9 episodes

Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile learned in divinity school about the art of paying attention. In this podcast, they turn that attention to a variety of everyday scenarios in their own lives to see what’s really at stake. Each week, Vanessa and Casper walk each other through the process of figuring out what their ‘real’ questions are with help from texts ranging from movie musicals to theological treatises. In this intimate, thoughtful podcast we explore how friendship can be a tool for living a more intentional life.

The Real Question Not Sorry

    • Relationships
    • 4.9 • 181 Ratings

Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile learned in divinity school about the art of paying attention. In this podcast, they turn that attention to a variety of everyday scenarios in their own lives to see what’s really at stake. Each week, Vanessa and Casper walk each other through the process of figuring out what their ‘real’ questions are with help from texts ranging from movie musicals to theological treatises. In this intimate, thoughtful podcast we explore how friendship can be a tool for living a more intentional life.

    Evil: Part 1

    Evil: Part 1

    Casper used to believe that there was no such thing as evil. But since the Trump presidency, he can't suppress the creeping feeling that some people genuinely don't have good intentions. Does that count as evil?


    Drawing on the philosophy and letters of Hannah Arendt and the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Vanessa and Casper work through what Casper truly believes about what evil is and how it operates in our world.


    This episode is Part 1 of a two part series, we'll be back next week with further conversation on the topic of evil!


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    • 44 min
    Clothes and Size

    Clothes and Size

    CW: We discuss weight loss and size in this episode.


    Vanessa owns the perfect polka dot dress. It’s sophisticated yet flirty, it makes her feel amazing every time she wears it, and it has the cutest gold button on the back. The problem is: Vanessa no longer fits in this dress. She hasn’t fit in it for a while now. Should she hold onto it just in case? Or is it time to say goodbye?


    Drawing on the poem One Art by Elizabeth Bishop and the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch, Vanessa and Casper work through the questions and difficulties of body positivity.


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    • 40 min
    Neighbors

    Neighbors

    What do we owe our neighbors? 


    When Casper first moved to New York, he put a lot of effort into getting to know the other people in his apartment building. He even threw a rooftop party so that everyone could have the chance to meet one another. Now, as he’s settling into his life in NYC, he’s asking himself how much effort he really wants to put into knowing his neighbors. Should he throw another party for the new people moving into the building? Or is okay to spend his time building community with friends and family instead?


    Drawing on the book Community by Peter Block and Game of Thrones, Casper and Vanessa think through how much we should be valuing neighborliness and local community in our lives.


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    • 40 min
    Apologies

    Apologies

    Sometimes apologies that seem 'good' technically, don't actually make Vanessa feel any better.


    Is there a formula for a good apology? How do you explain yourself, but still take responsibility? Drawing upon Dirty Dancing and Letter From Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr., Casper and Vanessa think through which apologies feel the most genuine and why.


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    • 42 min
    Grandparents

    Grandparents

    Casper wants to feel closer to his paternal grandparents. But there’s a problem: they’ve been dead for a few years now. Is there a way, as he grows older, for him to keep his grandparents an active part of his life?


    Drawing upon The Suitcase by Frances Stoner Saunders and Children and Art from the musical Sunday in the Park with George, Casper and Vanessa think through how grief changes over time.


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    • 40 min
    Voyeurism

    Voyeurism

    CW: This episode discusses multiple instances of sexual assault and violent crime.


    In 2014, Vanessa was obsessed with the Woody Allen/Dylan Farrow case. Now that there’s a new documentary out on the topic, she knows she’s in danger of falling back into the ‘story’. But what’s the virtue of following a story of sexual assault so closely? Is it good to know the facts? Or is it just using the horrors of someone else’s life as our entertainment? 


    Drawing upon The Art of Cruelty by Maggie Nelson and the TV show Veronica Mars, Vanessa and Casper try to define how to have a healthy relationship with news stories about sexual assault specifically, and the True Crime genre in general.


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    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
181 Ratings

181 Ratings

OneCandace ,

So delighted this exists

I’m so glad that Casper and Vanessa are continuing to let us eavesdrop on their smart, insightful, and amusing conversations. I always feel like I’ve found a way to be more thoughtful, compassionate, or inclusive after I listen.

Jescalyn123 ,

Yes! Yes! Yes!

I love this podcast! I loved HPST but I love this even more. Some episodes make me open my mind and think about things through someone else’s eyes. This is always a healthy exercise. The other episodes connect with me and my life on a level that blows my mind. Some things I’m ashamed to think about or have conversations about, you make it ok. Thank you. Don’t ever stop.

Terri, NY ,

Advertising $

I love the podcast but I’m disappointed that you’re taking advertising money from Amazon. There have been so many great conversations on HPST about supports and boycotts. How do we make those decisions? That’s The Real Question.

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