Desire and integration audio

This page contains recordings (enhanced with pictures) from day 2 of the Middle Way Study Retreat held in August 2013. A talk about desire and integration was followed by discussion (with some bits of discussion spliced into the relevant sections of the talk). The talk begins with a challenge to the traditional Buddhist account of desire, and then offers an alternative view of desire and the ego in which desire itself is not bad – only conflict between desires. Integration is explained as a model of progress, and related to the evidence on brain hemispheres offered by Iain McGilchrist.

1. Problems of desire in Buddhism

Explains why the division between desire for enlightenment and ordinary desire in Buddhism is problematic, and offers an alternative model compatible with integration of desires.

1. Problems with desire in Buddhism as audio only:

Download audio: 2_1 Problems with desire in Buddhism


2. The self and the ego

Explains the argument (in Buddhism and Hume) that the self is a metaphysical belief beyond experience, but suggests the ego (the wish to be a self) as a much more helpful concept that we can relate to experience. The ego is a set of projections and identifications that are not necessarily limited to one individual.

 2. The self and the ego as audio only:

Download audio: 2_2_The self and the ego


3. Introducing integration

We are dependent on the ego, and cannot escape it, but we can gradually integrate conflicting egoistic desires.

3. Introducing integration as audio only:

Download audio: 2_3 Introducing integration


4. The brain hemispheres

This understanding of the role of the ego can be supported by the work of Iain McGilchrist on the specialisations of the two brain hemispheres.

4. The brain hemispheres as audio only:

Download audio: 2_4_The_brain_hemispheres


5. Individual and social integration

Integration may be thought of psychologically, but it applies just as much at the social and political level.

5. Individual and social integration as audio only:

Download audio: 2_5_Individual and social integration


6. Discussion on addiction and repression

6. Discussion in addiction and repression as audio only:

Download audio: 2_6 Discussion of addiction and repression


7. Discussion on the application of the integration model

7. Discussion on the application of the integration model as audio only:

Download audio: 2.7 Discussion on applying integration model


3 thoughts on “Desire and integration audio

  1. Desire!
    The staircase model you used rang a bell with me, and this is why! I have a very attractive wooden back door, in a cottage style with multi panes of glass, but, after it has rained a great deal, the wood swells up, in spite of my having rubbed many layers of wax into the surface when I had it fitted. It no longer closes properly and it lets in the cold!
    I desired a new back door, so yesterday evening, a man from Everest came to give me a quote, as the company are selling half price doors, I thought ‘oh good’ I’d like to buy one. The quote I was given for a half price aluminium framed door, not wood, with a ten year guarantee, would cost £2,000!!! I came down to earth with a bang, a plan B must be created, the desire for a new door must be integrated somehow. I may ask for help from my son, to plane down the wooden area that sticks and make do and mend! A rather mundane event, but perhaps a relevant example?

    1. The staircase was Tim’s example! Yes, your door does sound like a similar one where a realistic desire needs to recruit the energy once given to an idealised one. I think I’ve had a similar experience of receiving an excessive quote for a new door! There may also be other possible solutions, such as a second hand door. Our idealisations of the new generally may also need to be integrated with other factors apart from financial prudence – consideration for the environment, for example.

      1. Thank you Tim for the example. I have unrealistic day dreams occasionally, and the wish for a new door was one of them. I have two second hand wooden doors in the house already, they have more character than plastic ones I think.
        A second hand back door is a good idea Robert, if I can find one, we have a wood recycling centre in Brighton. I’m all for recycling and saving energy, I had a full council grant to install a solar panel on the roof to heat water, on a smaller scale, I made a small garden pond from a plastic dog bed, when my dear old dog died. Now I look after two goldfish and frogs have found a new home!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Get a Gravatar