With recordings for more than 300 events now, sometimes we want to revisit the “oldies but goodies.” These collections are our curated lists of the conversations we love, centered around a variety of themes. Let us know if you’d like to see a list curated around a topic that you love.
Designing Our World
As our world changes faster than ever before, one task before us is to reimagine the design of our systems, governments, organizations, communities, and families. How can we design resilience into these systems, and what are different ways of imagining our world? In this playlist, find some of our favorite conversations with visionary leaders who model resilient ways of learning, providing medicine and healing, cultivating and distributing food, and envisioning our relationship to both the natural world and our universe. Let us know which conversations resonate and what you are thinking!
Photo by thomas scott on Unsplash
Earth Month: Love Your Mother
Climate change and polycrisis news is sobering. So much is at stake, and so much of it seems out of our control. We want to be informed, to understand what is happening to us. But it can be overwhelming, leaving us feeling disempowered, uninspired, and worried.
It's important to take time to reset, to honor and celebrate what it is that we need to protect. This Earth Month, we offer conversations that remind us why we love Mother Earth. Conversations that explore pathways for holding awe for nature's beauty, along with the enormity of what needs to be done and the despair about what can no longer be changed. We offer conversations about hopeful future possibilities and about ways that we can help—with inspiring indigenous seed keepers and seaweed artists, Zen gardeners, community activists, and more. This month, even in the midst of the enormity of these times, let's re-focus our lens on the beauty of this big, blue marble we call home.
Poetry as an Antidote
Tired of winter? Waiting for spring?
This playlist of conversations about poetry could be the antidote to the "Ides of March." Enjoy conversations with some of the names you know, like David Whyte, Jane Hirshfield, and W.S. Merwin, and some of the Bolinas "Beat" poets, like Stephen Ratcliffe and Joanne Kyger. And hear a variety of other events we've been fortunate enough to host, including community readings from Thoreau's journal (with actor Frances McDormand) and Walt Whitman's Song of Myself (with poet Bob Haas); poetry set to classical piano and song; collections of poetry curated by Rachel Naomi Remen, Larry Robinson, and Host Michael Lerner; and much more.
And an extra bonus! A video clip from Orland Bishop reading Langston Hughes' "A Negro Speaks of Rivers" from a recent conversation with him.
Spring will be here before you know it.
Photo: 2011 Reading of Thoreau's Journal at The New School, with Community Luminaries including Actor Frances McDormand. Photo: Kyra Epstein
Conversations about Love
February 1, 2023
The calendar says it's February: the month to celebrate love.
But how can we celebrate love every day—finding connection, wholeness, and beauty in relationship with ourselves, the earth, and others—even when times are complex and shadows loom?
This collection of conversations explores the terrain of love. From choosing trust and wholeness, to celebrating gratitude, to reanimating the world through poetry and ritual, to consciously changing our attitudes, to celebrating life even in the midst of terrible grief—these conversations offer an opportunity to see and experience life in new and regenerative ways.
Happy Valentine's Day!
It's been 15 Years! Conversations from 2007
Dear New School Friends,
Fifteen years ago, in February of 2007, Michael Lerner hosted a conversation with Ted Schettler, MD, on the Implications of Ecological Health. The conversation took place by phone, Ken Adams (who is still with us!) produced the recording and posted it online, and The New School was launched.
With generous funding from both the Kalliopeia Foundation and The Whitman Institute, Founding Program Coordinator Cynthia Loebig and Michael hosted more than 30 conversations that year, with luminaries such as Ram Das, Rachel Naomi Remen, Parker Palmer, Jacob Needleman, Krista Tippett, and Carl Anthony. This was before we were doing video, of course.
“I had been sitting with the idea for The New School for several years before we launched,” Michael remembers. “I named it after The New School for Social Research in New York, where my father, Max Lerner, lectured for many years. Up until then, Commonweal hosted many wonderful specialized projects in cancer, juvenile justice, the environment, and much more. But we had no project that really spoke to the much wider community that I believed would resonate with Commonweal’s values and intentions.
