os guinness

Author and prominent social critic Os Guinness believes there are moments in our lives that prompt us to search for a deeper meaning. Sociologist Peter Berger described these as "signals of transcendence" that awaken us to unseen realities.

In his book, Signals of Transcendence: Listening to the Promptings of Life, Os Guinness tells stories of people who experienced signals of transcendence and followed them to find new meaning and purpose in life. Notable figures such as Leo Tolstoy and C. S. Lewis as well as lesser-known individuals experienced a variety of promptings that signaled to them that life could not continue as they had thought. Through unsatisfied longings or disillusionments that yet yielded glimpses of beauty or joy, these moments drew people toward epiphanies of transformation. And the same can be true for us, Guinness says, should we have the courage to follow the signals wherever they may lead.

In this conversation with Watching America’s Dr. Alan Campbell, Guinness shares some of these stories, and he discusses his own upbringing. Great-great-great grandson of Arthur Guinness, the Dublin brewer, he was born in China in World War Two where his parents were medical missionaries. A witness to the climax of the Chinese revolution in 1949, he was expelled with many other foreigners in 1951 and returned to Europe where he was educated in England. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of London and his D.Phil in the social sciences from Oriel College, Oxford.

Find Guinness at his website,

Hear the conversation.