86 episodes

Your weekly podcast for a world in flux.

Globalization and climate change. The rise of social media and the decline and fall of Blockbuster Video. AI and VR. Donald Trump and Flat Earthers. The world is changing so fast that we can't get a grip on how we got here, let alone where we're headed.

Join Ben Charland as he peels back the headlines to ask, what are the events, characters, forces and ideas that shape the human story today? Have things always been this nuts, or are they getting crazier by the day? Who were those barbarians that took down the Blockbuster Empire? Just what on Earth is going on?

What on Earth is Going on? Ben Charland

    • Society & Culture

Your weekly podcast for a world in flux.

Globalization and climate change. The rise of social media and the decline and fall of Blockbuster Video. AI and VR. Donald Trump and Flat Earthers. The world is changing so fast that we can't get a grip on how we got here, let alone where we're headed.

Join Ben Charland as he peels back the headlines to ask, what are the events, characters, forces and ideas that shape the human story today? Have things always been this nuts, or are they getting crazier by the day? Who were those barbarians that took down the Blockbuster Empire? Just what on Earth is going on?

    ...with Political Philosophy (Ep. 86)

    ...with Political Philosophy (Ep. 86)

    Humans are living longer, delaying disease and decay later and later. It's conceivable that we could eradicate the big killers and attain a certain kind of infinite postponement of death. But what would this mean for our humanity? What does philosophy have to say about this, and about the state of our ongoing social experiment with democracy?

    Ben sits down to chat about all this and much more with Queen's University political philosopher and National Scholar, Colin Farrelly.

    • 1 hr 12 min
    ...with The Reality Bubble (Ep. 85)

    ...with The Reality Bubble (Ep. 85)

    Ziya Tong is "one of the world's most engaging science journalists" and after co-hosting Discovery Canada's Daily Planet television program for ten years, she wrote her first book, "The Reality Bubble". It's a veil-removing tour-de-force, filled with wonder, rigour and a powerful thesis about our role in the world and how we are often blinded, sometimes by our own choice, from what on earth is really going on.

    Ben is in Toronto to chat with Ziya about "The Reality Bubble" and so much more.

    • 54 min
    ...with Guy Gavriel Kay (Ep. 84)

    ...with Guy Gavriel Kay (Ep. 84)

    Guy Gavriel Kay is a bestselling, world-renowned author whose works have been translated into over 30 languages. Originally from western Canada, Guy practiced law, developed a radio series with the CBC, and even assisted Christopher Tolkien with the editing of his father JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion, before becoming established as a fantasy writer.

    Ben is in Toronto to chat with Guy about writing, creativity, the intersection of art and power, and even the vagaries of pricing single malt whiskey.

    • 1 hr 14 min
    ...according to the novel, Ducks, Newburyport (Ep. 83)

    ...according to the novel, Ducks, Newburyport (Ep. 83)

    Lucy Ellmann's groundbreaking and award-winning novel, "Ducks, Newburyport", consists of a single sentence broken up only by the small bits of a parallel story of a mountain lioness protecting her cubs. It's a powerful, engrossing and genuinely readable piece of literature that challenges how fiction is read as well as our base assumptions of history, women, motherhood and the incredible flux of the 21st century.

    Ben discusses the book with Barbara Bell, Artistic Director of Kingston WritersFest.

    • 52 min
    ...with Rebalancing Society (Ep. 82)

    ...with Rebalancing Society (Ep. 82)

    Do the problems we face today -- political gridlock, climate change, social upheaval, accelerating economic inequality -- stem from fundamental imbalances in our society and thinking? What role might the plural (or civil) sector play in rejigging our systems? And why should we be ditching 30-year plans to focus on ones just a few weeks out?

    Ben sits down with world-renowned scholar of management, Henry Mintzberg, about these questions and many others.

    • 44 min
    ...with Poetry (Ep. 81)

    ...with Poetry (Ep. 81)

    Do music and poetry share the same roots? How do you write poetry that embraces complexity, history, beauty and atrocity? How can literature confront the self with the past, and the events that seem out of our control with the urgent need for a new language to understand them? What is creativity, and is there some kind of salvation there?

    Ben joins poet and teacher Canisia Lubrin for a fascinating conversation at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where she currently works as writer-in-residence.

    • 1 hr 8 min

Customer Reviews

Moira Demorest ,

Compelling Listening

Ben is a knowledgeable host, navigating each episode with curiosity and consideration. While tackling diverse subject matter, the thread of current relevance is very clear. Always intriguing and filled with many interesting book + author recommendations along the way, I look forward to listening to more episodes!

RobynYyc ,

Interesting, well researched conversations

Thoughtful interviews on an interesting array of topics. Guests are true experts and the questions and perspectives go much deeper than most podcasts. You can tell the host Ben is doing his research.

CapotainMorgan ,

Amazing

Ben has a way of being extremely laid back during fascinating and in-depth interviews. He has been interviewing very interesting individuals on extremely relevant topics.

This is something everyone should be listening to.

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