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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rakeshshahmd
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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
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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
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tomas.cservenak

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

sierra
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sierra

Speechless

philipzanoni
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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 »

philipzanoni
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philipzanoni

at one point I had the physically painful lump in my throat and tears on my cheeks..the part when he talked about leaving our children..that ineffable pain of permanent separation..Gosh..and the full life story of the 7 yr old…so spell binding ..his mastery of language..what a mind..
And ditto on Robin Williams..almost distracting..
Yor best interview yet Brian..

Wade
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Wade

This has really touched a peice of me, a piece of me which lay sepressed, demorilized, beaten down by the overwhelming majority ablivious to the importance of this. Stephen and Brian, thank you

Pablo
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Pablo

this might very well be the best piece on content on currently on the internet

rahban65
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rahban65

Beautiful and thought provoking conversation.
Mr.Jenkinson represents the ideal wise man for me

andrewkulidjian937
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andrewkulidjian937

Thank you.

Kabelo
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Kabelo

I have watched this 3 times…Man! Thank you Brian

reedy107800
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reedy107800

we are the same age !!! DOH !

francharlton
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francharlton

Totally loved this. Thank you so much for this quality interview, you really put your self on the line, Brian, this allowed Stephan to be brutely honest with you and bring the subject forward with greater clarity. I found the information inspiring and deeply bothering, I couldn’t get to sleep last night. On my list of achievements has always been to die well, and I often use death as my adviser…as in…how would I behave now or treat this person and so on if I was about to die. This has been a good practice but Stephens sincerity, language and… Read more »

Renata
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Renata

Thanks a million for this interview!

sayahjihad738
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sayahjihad738

Welcoming death !

Terry
Member
Terry

This interview helps to restore my faith in humanity. Yes, there are still Elders amongst us. I would invite Brian and Stephen to all my dinner parties! I love going deep in conversation. I think I just found one of my best mentors. Thank you!

r_hunnewell633
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r_hunnewell633

Profound ! ! !

njorogescholastica10249
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njorogescholastica10249

I was not ready for this one!But hey,things just got real!
Death is not in alignment with your beliefs or feelings.

Wjarvis
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Wjarvis

Very interesting discussion. Maybe it is just me, but I can not help but think of Robin Williams when watching Stephen talk.

Gregg
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Gregg

Yes! I was just thinking the exact same thing. As if they’re twins, physically and spiritually. It’s uncanny.

rcapu
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rcapu

Have watched many of his interviews … and never, ever thought any, resemblance, even remotely with this actor.