Stephen Jenkinson – Die Wise: How to Understand the Meaning of Death

Stephen Jenkinson is an American storyteller, teacher and author.

He holds a Masters degree in Theology from Harvard University and a Masters in social work from the University of Toronto.

During two decades of working in palliative care, he counselled over 1,500 people at their deathbeds.

His work led him to identify a “death-phobic society”, which provided the framework for his award-winning book Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul.

His most recent book, Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble, explains the need to birth a new generation of elders, willing to be true stewards of the planet and its species.

00:00 Trailer.

02:56 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.

04:46 Brian’s introduction.

05:24 Stephen has only a superficial view of London and is uneasy about the effect of large conurbations.

08:45 How to start talking about a subject no-one seems to want to talk about, but we all experience.

20:32 The utter refusal to submit to death has a long history amongst humans.

24:50 Stephen has seen more death than those in active combat see, but he is not traumatised.

25:44 Stephen relates a familiar response to terminal cancer, explaining why he thinks it misguided.

33:23 The benefit of that person taking ownership of the last act.

35:42 The consequences for society of refusing to die well.

37:22 Stephen’s thoughts on euthanasia and the effect on society if it becomes the norm.

41:52 Stephen explains what he means by “what has to die is your refusal to die.”

46:06 Nobody meant to die badly.

47:08 How we witness death, or don’t, affects the way we live life and currently society is death phobic.

54:17 Will Stephen fight death when it comes to it?

55:50 People’s worst fear vision of death.

1:02:33 His view on desire to live to 200 or futuristic ideas to upload consciousness and preserve ourselves.  

1:03:37 The deep radical hospitality of including in your life its end.

1:08:22 What grief is.

1:16:14 A conversation to have with your children as you approach death.

1:22:20 Story of young child approaching death illustrates parent’s misconception of what they grieve for.

1:28:56 Stephen defines what he thinks should be the cultural role of Elderhood.

1:41:22 Could LSD help the dying to remove the ego to see the bigger picture and connect with the Deity?

1:43:20 Pain medication in the last days of life.

1:45:38 Are environmental issues and global warming related to our relationship with death?

1:50:03 Does Stephen see elders in the world and is it too late for older people to understand his message?

1:55:13 Stephen’s background which perhaps influenced some of his decision making.

1:57:38 The best and worst days of his life.

2:03:55 What scares Stephen.

2:05:55 What keeps him awake at night …

2:06:29 Success secrets.

2:08:37 … What keeps awake at night

2:12:32 Advice to the 20 years old listening.

2:16:42 Brian’s summing up.

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Jean
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Jean

I have followed Stephen and his work for some time, and was fortunate to hear him speak in person several years ago, this was an amazing discussion. I ended up listening to it have three times this weekend, and every time I pick up something different. Stephen we appreciate your depth and your honesty on how we need to prepare for our own deaths, as well as others. I also conduct death cafes in my area and find people’s reactions very interesting, as Stephen notes nothing a cocktail party discussion… thanks Brian for having him on your show…

Jean
Member
Jean

Have followed and heard Stephen speak in person several years ago, this was an amazing discussion. I ended up listening to it have three times this weekend, and every time I pick up something different. Stephen we appreciate your depth and your honesty on how we need to prepare for our own deaths, as well as others. I also conduct death cafes in my area and find people’s reactions very interesting, as Stephen notes nothing a cocktail party discussion… thanks Brian for having him on your show…

Hanan
Member
Hanan

Only now I understood that my grandma was an elder, not an old lady … I am so grateful for you Dr. Stephen and you Brian

Ajay Whotever
Member

Interesting guy… he’s probably the grim reaper!

David
Member
David

1st time listen(definately have to go round againI)I,m not religeous but’glad he mentioned soul’at the end there!..’Death is not the end’

ndantonio2
Member
ndantonio2

This was a fabulous episode and very poignant in my life right now. I have listened twice already, and hit the pause button to rewind a bit to catch phrases and consider what’s being said. THANK YOU FOR SHARING STEPHEN JENKINSON WITH THE WORLD. What he says is so valuable and needed right now.

Martin Casado
Member

Powerful stuff. Wow, had to take this in 40min increments and a lot of notes. Deep questions and it’s not a victory march but just a little walk. Great interview.

Amin
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Amin

This is one of my favorite episodes, it helped me to deal with the concept of death. Thank you both !

michale.ns32@gmail.com
Member

What is the book he mentions on minute 48?

cweissflog655
Member
cweissflog655

I like how he focuses on the words we use. After I watched this I began to think of more, one that stood out was how we refer to our species as the human race. Other animals are not perceived to be in a ‘race’, could this be subconsciously contributing to our false ideas about the nature of our time alive?

ol206
Member
ol206

It is so rare to see and hear someone with so much wisdom, kindness and humility. What a beautiful human he is. Thank you for such an amazing, thought provoking interview. Thank you Brian for being so open and for providing a platform for this amazing man.

JGHaynes1985129
Member
JGHaynes1985129

Thus guy Looks like Robin Williams! Kind of sounds like him too.

kokusaijinji935
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kokusaijinji935

Great stuff! many thanks for this interview

Matthew
Member
Matthew

you should look up death bed experiences people no longer have them because they are on so many drugs. back 60-70 years ago every one would have a death bed exp and would see “death” in physical form. no it was not frighting for them at all. lots of videos on youtube about it.

rakeshshahmd
Member
rakeshshahmd

I wish he starts using little more straightforward English. Many of his words are hard to understand. His concepts sound hard to understand at times because it is hard to understand his words. He has an excellent English vocabulary, but that does not help in conveying the message.

rakeshshahmd
Member
rakeshshahmd

What I learned: 1. Disrespect is mutual 2. More personal things are, less profound there are: You are entrusted with death just like you were entrusted with the body. It is NOT your personal think 3. Your dying is a big part of your life and your refusal to acknowledge that is not life-affirming, it is life betraying 4. Euthanasia is a death phobic culture’s solution to dying. But the irony is that it maintains the death phobia 5. What has to die is your refusal to die. 6. Be the practitioner of dying, not the victim 7. Today is… Read more »

rakeshshahmd
Member
rakeshshahmd

What I learned : 1. Disrespect is mutual 2. More personal things are, less profound there are : You are entrusted with death just like you were entrusted with the body. It is NOT your personal think 3. Your dying is a big part of your life and your refusal to acknowledge that is not life affirming, it is life betraying 4. Euthanasia is a death phobic culture’s solution to dying. But the irony is that it maintains the death phobia 5. What has to die is your refusal to die. 6. Be the practitioner of dying, not the victim… Read more »

tomas.cservenak
Member
tomas.cservenak

would love to hear this guy’s opinion of people who worship death such as in Mexico,

sierra
Member
sierra

Speechless

philipzanoni
Member
philipzanoni

Gosh that lump in my throat actually hurt and the tears flowed especially when he talked about the pain of leaving your children behind that permanent separation and the horrifying Prospect of being forgotten after death in such a short amount of time as if we never existed spellbinding to say the least no wonder everyone wants to live forever the pain created by the thought of death is so real and frightening it does seem like a cruel joke if not put into perspective my favorite was that we are rooted in death …the Earth and plant scenario or… Read more »