546. Stephen G. Post

Stephen G. PostAn opinion leader and public speaker, Stephen G. Post, Ph.D. (University of Chicago, 1983) is the best-selling lead author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People: How to Live a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by the Simple Act of Giving. He has been quoted in more than 4,000 newspapers and magazines and featured on numerous television shows including The Daily Show. Described by Martin E.P. Seligman in Flourish as one of “the stars of positive psychology,” Post is a leader in research on the benefits of giving and on compassionate care in relation to improved patient outcomes and clinician well-being. He addressed the U.S. Congress on volunteerism and health, receiving the Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition for Outstanding Achievement.

Post was co-recipient (2012) with Edmund D. Pellegrino MD of the Pioneer Medal for Outstanding Leadership in HealthCare from the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, and the Kama Book Award in Medical Humanities from World Literacy Canada (2008). His book The Moral Challenge of Alzheimer Disease: Ethical Issues from Diagnosis to Dying was designated a “medical classic of the century” by the British Medical Journal (2009), which wrote, “Until this pioneering work was published in 1995 the ethical aspects of one of the most important illnesses of our aging populations were a neglected topic.” Post is a recipient of the Alzheimer’s Association’s national distinguished service award “in recognition of personal and professional outreach to the Alzheimer’s Association Chapters on ethics issues important to people with Alzheimer’s and their families.” In 2021 Post published Dignity for Deeply Forgetful People: How Caregivers Can Meet the Challenges of Alzheimer’s Disease (Hopkins).

Co-Recipient of the 2019 Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Professionalism Award for development the Professional Identity Formation curriculum of the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, Post has taught at the University of Chicago Medical School, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (1988-2008), and at Stony Brook (2008-present), where he is Founding Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics. The Center was selected (2011) for special institutional excellence by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (AMA & AAMC accrediting body), the only humanities and ethics entity in American medical school history to receive this distinction. An elected member of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the New York Academy of Medicine, and the Royal Society of Medicine, London, Post is the author of 300 articles in journals such as Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, Psychosomatic Medicine, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In 2003 Post was invited to join the Founding Fellows of the International Society for Science and Religion (ISSR), based at Cambridge University. Founded in 2002, ISSR is the world’s preeminent learned society devoted to this intersection, with 200 Fellows from the sciences and humanities. In 2001 he founded the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, so named by philanthropist Sir John Templeton, who selected Post as the Institute’s President. A non-profit 501(c) 3 public charity that investigates kindness, giving, and spirituality, Post has written popularly on this topic in God and Love on Route 80: The Hidden Mystery of Human Connectedness.

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Transcript of this interview

Interview recorded April 18, 2020

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction to Buddha at the Gas Pump
  • 00:05:14 – The Angel’s Message in the Dream
  • 00:10:04 – Adolescent Spirituality & the Meaning of Experiences
  • 00:14:38 – Following a Dream
  • 00:19:16 – Chasing Dreams in Nebraska
  • 00:23:40 – A Life-Changing Encounter on the Ledge
  • 00:28:26 – Exploring Comparative Spirituality and Religion
  • 00:33:22 – Meeting Ken Kesey at Reed College
  • 00:37:41 – The Bridge and the Phone Call
  • 00:42:22 – The Power of Compassion and Kindness
  • 00:47:31 – Theodicy and the Problem of Evil
  • 00:52:32 – The Role of Parents in Modeling Kindness
  • 00:57:18 – The oneness of the other
  • 01:01:58 – The Perspective of Life as One Chapter
  • 01:06:29 – Sensitivity of Alzheimer’s patients to empathic qualities
  • 01:10:53 – Honoring the Divine in Individuals with Disabilities
  • 01:15:31 – The One Mind in the Universe
  • 01:20:45 – The Plausibility of the Big Bang Theory and Open-Mindedness
  • 01:25:24 – Selfless Service and the Expansion of the Heart
  • 01:30:41 – The Experience of Beautiful Energy and Spiritual Nature
  • 01:35:23 – Everyday Divine Interventions
  • 01:39:54 – Synchronicity and the Carl Jung Story
  • 01:44:40 – The Neurology of Helping Others
  • 01:49:23 – Cultivating Compassion in Medical Education
  • 01:53:52 – Cultivating Empathy and Compassion in Medical Students
  • 01:58:17 – Benefits of Compassionate Care and the Role of Love
  • 02:03:11 – The Power of Spiritual Experiences
  • 02:08:08 – Spreading Unlimited Love Through Poetry
  • 02:12:47 – Dreaming about the Future
  • 02:17:01 – The Importance of Lightness of Being
  • 02:21:28 – Interspirituality and the UN