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Tangentially Speaking

349 – Stephen Jenkinson (Orphan Wisdom School)

By October 29, 2018September 14th, 20196 Comments

Stephen is a teacher, author, storyteller, spiritual activist, farmer and founder of the Orphan Wisdom School, a teaching house and learning house for the skills of deep living and making human culture. It is rooted in knowing history, being claimed by ancestry, working for a time yet to come.

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Music: “Still Water,” by Daniel Lanois; “Smoke Alarm,” by Carsie Blanton.


  • Robin Datta says:

    There is a difference in world-view between the Indic traditions o(Vedic, Jain, Buddhist,Sikh etc. and the Abrahamic. The latter seem to be playing Blind Man’s Buff.

  • karen leigh says:

    i grew up in the madness of our culture. when he was 34 and i was 5, my father died of an inoperable brain tumour. my mother and the rest of the family acted as though nothing had happened, just as stephen describes. it has taken many years to find fellow-feeling and sanity articulated so eloquently. thank you, stephen

  • Ian says:

    Best podcast yet. Didn’t even scratch the surface of his wisdom. His scholarship on the unauthorized history of the west. Hopefully a round 2 at somepoint.

  • This conversation reminded me of this scene in the movie Old Gringo, based on a novel by Carlos Fuentes:

    A very powerful discussion. And I’m saying this even though I don’t think I can agree with everything Jenkinson said.

    For instance, I can understand advocating for a ‘conscious death’ for grownups, due to the responsibility we have with the people we leave behind. But what about children? Should we also force upon them a ‘crash course’ in maturity because they are dying? And for whose benefit, their parents and siblings’?

    I also feel obligated to defend my late friend Bernd’s right to say ‘fuck it’ from his terminal condition of cancer on the esophagus coupled with ALS, 3 months ago. He no longer could eat any solid food, and he was losing his sight because of the steroids they prescribed to him. He was tired of his situation, and knew he would never be able to leave that hospital ever again, and that things were only going to get much worse.

    I understand life shouldn’t be about insulating ourselves from suffering, because that is a path toward numbness; but at the same time there should be a distinction between ‘learning suffering’ and needless pain.

    • Christopher Ryan says:

      Beautiful scene. Love how the form/content line comes as he hands her a flask of whisky. I agree. If we don’t have the right to sign off how and when we choose, what right do we have? The fuckers have stolen just about every hour of our lives, at least we can hold onto our deaths.

      • Fakhar Raza says:

        One of the most powerful conversations – Not that I am insinuating that the following line in some way intrinsically true
        but ‘Saving one life is like saving the whole of life itself’
        I think this one conversation is worth such essence.
        Many respect for being the temporary holder of this beauty.

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