David Kolb

My YouTube video on Parkinson’s

The second long video on my YouTube channel that I want to highlight concerns Parkinson’s disease. It is titled Stoicism, Parkinson’s, and Me: Philosophy and Chronic Disease shows how Stoic philosophy helps me cope with the disease. This connects to my book A Shaky Walk Downhill. It takes up the question of personal identity somewhat differently than my PD book or my American Identity lectures.

The video is ninety minutes long but the info paragraph below the YouTube screen I has timestamp links that take you to each short section of the video in turn by topic. Here are the topics discussed and their locations in the video:

0:00:00 Parkinson’s disease, what it is and how it feels


0:09:00 Providence and karma •

0:15:00 Stoic self-control in an ordered world •

0:23:30 Epicurean steadiness in a random world •

0:32:00 Their opposed stories but similar recommendations •

0:44:00 Where Stoics and Epicureans fall short


0:49:30 living in the present moment is more expansive than you might think•

1:07:00 constructing a narrative identity •

1: 18:00 living compassion.

The five lectures on modern American identity were filmed before Parkinson’s disease began to intrude more on my presentations. I make fewer on screen appearances in the video on Parkinson’s because the disease had been affecting my delivery in ways I thought would distract viewers (but I may be overly concerned).

That is one reason why after carefully learning how to make YouTube videos, I’ve putting more energy into a text blog to communicate my ideas. This feels a bit retrograde in our age of YouTube influencers competing to tell us how to boost our brands, but it feels more comfortably philosophical. I wonder whether Socrates would have rushed onto YouTube. He is famous for accosting people in the marketplace one on one, but he also provided a show for onlookers who enjoyed his confounding his interlocutors. I’d like to think that a blog is more like a Socratic dialogue at a rich man’s dinner table, but Socrates did enjoy a more public face. But I wonder whether he’d have liked like mass media with no way to talk back except to mount your own shouting monologue.