“Our tagline, ‘Nature, Culture, and Inner Life,’ spoke to those values and intentions. I had no idea that 15 years later The New School would continue to draw a global community of friends. The New School work is the most purely joyful work I do at Commonweal. I can talk with anyone who interests me about anything that interests them.”
You can take a walk down memory lane with us by listening to any of the 2007 recordings on our website. We are curious to know what your favorite conversations are from our archives.
So much water has passed under the bridge these 15 years. More than 350 conversations: books published, lives changed, the world itself changing. By now, our podcasts have been listened to hundreds of thousands of times, our videos have been watched more than a million times, and we have thousands of people following us on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, Amazon Podcast, and YouTube, and Vimeo.
I came to The New School as coordinator in 2010, after Cynthia Loebig, and then Jacquie Mallegni, moved on to other endeavors. I remember training with Jacquie, learning about the fascinating people coming through Commonweal as part of the New School: thought leaders and change makers who were a part of the Commonweal community, and whose ideas were adding to the collective reflections of the New School community and beyond.
I remember setting up chairs, greeting people as they came in, and watching Michael work his magic as the well-researched and insightful interviewer he is. Through the years, others—like Steve Heilig, Eric Karpeles, and Irwin Keller—joined The New School to host conversations in addition to Michael.
One year we launched a new website. Another year we bought a new stage and better chairs. Another year we started working with video, as well as audio, recordings. Another year brought a new sound board for larger events in our gallery space at Commonweal. Theme songs changed and evolved. Of course, in 2020, we moved to online webinars, watching as more and more people joined us from around the country and the world. None of our work would have been possible without the support of our community, people like you offering small and large contributions over the years.
Fifteen years goes by in a blink of an eye.
Maybe ceremony and ritual are things that help us mark time, and, in that way, slow it down.
You can help us mark these 15 years of collective learning through in-depth and heartfelt conversation by making a donation, by listening to our recordings, and by joining us for future conversations. Later this year, we’ll have more celebrations to mark our anniversary, and we hope you will join us there, too.
But, for now, join us in taking a deep breath, and remembering the richness of these 15 years and all they held.
With warm reflections,
Kyra Epstein | Program Coordinator
2007 New School Conversations
Ted Schettler, MD
February 5, 2007
This conversation with host Michael Lerner and Ted Schettler explores how Ted's exploration of the effects of chemical contaminants on environmental health have led him into a comprehensive perspective on the interaction of genes, gene expression, nutrition, stress, income disparities, chemicals, and many other factors in human health.
Ram Dass and Rachel Naomi Remen, MD
February 6, 2007
Now living on Maui, Ram Dass talked with Rachel Naomi Remen and host Michael Lerner about what his 1997 stroke taught him, and how he
February 22, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with ecologist, activist, and essayist Peter Warshall, editor of Whole Earth Review, and teacher at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa Institute.
Fredi Kronenberg, PhD
February 22, 2007
Join host Michael Lerner in conversation with Dr. Fredi Kronenberg, founding director of the The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at Columbia University. Dr. Kronenberg has done research on herbal treatment of menopause and other women's health issues using ethnobotany, Chinese medicine, nutrition, and integrative medicine approaches.
Dean Radin, PhD
March 5, 2007
In this conversation with host Michael Lerner, Radin describes the surprising reach of the substantial scientific literature on psi phenomena, and wonders whether psi phenomena are not ultimately an example of the universe talking to itself.
March 19, 2007
In this conversation with Michael Lerner, Chet Tchozewski describes the critical role intuition plays if you want to distribute small grants to thousands of grassroots organizations in over one hundred countries.
March 22, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Ashoka social entrepreneur Sushmita Ghosh.
Christina L Desser
March 29, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Chris Desser—environmental lawyer and community activist.
Idelisse Malave and Gihan Perera
April 3, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Tides Foundation's Idelisse Malave and union organizer and activist Gihan Perera.
April 17, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Nipun Mehta—ex-dot-com whiz kid and founder of ServiceSpace.org—in conversation about impermanence, service, and co-creating a better world.
Rick Ingrasci, MD, MPH
April 19, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with healer and activist Rick Ingrasci, MD, about joy, social intelligence, and the ethical imagination.
Pete Myers, PhD
May 7, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with environmental scientist and author Pete Myers.
