Mark Berkson

Mark Berkson >

25
Videos
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Death’s Place in Our Lives
Episode 1 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
Start your exploration of this profound topic with a helpful overview of how we, as human beings, think about death. What place does it occupy in our lives? How have our attitudes about it changed over time? What symbols and…
Buddhism on Impermanence and Mindfulness
Episode 13 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
Professor Berkson notes that the Buddhist tradition was established, in part, as a response to the realities of sickness and death. The Buddha's response to the experience of dying, as you'll learn, involves seeing past the illusion of self, recognizing…
Judaism on Death and the Afterlife
Episode 9 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
In the first of several lectures on how major world faiths approach death, the focus is on Judaism. From the importance of mourning and burial rites to the recent resurgence in American Jewish belief in an afterlife, go inside the…
Confucian Remembrance, Daoist Forgetting
Episode 15 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
Unlike other faiths, Confucianism and Daoism focus almost entirely on life in this world, not the next. So how do followers find meaning and consolation in the face of their deaths? The answers can be found in the distinct approaches…
Death, Rebirth, and Liberation in Hinduism
Episode 12 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
In Hinduism, death is part of a grander cycle of rebirth and suffering--with the ultimate goal of liberation (moksha). Here, ponder the concept of the Atman (one's immutable soul); meet the Hindu gods who personify death and, relatedly, time; and…
Islam on Returning to God
Episode 11 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
Many Muslims consider life on earth as a test to determine one's eternal fate, making existence just one part of an infinitely greater story. Consider how the primary forms of Islam--Sunni, Shia, and Sufi--approach the concept of paradise and hell,…
Near-Death Experiences
Episode 22 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
Explore the mysterious topic of near-death experiences (NDEs). You'll encounter fascinating stories told by survivors themselves; explore the scientific studies behind - and possible explanations for - this increasingly common phenomenon; survey the four major types of NDEs; and join…
Death Rituals and the Corpse
Episode 6 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
Since the dawn of humanity, corpses have held lasting significance for us. In this lecture, probe the various ways human civilizations have "disposed" of corpses--from burial (the oldest method for which evidence still exists) and mummification to cremation and natural…
Suicide Examined
Episode 17 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
In the last half-century, suicide rates have increased nearly 60% worldwide. This is your opportunity to investigate ways to think about this stigmatized subject. You'll examine what great philosophers and holy books say about suicide, and consider the numerous factors…
Understanding and Coping with Grief
Episode 5 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
In this lecture on what Professor Berkson calls "an inescapable part of the human condition," unpack the feelings and behaviors of the grieving process. Topics include the evolutionary benefits of grief, the five stages of grief laid out by Elizabeth…
Defining Death
Episode 2 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
To truly understand the subject of death, you have to be able to define it. Here, discover how the definition of death exists on multiple levels and how each of these levels--the religious, biological, philosophical, cultural, legal, and political--determines when…
Death, Illusion, and Meaning
Episode 3 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
Explore how it's possible for us to find meaning in life--even when confronted with the finality of it. Drawing on the work of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, discover how forms of death denial serve to allay fears about our insignificance,…
The Process of Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
Episode 14 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
Continue a look a Buddhist approaches to death, this time focusing on Tibetan Buddhism's deep, extensive teachings on the actual process of death and rebirth. Central to this lecture: the fascinating Bardo Thodol (or the Tibetan Book of the Dead),…
Considering Capital Punishment
Episode 20 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
In this lecture, Professor Berkson discusses the nature of capital punishment, the moral arguments for and against it, and whether or not the practice accomplishes its intended purposes. Specifically, you'll focus on capital punishment as it's practiced in the United…
Approaches to Dying Well
Episode 8 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
None of us can avoid dying. But some believe we can learn how to die well. Professor Berkson introduces you to ways that others have faced death (with regret, dignity, even rage) and also considers some of the practical ways…
Killing Non-Human Animals
Episode 21 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
From euthanizing a sick dog to slaughtering cows for food, how do we reconcile our feelings about killing when it comes to the non-human animals around us? Ponder the moral and spiritual dimensions of the death of other animals--and what…
The Choice of Euthanasia
Episode 18 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
Examine another controversial subject: euthanasia, or the deliberate ending of a life to ease suffering. By exploring the actual experiences of suffering people, the three kinds of euthanasia, and the religious and non-religious policy arguments for and against the practice,…
American Death Rituals
Episode 7 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
In America, death rituals display a remarkable diversity and range from the minimalist to the extravagant. Chart the evolution of American funerals by looking at three major periods: the traditional (exemplified by Puritan burial rites), the modern (characterized by professionalization),…
The Pursuit of Immortality
Episode 23 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
For as long as we've been aware of death, we've searched for ways to avoid it. Examine a few of the many methods people have used to attempt immortality, including Daoist alchemical methods, empirical approaches by early Muslim scientists, and…
Is It Rational to Fear Death?
Episode 4 of Death, Dying, and the Afterlife
Should death be considered "bad"? Should we even bother fearing it? As you reflect on philosophical arguments by the ancient Epicurus (who thought death wasn't bad for the dead) and the modern Thomas Nagel (who believes we should fear death),…