articles

Philosopher John Kaag discusses how the 19th century thinker William James might help us seek meaning and purpose in a confusing time.

Length: 
10:36
Albert Camus in the 1950s
Audio

Albert Camus’s first novel, "The Stranger," speaks strongly to the search for meaning. It’s the story of an alienated man who commits a senseless murder. Literary critic Alice Kaplan calls it "the perfect Black Lives Matter book."

Length: 
14:41
Show Details 📻
Last modified: 
October 20, 2020