Sandra Steingraber, PhD
May 14, 2007
Join Michel Lerner in conversation with Sandra Steingraber, a mother, an American biologist, cancer survivor, poet, and author in the tradition of Rachel Carson.
Parker Palmer, PhD
June 4, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Dr. Parker Palmer—an author, educator, and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality, and social change
June 7, 2007 Join this conversation between author and philosophy professor Jacob Needleman and Steve Heilig, the director of Public Health and Education for The San Francisco Medical Society and a research
June 14, 2007
Join permaculture teacher, designer, and speaker Penny Livingston-Stark as she hosts this New School conversation with Geoff Lawton, Australian permaculture teacher and advocate.
June 21, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with author, researcher, and professor Peter Kingsley about spirituality, culture, and philosophy.
Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim
July 12, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Yale scholars and historians of religion Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim about the interface between religion and the
Thomas Yeomans, PhD
July 16, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Thomas Yeomans, author of writings on psychosynthesis and spiritual psychology as well as three volumes of poetry and a children's book.
Ariska Razak, RN, and Carol Densmore, CNM
July 20, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with nurse midwives Ariska Razak, RN, and Carol Densmore, CNM, talking about birth and the healing wisdom of earth-based traditions.
July 26, 2007
Join host Chris Desser in a conversation with urban planner Teddy Cruz about local architectural and urban planning solutions for global political and social problems.
August 30, 2007
Join Michael Lerner for this conversation with Rachel Kyte, director of the Environment and Social Development Department at the International Finance Corporation.
Richard Tarnas, PhD
September 6, 2007
Join Michael Lerner for a conversation with Richard Tarnas about his book, Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, which received the Book of the Year Prize from the Scientific and Medical Network.
September 20, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in a conversation with international grantmaker David Bonbright about the project he calls Keystone Accountability, creating a better way for foundations, non-governmental organizations, philanthropists and other civil society actors to evaluate the actual effectiveness of third-sector projects.
October 5, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in this two-part conversation with Paul Gorman, founder and executive director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment since 1993. Listen to Part
October 11, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Krista about her work and her conversations about faith, meaning, and religion.
Virginia Veach, PhD
November 2, 2007
In this conversation with Michael Lerner, physical therapist and psychotherapist Virginia Veach describes how she works with cancer and other patients.
Nancy E Adler, PhD
November 2, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in a conversation with Nancy Adler, professor of psychology at the University of California, vice-chair of the Department of Psychiatry, and director of the Center for Health and Community.
December 13, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Carl Anthony, one of the preeminent thought leaders in environmental justice in the United States.
Paul J. Growald
December 14, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with investor, venture philanthropist, and beekeeper Paul J. Growald.
December 14, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Gary Cohen, executive director of the Environmental Health Fund in Boston and co-director of Health Care Without Harm—a global partnership for environmentally responsible healthcare.
Ursula Goodenough, PhD
December 21, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with professor and author Ursula Goodenough about her work and book, The Sacred Depths of Nature.
Dr Martha Herbert
December 21, 2007
Join Michael Lerner in conversation with Dr. Herbert about the new paradigm of autism research and treatments.
Recordings about Ritual
At this time of autumnal equinox, just past the Jewish high holidays, and transitioning out of summer into cooler weather, rituals are in the air. Enjoy some of our recordings about rituals that allow us to grow, connect, and appreciate the rhythms of our world.
Conversations for Sheltering in Place
Curated for you: a collection of podcasts and videos that satisfy the intellect and bring beauty to the soul.
Finding Meaning and Sitting with Grief
Looking for audio or video content that feeds the soul? Looking to find meaning in and look at the grief that is arising from the suffering in today’s world? The New School has been honored to host four conversations with Francis Weller—psychotherapist, writer and soul activist. His community rituals, writings, and words encourage us to tap into the well of community grief about the state of the world, finding strength and meaning.
Take a break from COVID-19-related news and tune into conversation and performances from some of the talented musicians we’ve hosted at The New School: Quartet San Francisco (2020); Holly Near (2016); Suzanne Ciani (2014); or Christine Brandes and Eric Moe (2012).