N is for Sherwin Nuland: Healing And Hope

Sherwin Nuland is a surgeon and author. He is well-known for books such as How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter and The Art of Aging: A Doctor’s Prescription for Well-Being.

Sherwin spoke previously at TED about his recovery from depression. Here you can read a reflection on the experience of depression that Sherwin describes. This is written by John Folk-Williams.


In the TED talk posted above, Sherwin describes what he has observed in the contributions of fellow speakers at the conference.

Many have something in common. This is the desire to build a better world for the human family.

Sherwin believes that technology, such as the internet, is vital. But it will not save the world.

He believes that the greatest hope lies in the human spirit. He sees this as the ability to use our imagination:

To be something greater than ourselves.

To be something that we did not know we were capable of being.

The Art of Aging

Sherwin reminds us of the original meaning of the word ‘philanthropy’, which is love of humanity.

Returning to his roots as a physician, he recalls the views of Hippocrates, who focused on compassion and healing the patient.

Today we may need to remember those roots. It may be useful to heal the wounds of despair and disparity in the world.

Choosing this mission – the way of healing – can bring hope. Both to others and to ourselves.

Below is another video, in which Sherwin talks about living a good life. This calls for being kind. He admits that sometimes in his life he could have been kinder.

This is something we may learn to be as we get older. Taking this step can heal both ourselves and others.

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