Underlying Answers with Andrew Bard Schmookler

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We all know that life is a terminal condition and yet when we have a close brush with death, it often comes as a big surprise. Andrew Bard Schmookler notes that "a confrontation with death brings us back in touch with what it is that really matters." Along with illness often comes an identity crisis, which can "cause you to come down to a place deep inside where something more essential than who and what you are is." Discover ways of coping with illness and the hidden opportunities which suffering and the aging process can bring in this thoughtful and moving dialogue. (hosted by Michael Toms)


Schmookler is the author of five books, including:

  • The Parable of the Tribes (University of California Press 1994)
  • Fools Gold (HarperSanFrancisco 1993)
  • Living Posthumously: Confronting the Loss of Vital Powers (Henry Holt & Co. 1997)

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Working with your illness rather than fighting against it
  • Facing your own mortality on more than just an intellectual level
  • Accepting and working with what life gives you
  • How illness can destroy one identity as it creates another
  • How suffering can literally widen your heart
  • How to deal with the effect your illness has on your loved ones
  • Coping with the ever-changing identities that occur as we age
  • Staying connected with our ancient roots
  • How to transform suffering into deeper meaning in your life
  • Gender differences in dealing with illness
Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 3/4/1997      Program Number: 2616