Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
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The Light In Me Sees The Light In You: Humanizing Interpersonal Practices; Amy Miller, MSW, Interim Director

February 25, 2024
Cartoon of two people talking across a table.

In a time of global strife, staying in touch with one’s own humanity and the humanity of others becomes ever more important. Join Interim Director Amy L. Miller discusses healthy ways to communicate with each other, celebrate our differences, and be in community.


Unedited Video

Are We Alone?; Member Claude Bernard, PhD

February 24, 2024

Recent research has shown that most stars have planetary systems, and that a non-negligible fraction of those planets are likely to be in the so-called “habitable zone,” where life may be possible. This makes the old question of “Are we alone?” more pressing: Does life exist elsewhere in the universe, and if so, is some of that life “intelligent” and able to communicate or otherwise interact with us? I discuss various aspects of these questions, including the research on exoplanets, the possibility of space travel, UFO (recently renamed “UAP”) phenomena, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). I conclude with some thoughts about the ethical meaning of a “yes” or a “no” answer to the “Are we alone?” question.

Dr. Claude Bernard is Professor Emertis of physics at Washington University and a former deputy director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he studied theoretical high energy physics under the direction of Steven Weinberg. With biologist Ursula Goodenough and geologist Michael Wysession at Washington University, Dr. Bernard developed a course called The Epic of Evolution and taught the cosmology and astrophysics part of the course for many years. He was raised in the Ethical Culture movement, having graduated from the Long Island Society Sunday School in 1964, and has been a member of the Ethical Society of St. Louis since 1991.


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Patterns of Social Media Behaviors; Alison Tuck, MA

February 6, 2024
Image of Alison Tuck MA

Social media has become a large part of our everyday lives. As a society, we continue to devote an increasing amount of time to these online platforms, engaging with a wealth of information from our friends to celebrities, family members to politicians, cat videos to devastating world news. Increasing rates of social media use along with high rates of mental illness have led many researchers to begin examining how social media use and mental health may be related. Perhaps surprisingly, only a few consistent conclusions have been drawn in this area, leaving researchers and community members alike wondering if and how social media use may be affecting our mental health. This presentation will focus on a newly developed model of understanding social media use that categorizes social media behaviors into four broad patterns. Topics discussed will include an overview of what these four different patterns of social media behaviors are, how they have been observed to impact people’s emotions in the moment, and how they are shown to correlate with various components of psychological wellbeing.

Alison Tuck, M.A., is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research primarily examines the influence of social media on mental health. As a clinical scientist, she focuses on understanding the clinical implications of social media use, including identifying those at greatest risk for its negative consequences and what people can do to develop healthy social media habits. She hopes her research will guide strategies for clinicians and policymakers alike.


Unedited Video

Strong Roots; Amy Miller, MSW, Interim Director

January 28, 2024
Collection Basket with money

The Pledge Campaign is the time of year when we dream about what the Ethical Society of St. Louis could be and do if we had all of our needs met, and strategize ways to meet those needs. We need strong roots to build a strong future. Now is the time to reinvest in the future of the Society and to imagine what we can create together. This Platform talk is offered in conjunction with President-elect Scott Wright’s Opening Words for this day, as we launch pledge season together.


Unedited Video

Would You Be Happier if You Were More Moral?; Jessie Sun, PhD

January 28, 2024

Does the pursuit of morality come at a cost to personal well-being? Several conceptualizations of morality emphasize its role in regulating or sacrificing the pursuit of one’s own interests for the sake of others. This might imply that being and becoming more moral would be personally costly. In this talk, however, I present empirical evidence showing that 1) moral people tend to experience more happiness and meaning in life and that 2) people believe that becoming more moral would contribute positively to various aspects of their well-being. I will discuss the implications and limitations of this research in relation to the broader question of when morality and well-being are likely to go hand in hand and when they might come into conflict with one another.

Dr. Jessie Sun is an assistant professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, where she directs the Well-Being and Morality Lab. Her research examines 1) social experiences and well-being, 2) morality and well-being, and 3) moral improvement. Prior to joining WashU, she was a MindCORE postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, and she received her Ph.D. from UC Davis and her BA from the University of Melbourne. In her personal life, she strives to promote well-being by living vegan and has pledged to give to the most effective animal welfare and global poverty causes.


Unedited Video

Towards Lifelong Thriving: Ten Holistic Practices that Support our Well-Being and Well-Becoming; Stephanie Malia Krauss

January 14, 2024
Cover image of the book Whole Child, Whole Life: 10 Ways to Help Kids Live, Learn, and Thrive and Making It: What Today’s Kids Need for Tomorrow's World

What does it take to thrive in a world that is volatile and uncertain, unjust and unfair? How can you experience well-being in a world so full of suffering? Research in human development, potential, longevity, and learning indicate that thriving is a state of being that we can tap into throughout our day and across our lifetime — no matter what we face. In this talk, we will explore ten timely and timeless “whole life” practices that enable us to experience wholeness and well-being at every age and stage of life. These ten practices support us individually and collectively and they activate and align with humanist commitments and beliefs.

Stephanie Malia Krauss is an educator, social worker, and leading voice on what we need to thrive now and in the future. Through her consulting shop, First Quarter Strategies, Stephanie works with US-based networks, coalitions, philanthropies, nonprofits, government organizations, schools, and community groups. She is the bestselling author of Whole Child, Whole Life: 10 Ways to Help Kids Live, Learn, and Thrive and Making It: What Today’s Kids Need for Tomorrow’s World. Stephanie’s work and writing have been featured on NPR, PBS, US News, Insider, and more. Stephanie is a senior fellow with the CERES Institute for Children & Youth at Boston University and Education Northwest. To learn more about Stephanie and sign up for her newsletter, visit www.stephaniemaliakrauss.com.


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Fresh Starts; Amy Miller, MSW, Interim Director

January 7, 2024
Fireworks over the Gateway Arch

The New Year is a time of celebration and renewal and optimism. What does it mean to have a fresh start? How do we reset our relationships when there has been damage to connections? How can we show up for each other and ourselves in a different and better way in the coming year? What are our hopes and dreams for the new year?


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Self-Expression as Survival; Gabe Montesanti, author of Brace for Impact: A Memoir

December 12, 2023
Cover of book with the title around an image of a lace up roller skate.

In Gabe’s own words, they say, “The writer Gregory Orr believes, ‘Poetry is about survival first of all. Survival of the individual self, survival of the emotional life.’ It is my belief and experience that Orr’s statement applies to most creative pursuits, including various modalities of art and self-expression that have helped me move through and beyond the traumatic events of my early life. Our own creativity has the unique gift of helping us process the unrelenting amount of information we’re exposed to, including the overwhelming, painful, and traumatic memories that can threaten to undo us. ‘Self-Expression as Survival’ de-emphasizes the importance of identifying as an artist, and instead focuses on the many ways creativity can combat the reality that trauma often renders us voiceless. It is not hyperbole to say that my exploration of photography, watercolor, performance art, sculpture, and, most importantly, writing memoir, saved my life. I learned to create order from chaos, make meaning from the mess, and transform something big and boundaryless into a work of art I could hold in my hands. To share our suffering in some way—trading off playing the role of artist and observer—is an important way forward.” Gabe Montesanti.


Unedited Video

Exploring Ugandan Humanist Education; Member Krystal White, servant-leader

December 8, 2023

The Ugandan students and schools the Ethical Society supports are full of strength, resilience, and hope. Come learn about the recent developments at the Uganda Humanist Schools and leave inspired by the schools’ and students’ promising futures.

The Ethical Society community currently supports 36 female high-school students with full boarding scholarships ($525/yr) and provides reusable menstrual supplies for all menstruating students in the primary and secondary schools. If you would like to make a donation to benefit the schools and you cannot attend the Platform, please contact Krystal White or Nancy Jelinek.

Member Krystal White self identifies as a servant-leader and can be found around the Ethical Society chairing Platform, singing in the Justice Choir or with The Ethical Band, and coordinating service projects. In the recent past, she co-chaired the End Racism Team and served on the boards of the Ethical Society, Ethical Society Nursery School, Abortion Action MO (then NARAL ProChoice Missouri), and the Uganda Humanist Schools Trust. She endeavors to put her ethics into daily action and to do good with her time and energy.


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Being Human Together: A Justice Choir Experience

November 28, 2023

This performance experience features new and familiar music investigating the questions above and, hopefully, inspiring us to action in our St. Louis community. Enjoy music from the newest chapter of the international Justice Choir movement, Justice Choir STL. We are a radically inclusive community choir amplifying local justice movements through collaborative partnership performances. Led by Ethical Society of St. Louis Music Director Claire Minnis, this ensemble is open to all voices. If you have an interest in singing and a passion for justice, you belong here.

Our performances connect our audiences with a local organization working to build justice in the St. Louis community, and our wide variety of musical selections include songs from the Justice Choir Songbook, familiar favorites like Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” and newer tunes like The Highwomen’s Grammy-award-winning “Crowded Table.”


    I Lift My Voice – by Andrea Ramsey: https://songs.justicechoir.org/ILiftMyVoice
    Liberty and Justice for All – by Brandon Williams: https://songs.justicechoir.org/LibertyForAll
    If You Want Peace (Work for Justice) – by David Avshalomov: http://justicechoir.org/songbook
    poetry by Cara Blair and Dr. Treasure Shields Redmond
    Rise – by Arianne Abela: https://songs.justicechoir.org/Rise
    – by Brian Tate
    Crowded Table – by The Highwomen, arr. Andrea Ramsey
    words from Kelly Moore, International Institute of St. Louis
    We Will Sing – by Penny Stone: https://songs.justicechoir.org/WeWillSing
    We’re Free – by Kevin Caparotta: https://songs.justicechoir.org/Free
    Stand by Me- by Leiber, Stoller & Ben E. King, arr. De-Lisser


Unedited Video

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